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Infrastructure Services Evaluation Guide for Windows NT Server 4.0

Archived content. No warranty is made as to technical accuracy. Content may contain URLs that were valid when originally published, but now link to sites or pages that no longer exist.

A Guide to Evaluating the Infrastructure Services Built into Microsoft Windows NT Server Version 4.0 and Microsoft BackOffice Server Version 4.0

Server Operating System

Abstract

This guide is designed to help IT system professionals evaluate the Microsoft® BackOffice® family as the best platform for Enterprise Computing. It describes the Microsoft Windows® Distributed InterNet Applications Architecture (DNA) and the Microsoft products and technologies that provide the infrastructure for Enterprise applications.

On This Page

Part 1- Introduction
Part 2- Installation
Part 3 – features
Infrastructure Features
Part 4 – Evaluation
Appendix

Part 1- Introduction

Overview

What is Infrastructure?

Infrastructure is the plumbing, wiring, and foundation required to bring together distributed collections of computers and to deploy intranet and line-of-business applications that give users access to critical information and resources, more easily and more effectively.

In order for organizations to successfully deploy truly robust and manageable solutions, key capabilities such as scalability and high availability; directory services and security; networking and communications; Web, transaction, and message queuing services; and management tools need to be integral features of the underlying infrastructure.

In many platforms, these critical services are provided as piecemeal, nonintegrated offerings often coming from different vendors, which forces IT professionals to function as system integrators. The goal is to provide a single, integrated, comprehensive, and easy-to-use infrastructure for building distributed computing solutions that can be delivered over any network.

Providing a unified infrastructure for integrating the Web and client/server models of computing makes it easier for customers to build robust, secure, multitier solutions and to focus on solving business problems instead of being systems integrators.

Who is This Guide For?

This guide is designed to help IT system professionals evaluate Microsoft® BackOffice® family as the best platform for Enterprise Computing. It describes the Microsoft Windows® Distributed InterNet Applications Architecture (DNA) and the Microsoft products and technologies that provide the infrastructure for Enterprise applications.

In order to illustrate the features and benefits of Microsoft's products and approach, this guide focuses on a common business problem facing businesses of all sizes today—namely the challenge of improving customer service without increasing operational costs. However, the technologies described in this guide could be applied to many other business scenarios where a robust, scalable, secure, and manageable infrastructure is equally important.

The specific solution detailed in this guide is a third-party application called eService, which is developed by Silknet Software Inc. of Manchester, New Hampshire, and is described to provide you with a "real-world" turnkey solution to evaluate. eService is an enterprise-level, Web-based customer interaction application that runs on Microsoft Windows NT® Server operating system and is tightly integrated with the Microsoft BackOffice family of server applications.

A trial version of eService can be installed together with Microsoft BackOffice to fully evaluate the solution described in this document—for which only currently shipping products and technologies were used.

What Will you Learn?

This guide details the key services built in to Windows NT Server that are exploited by eService to deliver a complete customer support solution that extends beyond the company's internal call center operations out to the customer. It integrates multiple means of interacting with customers, allowing organizations to manage phone, e-mail, and Web communication all in one application. It enables businesses to engage with their customers and involve their partners and vendors on a media-rich, process-oriented extranet.

Base Services:

  • Scalability - the ability to scale up to support a very large numbers of users and the ability to scale down to distribute, divest, and pass IT technology to trading partners that may be much smaller in size.

  • Reliability - the robustness necessary to support mission-critical applications and uniformly handle hardware and software system faults—protecting user programs from each other as well as the system—and to provide data and system recovery mechanisms.

Distributed Services:

  • Directory Services – a single network logon to file, print, and application services, a central point of network administration, the replication necessary to ensure fault-tolerant user access to network resources, and smooth integration with mixed computing environments.

  • Security – the ability to prevent unauthorized access to information and to audit security-related events and the actions of individual users.

Networking and Communications:

  • Interoperability - easy integration and interoperability with existing systems including NetWare, UNIX, IBM SNA, PATHWORKS, Banyan VINES, and Apple Macintosh.

