Microsoft aims to make Windows .NET Server sufficiently scalable and easy to use to suit everyone from small business to enterprise customers, Cliff Reeves, Microsoft’s vice president, Windows Server, told over 1500 attendees at Microsoft TechEd 2002.

To back the claim of scalability, he said all the servers hosting the company’s main Web site have been switched to Windows .NET Server RC1, and -it’s running just fine”.

All TechEd attendees received a copy of .NET Server RC1, so they will be able to see whether it lives up to Microsoft’s claims.

While scalability and ease of use are important, security is -probably the number one priority”, according to Paul Houghton, managing director of Microsoft Australia.

That message was underscored during a pre-recorded address by Brian Valentine, senior vice president of the Windows division, who spoke of a -cultural shift” regarding security– customers’ primary concern was getting people connected, but that has been superseded by the need to secure systems against unauthorised access.

A security review resulted in service packs for Windows XP and 2000, and changes to .NET Server to overcome vulnerabilities, and default configurations have been changed so that -out of the box, it’s secure,” he said.

SQL Server, Office and other products will also receive security-related updates, said Valentine, who promised that the company will keep working on these issues -so you can have the most secure environment.”

Other .NET Server features help administrators maintain good security. The Group Policy Management Console now makes it easy to see policies inherited from further up the hierarchy and allows policies to be cut and pasted; the Baseline Security Analyzer scans computers to identify insecurities and then explains how they can be fixed; and the combination of XP and .NET Server provides -almost zero-customisation PKI,” according to Reeves.

Stephen Withers travelled to TechEd as the guest of Microsoft.