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Microsoft releases PowerShell in time for Exchange 2007

At its annual IT confab in Spain, Microsoft released a paella of products and betas, among them its PowerShell scripting tool and a release candidate of Windows Server 2003 SP2.

Microsoft this week made available its long awaited command line scripting language, a server service pack release candidate, and gave an update on its Forefront Security subscription line up.

At TechEd IT Forum in Barcelona, Microsoft said PowerShell will be released to manufacturing. PowerShell is a free tool and an architecture that lets application developers build cmdlets for specific products to accomplish various tasks. Today, it can be used with Exchange Server 2007, which will become available in December, but the PowerShell syntax and structure for other applications and services are not yet available.

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"When you download PowerShell, it comes with a certain set of cmdlets for Windows, but you can't use it to manage SMS or SQL Server. We are still waiting for cmdlets for specific products," said Peter Pawlak, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland, Wash., consulting firm.

Microsoft has also readied a release candidate for Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, which is expected in the first quarter of 2007. SP2 was originally anticipated before the end of this year but has been pushed out a few months. Executives gave no reason for the delay of this service pack, which mainly contains bug fixes as opposed to features and major updates -- unlike Service Pack 1.

In addition, Microsoft has updated its line of Forefront business security software subscription services. The Forefront Client Security product, once called Windows Client Protection, is now in public beta. The software is on track for shipping in the second quarter of 2007. There will also be a Forefront Security for Exchange Server 2007 and Forefront Security for SharePoint Server 2007. The company designed the new versions of Forefront around the Exchange Server 2007 roles-based architecture.

There will be a third beta of Microsoft Windows "Longhorn" Server sometime in the first half of 2007, the company said. The next-generation server is due out by the end of the year. Beta 3 is not expected to have any major changes other than a few new user interface elements, said Bob Visse, a director in the Windows Server group at Microsoft.

Most IT shops consider these releases to be far into the future for their planning purposes. But one IT manager said he's looking forward to being an early adopter of the next Windows Server release. Matthew Hansberger, director of Wintel Technology at Pacific Life Insurance Co., Newport Beach, Calif., said he has money set aside in his budget to test Longhorn.

"It's still two years away," Hansberger said. "But when you work in the enterprise, a project is 24 months out. You have to know where you are going to be. It's not like just rolling out a file server anymore."

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