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Microsoft ships BackOffice enterprise tools

Just in time for the holidays, the company is delivering a raft of software for building client and server intranet and Internet applications.

Just in time for the holidays, Microsoft (MSFT) today delivered a raft of software for building client and server intranet and Internet applications.

As promised, Microsoft today shipped the Enterprise Edition of its SQL Server database, along with a revamped SNA Server host connectivity package.

Microsoft also said it has shipped a DirectX software development kit for adding multimedia elements to Web and other applications (see related story), and that its FrontPage 98 Web site development tool is now available in stores.

SQL Server 6.5 Enterprise Edition, first announced at the company's Scalability Day press conference in May, adds support for up to 8-way symmetric multiprocessing servers, up to 50 percent more application memory, clustering through Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition, and easier data retrieval, Microsoft said.

Microsoft claims that the database, in conjunction with NT Server, delivers up to 75 percent better performance than the standard edition.

SNA Server 4.0 builds on Microsoft's Distributed interNet Applications (DNA) architecture, the overarching name for existing and future Windows technologies, such as COM, reworked to be more Web-aware, the company said. Included is the ability to use IBM CICS and IMS transactions as components of DNA applications. The new release also allows access to VSAM or AS/400 files through Microsoft's OLE DB data access technology and includes tools to ease migration to TCP/IP-based networks, the company said.

SQL Server 6.5 Enterprise Edition costs $7,995 for a 25-user system. SNA Server is priced from $1,339 for a five-user license. A 90-day evaluation version of SNA Server is posted to Microsoft's Web site.

The DirectX Media 5.1 SDK (software development kit) released today includes APIs (application programming interfaces) and other tools for developers building multimedia applications, Web content, online games, and other applications.

The SDK, posted to Microsoft's Web site, includes the company's DirectShow, DirectAnimation, Direct3D, and DirectPlay APIs.

FrontPage 98 is available today in retail stores, priced at $149, Microsoft said. Users of previous versions can upgrade for approximately $54.95. Microsoft Office users can buy FrontPage 98 for $109, after a $40 mail-in rebate. The package includes a new version of Microsoft Image Composer, as well as Personal Web Server and Internet Explorer 3.0.