  • Communications – the ability to use public data networks such as the Internet to create virtual private networks and to combine all available dial-up lines to achieve higher transfer speeds.

Application Services:

  • Cross platform component backbone - that allows solutions to be assembled from the marketplace of reusable software "parts" rather than being built from scratch.

  • Middleware - powerful Web, transaction processing, and message queuing technologies for easily developing and deploying reliable and scalable distributed applications.

Management Services:

  • A network foundation - easy for administrators to install and manage while providing the desktop integration necessary to make it easy for end users.

  • Graphical tools - centrally manage and monitor network resources and performance.

Business Scenario

The Need

The proliferation of personal computers has created tremendous computing power and vast sources of computer-based data in today's organizations. By connecting all of these individual machines in new ways, it is possible to maximize their use and effectiveness. Such "distributed systems" make it possible to share information easily, yet securely. In addition, by taking advantage of Internet technologies, communications can be improved both within and outside the organization and access to critical business information for customers, business partners, and suppliers can be made more easily and effectively than ever before. This results in better decision-making, enabling companies to give better service to their customers.

The bottom-line benefits of distributed systems, however, will only be realized if businesses can provide an infrastructure that:

  • Scales with your most demanding business needs

  • Provides high availability for your most mission-critical applications

  • Offers an uncompromising level of security to keep your sensitive information private and safe

  • Supports rich communications with customers, business partners and suppliers

  • Is easily integrated and interoperable with your existing systems

  • Provides a reliable platform for developing solutions that takes advantage of the Internet

  • Is easy to install, deploy, manage, and use

Most companies today build their customer service operations around the telephone call center. However, the telephone was designed for simple, one-to-one communication, not one to many. To serve large numbers of customers, call centers are forced to operate like assembly lines, processing as many customers as possible in as short a time as possible. Despite improvements in customer service and the automation of call center operations, customers continue to be left cold by the interaction, feeling more processed than served. This is not surprising, since most customer service automation is designed to improve the performance of the call center, not improve the experience of the customer.

According to a report by Aberdeen Group Inc (Volume 10/Number 9 – July 8, 1997), "Companies seeking differentiation and competitive advantage are looking to take support to the next level. They want to actively involve customers, business partners and experts across the entire enterprise in the support process—making use of the unique knowledge each has to offer. The goal is to proactively respond to customers with greater accuracy and in less time."

The Solution

The Windows Distributed interNet Applications Architecture (DNA) meets this goal because it provides an infrastructure for building distributed computing solutions that can be delivered over any network. By providing a unified approach for integrating the Web and client/server models of computing, Windows DNA not only makes it easier for customers to build robust, secure, multitier solutions, but also allows customers to focus on solving business problems instead of being systems integrators.

Windows DNA allows organizations to adopt a new model of customer service—one that shifts the focus of service delivery to the customer rather than on the service representative, and one where customers can help themselves in a rich visual and audio environment. This model is made possible because

Windows DNA is based on a richly integrated set of Windows infrastructure services that work together to enable organizations to build scalable, highly available business solutions that improve the flow of information within and without the organization. Windows DNA is both dynamic and flexible to change as business needs evolve, yet can be centrally managed and maintained, and is easily integrated with existing systems and data.

eService is one of the first business applications to fully exploit the Windows DNA architecture and to use the infrastructure services of Microsoft BackOffice to deliver a complete customer support solution that extends beyond the company's internal call center operations out to the customer. It integrates multiple means of interacting with customers, allowing organizations to manage phone, e-mail, and Web communication all in one application. It enables businesses to engage with their customers and involve their partners and vendors on a media-rich, process-oriented extranet.

Bottom line—the solution detailed in this guide delivers better customer service at lower costs.

Microsoft Solution

Architecture

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The solution is based on a three-tier application model, a design in which presentation, business, and data logic are separated from each other. This provides more deployment flexibility than two-tiered client/server programming, where application code is location dependent. The first tier is the client, where the user presentation layer (Web pages, scripting, and controls) is separated from the second tier—the application logic (business objects). The business objects are responsible for the generation of business information from data provided by the third tier—the data services. These include service, business and customer data, shared newsgroups/bulletin boards, search capabilities, and a call control center.

