Microsoft is busy readying upgrades to its BackOffice applications so that the suite can take advantage of Windows NT 5.0 technologies such as Active Directory. The upgrades were revealed last month to a large group of Microsoft's partners during a three day technical conference.

Two BackOffice products, Exchange Server and SQL Server, will receive full point upgrades. Exchange Server 6.0, code-named "Platinum," will feature a single directory for both Exchange and Windows NT and a new Microsoft Management Console (MMC) administration snap-in. Platinum will also support a host of new email clients, including WebTV and telephone devices.

SQL Server 7.0, code-named "Sphinx," will take advantage of Windows NT 5.0's new security architecture, and includes 25 new Wizards to make using the arcane server more user-friendly. SQL Server 7.0 will ship at approximately the same time as Windows NT 5.0--mid-1998--with Exchange 6.0 due about 60 days later.

A new version of Systems Management Server (SMS), code-named "Opal," will provide advanced Web administration features. Opal is due sometime in 1998