Flessner also announced that Microsoft is developing an RFID (radio frequency identification) technology infrastructure built on top of Microsoft's .Net Framework software platform that is being designed so it can be either used on its own or integrated with other applications.
He acknowledged that IT vendors haven't precisely made it easy for customers to develop and deploy this type of computing architecture, but pledged notable enhancements from the Microsoft front. "In the past, we as an industry, Microsoft and other vendors, haven't helped you guys a lot here and that's something we need to a heck of a lot better job," he said.
"I'm not saying you need to throw out all your existing systems and rewrite (applications). Wrap existing systems: we do it, a lot of our customers do it. It is something to think about architecturally as you go forward. Think hard about breaking the applications into atomic services or business services and exposing those services as Web services," he added.
On Tuesday, Microsoft also released the first pre-release version of SQL Server 2005 available to the public; it can be downloaded fromhttp://www.microsoft.com/sql/downloads. Also available for download from Microsoft's Web site is a tool to help users migrate from Oracle databases to SQL Server, Flessner said.
Among the improvements in SQL Server 2005 are integrated development and debugging capabilities made possible through integration with Visual Basic 2005 and .Net, he said.
SQL Server 2005 also features a service broker for asynchronous queueing and native XML support, he said. Security has also been enhanced, an ongoing effort since a string of serious vulnerabilities hit the product in 2002, a situation for which Flessner apologized.
Meanwhile, Flessner referred to Visual Studio 2005 as the most comprehensive application development environment Microsoft has ever created, saying it will significantly reduce developers' need to write code. It also offers sizeable performance improvements, he added.