The client for both the customer and the supplier (or business partner) is a 'thin one"—in other words, it's a simple, platform independent, and customizable browser interface—so no client component must be installed as on traditional client/server call management systems. For this reason the client could run on a conventional PC or a lower specification Net PC or even a Web TV.

The Server is a Microsoft ActiveX® platform—it's based on Windows NT Server (including Internet Information Server, Microsoft Transaction Server, and Message Queue Server) with Microsoft BackOffice. It is the platform for the system's DCOM-based business objects to provide a robust, highly distributable enterprise application, capable of scaling to meet the demands of large customers and, potentially, business partners' service sites (which could have literally millions of customers).

The solution combines HTML, scripting, and distributed objects communicating over standard protocols to provide a flexible, reliable, secure, and scalable application serving environment. The system utilizes Microsoft Active Server Pages to provide high-performance, dynamic Web pages that allow companies to extend the look and feel of their existing Web site by scripting together information retrieved by Microsoft Transaction Server business objects and other external business sources. Object components encapsulate the application's logic and provide easy access to services in the third tier such as database, telephony, and other conventional servers (including data that could reside on an IBM mainframe, for example, customer billing information accessed through SNA Server).

Business Rules and Dynamic Workflow

For packaged applications to be effective they must be able to separate the application logic (adding or updating a customer record) from process logic (reassigning a case if it hasn't been closed in 30 minutes). This solution enables businesses to express their unique processes in the form of business rules that fire when business events occur. These business rule scripts perform actions by conditionally invoking business object methods.

Workflow-enabled applications allow the system to track a work item as it moves through the functional units of an organization. By converging workflow with business rules and events, an organization's process can be modified "on-the-fly" by external factors such as case escalation and customer feedback.

eService can build powerful workflow solutions, because all of its components share core Windows NT Server technologies such as Active Server Pages, MTS, and MSMQ, which reduce the time needed to develop or deploy applications. Also, by pushing the application's functionality to external users, this solution enables service sites to include customers and partners in the workflow process.

Scalability and Reliability

Applications designed to scale to the demands of the extranet require an almost limitless use of valuable system resources. For this reason this solution utilizes a "surgical strike" approach, grabbing a resource at the last moment and freeing it up as soon as possible. Pools of business objects are load-balanced using Microsoft Transaction Server over many servers waiting to service incoming client requests, and should server hardware crash, the business objects can fail-over to a second system and continue operating.

eService can also take advantage of clustering built into Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0 to provide even higher availability for mission-critical data. When installed on a validated cluster configuration, it provides automatic recovery from failures plus the ability to move workloads for planned maintenance without downtime, delivering higher levels of service to users while gaining greater control over the management of critical server resources.

Authentication and Security

Exposing the benefits of an application to external users requires a flexible security architecture that can work with technologies such as digital IDs, proxy servers, and encryption. This solution can push content out to external users without fear of compromising security because its Web site is built on Internet Information Server (IIS) 4.0, which is tightly integrated with the security of Windows NT Server.

Windows NT Server offers administrators a number of options to authenticate users, including basic authentication (where the user name and password are sent in clear text), the more secure Windows NT Challenge/Response (which uses a cryptographic technique to authenticate the password), and custom authentication (using digital certificates that can serve personalized content, control access, or query backend databases).

Seamless Integration

Today's packaged applications can no longer exist in a vacuum. Each year it becomes increasingly difficult for IT staff to keep up with the avalanche of upgrades and integration issues. The solution is distributed component-based architectures that communicate through standard protocols. eService speaks HTTP, sockets, SSL, NNTP, ODBC, and other standard protocols that are supported by Windows NT Server, allowing seamless integration into existing environments.

