Windows Server: Today's Leading Application Server
Windows Server delivers a high-performance, highly capable platform for deploying and running custom business applications built with the .NET Framework. As Microsoft's application server, Windows Server includes key application server functionality directly in the operating system including distributed transactions, message queuing, a Web server and Web services, communications, workflow, and management. Complemented by the .NET Framework and Visual Studio, Windows Server is one of the leading application servers in the market today.
However, as companies increasingly adopt service-oriented architecture principles, and embrace composite applications, they are using the full spectrum of web services as part of their applications - ranging from simple RESTful services through advanced web services utilizing WS-* standards. However, as they reuse services and compose new applications quickly and easily, new requirements arise for the application server since composite apps are typically more complex for IT to develop, deploy, manage, and change.
Riding the Next Platform Wave: .NET Framework 4.0 and Windows Server "Dublin"
To address these new requirements, Microsoft is enhancing both the .NET Framework and Windows Server. The company is adding significant functionality to the new version of Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) as part of the .NET Framework 4.0 release, including new messaging and REST capabilities in WCF, new workflow models, seamless integration between WF and WCF to support stateful and conversational services, and a new visual designer. The company is also introducing a set of enhanced Windows Server capabilities codenamed "Dublin" that will offer greater scalability and easier manageability, while extending Internet Information Services (IIS) to provide a standard host for applications that use workflow or communications.
Taken together, these enhancements to the Windows Application Server will simplify the deployment, configuration, management, and scalability of composite applications, while allowing developers to use their existing skills with Visual Studio, the .NET Framework and IIS. This new Application Server capability will be delivered as a separate release of technologies that can be downloaded and used by Windows Server customers; the first preview will be available at Microsoft's Professional Developer's Conference in October 2008.
For more information and product details, please read this overview of WCF 4.0, WF 4.0, and Windows Server "Dublin" technologies.