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TryIIS.com Campaign Launched to Bolster IIS 6.0 Adoption

More than a year after launching Windows Server 2003, Microsoft is starting a marketing campaign to single out the Internet Information Services 6.0 Web server component as a strong reason to upgrade to the server OS.

Microsoft officials call the campaign TryIIS and went live with a Website Monday that aggregates more than 100 resources at www.TryIIS.com. The company will reach out to about 2 million customers to attempt to draw them to the site, which includes marketing and technical materials, case studies and migration tools.

Windows Server 2003 was in many ways a minor release, aside from the security-focused code review Microsoft initiated just before the operating system was slated to ship. Even before the Trustworthy Computing security review, IIS 6.0 was already one of the few areas of truly significant improvement in the operating system -- along with the Active Directory and the inclusion of the .NET Framework.

Even since the launch of Windows Server 2003 and IIS 6.0, Microsoft's market share in Netcraft's closely watched survey of Internet sites has stayed relatively flat, while the open-source Apache Web server that usually runs on Linux has continued to dominate. Microsoft seemed to get a bigger bounce in the Netcraft survey from the launch of Windows 2000/IIS 5.0.

Mary Alice Colvin, Microsoft product manager for IIS, doesn't concede that Netcraft is a valid indicator of the market for Web servers. She says the Netcraft survey counts sites not servers and doesn't include intranet servers, which are a major part of the market. She also says IIS 6.0 deployment is keeping up with Microsoft's pre-launch expectations.

At the same time, she says that Microsoft hasn't pushed IIS 6.0 hard enough. "We haven't gotten enough information out to customers about the benefits of moving to IIS 6.0," Colvin says. According to Colvin, when customers understand the benefits they can get from all the work that went into IIS 6.0, they migrate quickly.

Microsoft has decided to emphasize six reasons to move to IIS 6.0 at TryIIS.com: compression technology and consolidation opportunities; the security code review; reliability; ties to other improvements in Windows Server 2003; rapid development of Web applications; and superiority as a "real-world" platform. The last reason is a dig at Apache and Linux deployments that Microsoft supports with case studies of companies that have migrated to IIS.

Colvin says the site is equally weighted to offer resources and tools to Apache customers and existing IIS customers running versions 4.0 or 5.0.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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