All the BackOffice family of server applications used by eService are integrated with Windows NT Server security, directory, and administration services, and have access to a core set of services such as Active Server Pages, Microsoft Transaction Server, Microsoft Message Queue Server, Active Data Objects (ADO), and Collaboration Data Objects (CDO). The use of Windows NT Server's distributed Internet protocols allows this application to not only integrate with other internal systems, but to become a piece of a cross-company solution.

Windows NT Server works with virtually every type of client system and network operating system in use, protecting legacy investment and providing the flexibility to keep up with evolving business computing demands. Out of the box, Windows NT Server supports all the standards required to interoperate with UNIX, Novell NetWare, Apple Macintosh, and, of course, Microsoft Windows operating system environments. With Windows NT Server, you get support for Microsoft Windows NT Workstation, Microsoft Windows 95 operating system, Windows 3.x, Macintosh, UNIX, OS/2, and MS-DOS®-based clients and all the current network protocols, including TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, NetBEUI, AppleTalk, DLC, HTTP, SNA, PPP, and PPTP. So if you employ a mix of operating systems in your computing environment, Windows NT Server offers the highest level of interoperability you can buy, making it easy to collaborate and share information across network environments.

Rich Publishing and Communications

Because eService is a Web-based application built on Windows NT Server and IIS 4.0 it can utilize a wide spectrum of communications media including telephony, net conferencing, e-mail, chat, and channels. Users and support representatives are not constrained to simple text—they can drop in an image, hyperlink, or streaming audio message into their content and the application will take care of moving, authoring, managing, and deploying your content so that it may be utilized instantly on your service site.

Innovative Web publishing features, customizable tools, and new wizard technologies unique to IIS 4.0 make Windows NT Server with IIS the easiest way to publish information and share it securely over corporate intranets and the Internet. By enlisting new wizards and templates, support representatives can easily create professional-quality Web pages and publish entire sites without knowing any HTML. Users can search securely and easily for content in HTML and Microsoft Office document types and in multiple languages.

Microsoft Technologies Utilized

Browser

Sites powered by eService are accessible from any browser, allowing businesses to provide service to any customer with Internet access. This solution uses Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and exploits technologies such as HTML 3.0, Dynamic HTML, SSL, and Java applets to create a highly interactive experience for the user.

Web Server

Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS 4.0), the Web application server integrated with Windows NT Server, hosts eService sites. With support for host headers, Web site operators, per-Web-site bandwidth throttling, and enhanced Web-based administration, IIS 4.0 enables eService to easily host multiple independent departmental intranet sites or provide hosting services for multiple public Internet sites.

Indexing

eService uses an interactive questioning agent designed for self-service by the customer to quickly find the best solution to a problem or inquiry. Based on simple prompts, this solution uses Microsoft Index Server, enhanced with INSO query expander, to select the most appropriate solutions from a knowledge base and presents them to the customer in a hierarchy.

Multimedia Streaming

eService uses Microsoft NetShow™ 2.0 conferencing software to stream multimedia content across intranets and the Internet, giving customer support representatives the ability to integrate audio and video into the service system.

NetShow is the only media server integrated with Windows NT Server, taking advantage of its security (NTLM and SSPI) for secure media transactions and performance monitoring for accurate measurement of scalability. NetShow is also integrated with Site Server, allowing organizations to utilize Commerce, advertisements, content replications, and usage analysis services and with applications like Microsoft Office, so Microsoft PowerPoint® graphics program presentations can be synchronized with audio.

Video Conferencing

eService can also use NetMeeting, Chat and other telephony services as well as e-mail to communicate with customers so that support operations are no longer constrained by the telephone. With NetMeeting 2.0 support, representatives can hold face-to-face conversations or use its real-time audio feature to talk with users. In addition support representatives can use the NetMeeting data conferencing features to collaborate with a group of people from within any Windows-based application—drawing on a shared whiteboard, sending text messages, and transferring files.

Remote Access Services

eService uses Windows NT Server Remote Access Services to extend its network to phone/ISDN lines and to allow mobile customer support representatives to interact with suppliers and business partners even when out on the road.

