If you're a diehard Microsoft BackOffice Server (BOS) aficionado, you might have noticed that we announced the launch of the new BackOffice Server UPDATE newsletter at the same time Microsoft announced the BOS 2000 beta release. That wasn't a coincidence: the primary focus of this newsletter will be the next generation of BOS.

Just to avoid confusion, let's back up and define BOS. With the introduction of Microsoft's .NET strategy and the new generation of server platform products, the name BackOffice no longer refers to the collection of Microsoft Server applications. BackOffice now refers to a specific integrated set of server applications shipped as a bundle with Windows 2000 Server: Exchange Server 2000, System Management Server (SMS) 2.0, SQL Server 2000, Host Integration Server 2000, and the Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000.

BOS 2000 builds on some of the features that started to appear in BOS 4.5—integrated, scenario-based installations; more preconfigured Microsoft Management Consoles (MMCs); a new shared fax and modem service; and the ability to have individual BOS applications installed on multiple servers. (A single instance of each server is licensed. You still need to buy a copy of Win2K Server for each application server you want to set up.)

The plan for BackOffice Server UPDATE is to focus on BOS 2000. I have the current beta up and running on an appropriate server, and we'll discuss the new features and functions in this newsletter and on our BOS Web site.

The newsletter will cover third-party product offerings that are designed specifically to work with BOS and take advantage of more than one of its server components. Microsoft is encouraging vendors to build these products for the BOS platform, and we want to make sure that the first place you hear about them is right here.

Now, if those of you who signed up for this newsletter are looking for tips and tricks for the current version of BOS, I'm willing to get that version set up and running. So take a few minutes and drop me a note (david@win2000mag.com) to let me know which of the following you want to see covered in this newsletter:

  • BOS 2000
  • BOS 4.5 on Win2K
  • BOS 4.5 on Windows NT 4.0

    If you run an earlier version of BOS, we won't be spending much time talking about it, unless we cover how to upgrade to the latest version. I also want to hear about how you are using or plan to use BOS. What combination of applications have you deployed and will you deploy? Which applications will you never use? The more you tell me, the better I can tailor the newsletter to offer you useful information.