This week Microsoft executives opened the door to a possible shift in that strategy at least with respect to Kodiak, the next-generation Exchange Server.
While the plan remains to put Kodiak on the WinFS relational store, business pressures could abrogate that decision, the executives conceded.
While WinFS will incorporate relational technology from the SQL Server world, it must be much simpler, and quality and timing must be right for it to make it into the new Kodiak messaging release. "If we cannot provide that, then the Exchange team has a business to run," said Gordon Mangione, Microsoft's vice president of SQL Server.
Whether WinFS does, in fact, form the basis for Kodiak, boils down to several factors, agreed Tom Rizzo, director of SQL Server product management. "It all depends on timing and business needs. They [the Exchange team] have a business to run and if we don't meet the timeframe and quality they need, if they don't want to build on us, that's fine. Today's plan is to build Kodiak atop the [relational] store, but this is software and human beings. Things happen."
Wow, this is huge news.  Microsoft originally started talking about SQL Server as the basis for a future Exchange release in a leaked December, 2000 Steve Ballmer memo.  I wrote about it on lotus.com in January, 2001, and MS spent most of 2001 in denial mode, even called me a liar on their website.  Yet in October, 2001, at the MS Exchange conference, there was Paul Flessner, showing a roadmap slide for Exchange that included "Kodiak" in 2003.  He was, not surprisingly, light on specifics, and continued to defensively say that it wasn't important to speak about it then.
Yet here we are, end of 2003, and no Kodiak in sight.  CRN is now reporting, in fact, that MS can't decide whether to wait until the SQL Server team gets their act together and ships "Yukon", or whether to proceed with the creaky JET database that has been part of the product since its inception.
With both IBM and Oracle now shipping messaging products that run on relational databases, Microsoft's indecision and infighting appear to really be harming their product's reputation.  IBM is going to be announcing the 1.1 release of Lotus Workplace (including updated Lotus Workplace Messaging) this week, the second release of the product in six months.  Oracle shipped OCS 2.0 nine months after its initial release.  Now admittedly, neither of those products have a 50 million user base to worry about, but they are out there, and evolving fast.  2006 seems like a very long time away.
Link: CRN: Cracks Appear In Microsoft Kodiak 'Store Story' >

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