Object Model

eService protects your investment by providing support for leading object models. On the Microsoft platform, eServices business objects exploit the Active Server Platform and Microsoft Transaction Server.

Transaction Support

eService uses ActiveX business objects and MTS to provide pooling of database connections and business object instances. MTS automatically provides transaction support to applications running on the server, providing a reliable failure isolation and recovery mechanism.

Message Queuing

eService uses MSMQ to issue multiple concurrent inter-thread communications, such as notifications or business rules. For example, when a new case is submitted by a customer, eService analyzes the problem and then routes this customer request through to the appropriate customer support representative based on business rules such as availability, skill set, prior customer contact, and so on. With MSMQ, eService can send requests to many different receivers, wait for the receivers to process the requests in parallel, and retrieve the results when all of the responses have been returned, or when it is convenient. This overcomes the problem of making requests to more than one receiving application at a time. eService also uses MSMQ for queuing up requests to call the private clients back. Events and notifications use true callbacks (push) to a mini TCP/IP server on the private client's machine.

Database Server

eService uses Microsoft SQL Server™ for the storage of data services including service data, business data, customer data, and shared newsgroups and bulletin boards. SQL Server and IIS 4.0 with Active Server Pages provide the ideal platform for creating and managing dynamic, data-driven, server-side applications that can be deployed over the Internet and corporate intranets.

Host Connectivity

eService can connect to existing AS/400 and mainframe systems through SNA Server 4.0—a reliable, economical, and high-performance LAN-to-host gateway. The Customer Profile section of eService, for example, could integrate with customer information such as sales history, customer service level agreement, customer status, and so on that resides on an IBM mainframe.

Proxy/Firewall

eService uses Microsoft Proxy Server 2.0 to provide firewall security and high-performance Web caching to improve network response time and efficiency. Proxy Server could also be used with Routing and Remote Access Services for Windows NT Server to gain further cost savings and security of Virtual Private Networks.

Management Tools

The thin-client approach of this solution means that it can be administered from a single centralized site. Administrators can use Windows NT Server to manage users, performance, security, applications, and all network resources for the application, including access to information from Internet clients.

Security

Access rights on information and network resources are set once and are transparent to the user no matter how they access the resources. With one logon, users can access a globe-spanning network, even when logging on to the intranet or Internet from a browser. Administrators don't have to waste time managing separate security permissions to the network and Web resources.

Directory Services

eService takes advantage of the Windows NT Server Directory Service to provide a single infrastructure for managing users and access to resources on the network. With IIS 4.0, administrators can map standard digital certificates to Windows NT Server user accounts, allowing clients to log on to the network without having to remember logon IDs and passwords. Administrators are able to utilize the directory structure they are already familiar with to manage access to all system resources, including those exposed to Internet and intranet clients.

Part 2- Installation

Hardware and Software Requirements

Non-Cluster Aware Solution

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Cluster Aware Solution

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Hardware Requirements

  • Intel and compatible systems: system with a Pentium 100 or higher processor; Pentium 166 or higher recommended*

  • RISC-based systems: system with an Alpha processor*

  • Minimum 64 MB of RAM; 128 MB recommended**

  • Minimum 1 GB of available hard-disk space; 2 GB recommended**

  • CD-ROM drive

  • Network adapter card

  • VGA, Super VGA, or video graphics adapter compatible with Windows NT Server 4.0

  • Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

*For a list of compatible systems and peripherals, see http://winqual.microsoft.com/hcl/

Note: It is particularly important when evaluating Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0 clustering services to only use complete certified hardware configurations (server, storage, and network interfaces).

Software Requirements (for non-cluster aware solution)

  • Windows NT Server 4.0

  • Windows NT Service Pack 3

  • Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack

  • SQL Server 6.5

  • eService 98

Software Requirements (for cluster aware solution)

  • Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0

  • Windows NT Service Pack 3

  • Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack

  • SQL Server, Enterprise Edition 6.5

  • Proxy Server 2.0

  • eService 98

Setup

Detailed installation guides are available on the readme files located on the Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0, and BackOffice Server 4.0 CD-ROMs for anyone wishing to evaluate the Microsoft software products listed on the previous page (also see list of support documentation in the appendix).

