Microsoft plays role of library assistant for enterprises

Microsoft says its soon-to-be-released SharePoint Portal Server will become the automatic search assistant for any information on your company's intranet.

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By  Rob Corder Published  January 9, 2001

Microsoft has made release candidate 1 (RC1) of its upcoming document management and portal software available on its Web site.

SharePoint Portal Server, formerly code-named Tahoe, is primarily a system that publishes and searches for intranet documents.
The software's distinguishing features are its search capability, with relevance-ranking technology based on the Okapi search engine, and its ability to rapidly set up portal sites, Microsoft said.

"Organisations today want to ensure that the valuable corporate knowledge stored in documents, Web servers, file servers and e-mail is readily available to employees making important decisions each day," said Jeff Teper, general manager of the SharePoint Portal Server Business Unit at Microsoft. "SharePoint Portal Server is a flexible, off-the-shelf solution that can search and index the most important enterprise content sources across an organization and make the information available to anyone in the company via a familiar user interface."

In addition to its content aggregation technology, SharePoint Portal Server includes document management features that allow companies to incorporate business processes into their portal solution through check-in/check-out, version tracking and approval routing functionality.

As well as SharePoint’s out of the box functionality, it can also be customised and extended by adding Web Parts: reusable components that can contain any kind of Web-based information. Web Parts allow companies to integrate any existing enterprise systems, such as analytical and collaborative tools in Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SQL Server, into their corporate portal.

Internal tests at Microsoft have shown that the software can index 5 million documents over 2,000 servers, said Trina Seinfeld, a Microsoft product manager.

The first beta version was released in early 2000; the second in October. The release candidate is available at www.microsoft.com/sharepoint.

The final shipping version is due to be released this spring, Seinfeld said. The release candidate includes all the features that will be in the final version; only performance refinements are being worked on now, she said.

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