Apparently, the information I've provided in this column has caused a bit of confusion. I'll use this week's column to answer some of the most commonly asked questions I've received about BackOffice Server 2000 (BOS 2000)—its status and features—and about what this column and BackOffice Server UPDATE will cover.

  • Where can I get BOS 2000? BOS 2000 isn't currently available—you haven't missed it. I'm working with the June beta. The release code won't be available until late in fourth quarter 2000. If you really must run the beta code, drop me a note and I'll see what I can do.

  • How do I upgrade to BOS 2000? The upgrade process for BOS 2000 is similar to the upgrade process for any other Microsoft Server application. Pricing will depend upon your license agreement with Microsoft. If you have just purchased BOS 4.5 (or if you purchase it between now and the BOS 2000 release), you'll get a free upgrade to the next version.

  • How many server applications can I deploy if I choose the multiserver license option? The multiserver license option lets you install a single instance of each server component across up to three servers. It doesn't let you deploy any of the server applications more than once per BOS license.

  • Will this column and BackOffice Server UPDATE offer information to help me roll out a large distributed enterprise based on Active Directory (AD)? Probably not. Although BOS 2000 offers a multiserver license option, this column and the BackOffice Server UPDATE will target BOS 2000 deployments in environments with one to three servers, using the multiserver deployment options available within the product. We will look at deploying BOS 2000 within existing corporate structures.

    That answers the most frequent questions. I hope I've cleared things up for those of you who weren't sure where BOS 2000 currently stands or what we will address in this column and BackOffice Server UPDATE.

    This week's tip: As part of the scenario-based installation options available in BOS 2000, Microsoft includes two Server Location Scenarios: Central Server and Branch Office Server. Selecting one of the scenario-based installations causes the BOS2000 installer to set up and install appropriate components.

    The Central Server scenario targets BOS 2000 as the core server in a small-to-midsized IT environment. The core server will be the root of the AD tree, and will be configured to run a customizable intranet site.

    The Branch Office scenario sets up BOS 2000 to connect back to the corporate network, to be configured for remote and local administration, to connect local users to the Internet, and to maintain local Exchange mailboxes.

    In either case, the installation wizard will install the core set of BOS 2000 services and offer the administrator the option of installing components that the basic installation scenario doesn't install, such as the Shared Modem and Fax service, Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0, and Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server.