Anyone already familiar with installing these products can also request a CD-ROM of the eService 98 software from Silknet Software, Inc to setup and evaluate the solution detailed in the demonstration script on the following pages. Silknet Software will also make available installation and configuration notes specific to this solution when you register for the software.

Please note The eService 98 CD-ROM is for evaluation purposes only.

In addition, a "Public" Server is also available that only requires a browser to follow a simple demonstration of eService 98. In order to access the Public Demonstration Site, the following setup must be followed:

  1. Install either Windows 95, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 or Windows NT Server 4.0 (stand-alone mode) and Internet Explorer 4.0.

  2. Verify Internet access either through your corporate connection or an Internet Service Provider/Online Service.

  3. Start Internet Explorer 4.0 on the Client.

  4. In "View Options" menu, choose "Security" tab, "Safety Level"—choose none (this will prevent any problems in downloading and installing .cab files).

  5. In Internet Explorer 4.0 go to http://ieg.silknet.com/site1public/default.asp—when prompted for authentication enter username "markhas" and password "markhas."

  6. Open a new Internet Explorer 4.0 session by firing up a new program session (do not simply create a new window). Go to http://ieg.silknet.com/site1private/default.asp—when prompted for authentication enter username "alf" password "alf."

  7. Please note that this session (for the Customer Service Representative, Al Fagan) will only work correctly if you are accessing the site from a public ISP or online service, or alternatively if accessing from the inside of a corporate firewall configuration (where port 2222 is opened up for outbound sockets communication).

  8. You now have an Internet Explorer 4.0 session for Customer (Mark Hassall) and an Internet Explorer 4.0 session for Support Representative (Al Fagan) and are ready to follow the Demo Script below.

Demonstration Script

This overview is designed to introduce you to eService, how it utilizes the underlying infrastructure services of Windows NT Server and BackOffice Server, and its advantages over other customer service solutions available today. eService is a Web-based, enterprise-level customer service solution designed to engage customers in a personalized, one-to-one multimedia rich medium. It enables quick and effective self-service, and it integrates computer telephony to provide Web-based, interactive assisted service with a representative. This solution is truly a next-generation customer service model that delivers superior service while reducing costs.

On the next few screens, we'll step you through an example case from the perspectives of the customer, Mark, and of the service representative, Al.

Customer Interface

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eService has two "sides" to it. This screen represents the interface with which Mark, the customer, would access the application. Notice it is a simple and familiar browser interface. By implementing a thin-client architecture, this solution can be deployed to anyone with a browser—be they the customer, support person, or business partner. Users obtain secure access to the system through a firewall (Microsoft Proxy Server).

Direct access to the support application eliminates one of the most common support complaints (which I'm sure you've all heard and probably experienced!)—waiting on hold. Unlike traditional client/server-based call management systems, which are often complex to navigate and require specialized training, eService is very intuitive and can be quickly and easily customized to meet the specific needs of the customer.

There are easy-to-navigate links to all the options available to Mark. He can: Search the Knowledge Base for a solution—Menu: "Instant Answers"; Request Service if he can't find the answer—Menu: "Personal Assistance," and check the progress on a case he's already submitted—Menu: "Personal Assistance/Case List". For example, the message "You have new case activity!" alerts Mark that progress has been made on a previously submitted case). Mark can also tap into "InfoCentral," which can be linked with a company's 'back-office' systems so Mark can check issues such as credit limit, shipping status of items ordered, bills due, and so on. He can also access product information specific to his interests under "Personalized Product News" or check "Service Bulletins" for personalized and general service alerts.

At any time, Mark can update his user profile. Each company can customize the information in "My Profile." But most importantly, the information captured from the customer is used throughout the service relationship, enabling more personalized service. Mark will never have to repeat his information for each interaction with the application and the company. Capturing more detailed information also enables companies to provide proactive service based on a person's preferences and interests.

