Microsoft is dedicated to easing the challenges of supporting enterprises with mixed technologies.

A Commitment to Interoperability

Microsoft is dedicated to easing the challenges of supporting enterprises with mixed technologies.

You know how valuable Microsoft products and technologies can be to your users. And Microsoft knows that the enterprises you support may also include non-Microsoft technologies such as Unix or IBM.

Supporting interoperability in those mixed environments can be both a challenge and an opportunity. Microsoft is committed to easing that challenge and boosting that opportunity.The company’s promise that Windows will interoperate with existing platforms and technologies can have many benefits for you. Your users can reduce the cost and complexity of building and supporting heterogeneous environments. They can also enable best-of-breed deployments on Windows NT and the continuing use of existing platforms. And, users can leverage existing investments, for example, using Windows to extend mainframe data to the Web.

Microsoft’s interoperability strategy is based on a four-layer framework that covers network, data, applications, and management integration. Microsoft’s approach includes supporting key standards that can provide interoperability to other platforms, such as IP for communications and LDAP for client/server directory service (including Windows 2000 Active Directory support for LDAP). Microsoft encourages third parties to increase interoperability between our solutions and theirs. For example, we’ve worked with Unisys to adapt COM TI technology to work with Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) and the Unisys mainframe environment.

Clearly, our bridge-building work to other popular platforms—Unix, IBM, and NetWare—is at the heart of our strategy. For example, Windows NT Workstation and Server 4.0 enable broad interoperability with Unix-based systems—across the network, data, applications, and management layers. We provide full support for TCP/IP and support for DNS that you’ll find even more comprehensive in Windows 2000. Our Services for Unix software provides access to Unix file systems through NFS technology, supports Telnet clients and servers, and provides one-way password synchronization to keep passwords synchronized between systems.

Of course, there’s more to Unix interoperability than Telnet and NFS, such as enabling tighter integration with third-party applications. For example, we provide an OLEDB driver for Oracle databases on Unix, and we worked with Unisys on Microsoft Transaction Server’s support for the Tuxedo TP environment on Unix. We also support comprehensive services for interoperability with IBM-host environments, especially through Microsoft SNA Server, which provide data and application integration as well as terminal and print support. For example, you can build data warehousing applications that use Microsoft SQL Server to connect to IBM host databases such as DB2 or IMS. The latest release, SNA Server 4.0 Service Pack 2, enables access to the mainframe using TCP/IP rather than traditional SNA protocols. And we provide transaction support between Microsoft Transaction Server and IBM CICS or IMS environments through the COM TI technology.

Finally, we’ve built NetWare interoperability into the Windows platform over the past few years. Moving forward, we’ll add directory interoperability between Active Directory and NDS, including the ability to synchronize the two directories.

For more details on Microsoft interoperability, please visit the Microsoft Web site at There, you’ll also find links to online, self-paced, and instructor-led training that can help you take advantage of these new opportunities in interoperability.

About the Author

Aubrey Edwards is the infrastructure manager for Microsoft’s Platform Integration Group.