Mark has accessed eService because he is having problems configuring his printer. The following are the steps he might go through to get help.

Search Knowledge Base

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  • Click Instant Answers

  • Type in "unable to configure for my new HP printer" and click on the "Go" button

This is the Search Knowledge Base page, which Mark has decided to access first. Here, he can search using simple English or keywords to specify which areas to search. We've used several subjects like Printers here, but this list is customizable and might also include modems, mutual funds, annuities, and so on according to your business. Like most companies, the majority of support calls that the Supplier receives have to do with routine problems and issues that have already been solved. Rather than involve a support agent, it makes more sense to have the customer run a query against a knowledge base containing known problems and the associated solution.

Using a sophisticated search engine like Microsoft Index Server, Mark can enter a description of his problem or issue it to the support application directly. The other benefit of this "self-service" approach is that support agents are released from answering repetitive, mundane questions and instead can make better use of their skills by solving complex issues that are new to both customer and supplier.

Mark can also select a specific area to search, such as Published Solutions, Online documentation, or Newsgroups. Searching Newsgroups gives Mark the ability to tap into a virtual user group community where solutions to problems are also presented. Mark then submits his search and may get a results page similar to that shown below, with relevancy rankings and summaries.

Request Service

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  • Page through results

  • Choose Request Service from top menu bar

The knowledge base has returned the solutions displayed. Mark can page through the results and quickly scan each summary to see if the information resolves his problem. In this case, Mark is not satisfied with the results and wants to submit a case. All he has to do is press "Personal Assistance" at the top of the page to initiate a case.

Eliminating Frustrating Calls to Customer Service

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  • Enter case details

  • Check box for e-mail notification of case events towards bottom of page to specify how and when to be answered

  • Click Submit Case

With this solution, Mark never gets frustrated waiting endlessly on-hold or dealing with "touchtone-hell." He has the power to immediately submit his case to a service rep. He simply fills out this case form, specifying the problem he's having, the urgency of the matter, the subject area, and exactly how he'd like to be reached. He can also specify whether the request should be submitted to the first service representative available, or to the most qualified in the subject. Mark has control over the service he receives. Now he can go about his business and feel secure that his problem will soon be solved.

Direct customer access to the application enables the Supplier to provide 24 x 7 x 365 service without having to staff a call center around the clock, so they can deliver a higher level of support at lower costs.

Routing Service Requests

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Personalization is a key feature of eService. It's important that Mark does not feel like just another number in a queue. So in addition to serving Mark by name and knowing his profile, you have the option of providing the customer with profiling information about the service representative assigned to his case.

Based on rules defined by the service department (for example, availability, skill set, prior customer contact, and so on) the application analyzes the problem and then routes this customer request through to the appropriate customer support rep—in this case, Al Fagan. It also provides a biography of the customer services representative and allocates a case ID so Mark can track this submission through resolution. Please take a note of the Case ID now because there could be several people accessing the demonstration system at this time.

Remember, because this is simply a browser, Al could provide customer support at any time, day or night, from anywhere—the office or out on the road.

Since Al has been assigned to Mark's case, you might add in a page like this one, which details Al's credentials and expertise and presents a photo. eService enables enterprises to truly conduct one-to-one service with its customers.

Whether the customer calls by telephone, sends an e-mail, or accesses the Service Center through the Web, this solution can track their interaction from start to finish in a single system.

Supplier Interface

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  • Open another Internet Explorer instance and select the private Web page http://ieg.silknet.com/site1private/default.asp

  • Log on as alf (password alf)

  • Click the "cases" icon at bottom left or "Cases" from the Top Menu bar

  • Click the line for the case ID (noted above from the Case Response page) that you wish to open

This is a screen shot of the other "side" of eService, the private side. This interface is used by Al, the customer service representative, to handle his assigned cases. Notice again that this is simply a browser, which Al can use to gain full access to the enterprise system.

In this shot, Al has already opened Mark's case, and the essential information is presented. Opening the case also initiates the application's powerful workflow technology, which ensures that the right people will review the case at the right time by efficiently routing the case throughout the enterprise. eService uses business rules and multiple workflows to automatically invite contributions, escalate a case, or prioritize the action on a case. Notice also the Dynamic HTML characteristics, for example, resorting information by clicking the list column headers, utilizing the client data cache.

The bottom left-hand frame presents summarized case information and the "Update" button allows Al to make changes. The bottom right frame presents a history log of all case activity, and the "Activities" button allows Al to move a case through a prescribed workflow by presenting choices of next activity steps. In this case, Al will use the "Respond" activity to make a suggestion to Mark.

Using Multiple Communications Vehicles

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  • Click "Activities" and select the "Respond" activity

  • Point out auto-dial buttons for telephony, chat, e-mail, and NetMeeting

  • Point out that e-mail notification can be triggered even if Web site communications is the customer preference

This solution integrates the incredible communications power of the Web with computer telephony systems. This means that customers can use a different communications vehicle every time they request or receive service and be assured that their entire case history is captured and accessible by any rep who serves them.

Here, you can see that Al can immediately access Mark's contact details for telephone, e-mail, and IP address. With Mark's IP address, Al can request remote control of his machine/application and resolve the problem for him if necessary. But Mark has specified that he would like to be contacted by Web site communication and has asked for e-mail notification to him of any significant events.

Responding to a Service Request

Cc750581.infeva11(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

  • In the "response summary" field, type in "Try this and get back to me either way," and check the "public Web site" box (in order to expose the entry to the customer's view of the case).

  • In main field, type "get the new drivers from the HP site" and click on the world icon on the tool bar. In the "address" field, type http://www.HP.com and in the "text" field type the keyword "Web site."

  • Click on the Explorer icon (top right) and, using the links at the bottom of the home page, drill down to desired page /Support Documentation & Software/Drivers/Printers/HP Deskjet and note the URL reference building automatically in the address field.

  • Click OK

After reviewing Mark's case (and perhaps routing it, using workflow, to other reps or managers for contributions or approval), Al has determined that Mark needs to install a new printer driver. Since this is becoming a frequent problem with customers, Al decides to publish this solution to the knowledge base, making it available to everyone—customer and enterprise service rep—with access to eService.

This view shows the multimedia Solution Publishing capability of eService. The toolbar at the top of the screen offers Al options to integrate hyperlinks, images, audio, and video into the solution. Al decides to provide a hyperlink to the vendor's Web site where the appropriate driver can be downloaded. Al is not only using the multimedia communications power of the Web but is also tapping into the Web's ability to hyperlink to any corporation or resource in the world.

To respond to the customer, Al simply clicks on the Respond icon and types his response into the summary field. He can then give some detailed instructions on what he wants the customer to do—in this case to get new drivers from the HP Web site.

Al points to the HP Web site and drills down to the appropriate page for drivers. Al then publishes the solution in the case history for Mark to see.

Efficient, Effective Communication

Cc750581.infeva12(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

  • Switch to public Web page

  • Log on as Markhas (password Markhas) and refresh page

  • Click briefcase icon

  • Click case number just submitted

  • Click "Case Response" hyperlink

  • Click HP WEB link keyword "Web site", see driver download page

  • Backspace on the Explorer toolbar and in the text field type "problem solved, the driver worked fine - thanks"

  • Click "Respond"

Since Mark requested that he be contacted through Web site, Al embedded a hypertext link to the proposed solution, clicked on the "Make Public" checkbox in his case entry, and quickly exposed the solution to him, with an e-mail notification to let him know the entry was there.

This is Mark's view of the entry from Al. Mark can read a summary of the solution and simply click the hyperlink to be connected to the multimedia published solution in the knowledge base.

Mark can see that Al wants him to go the HP Web site to download a new driver. In the interests of time, let's imagine that Mark installed the new HP driver and it has solved his problem—so Mark goes ahead and lets Al know that in his response, which in turn generates a notification to Al that a customer has made an entry.

Publish Solution to Knowledge Base

Cc750581.infeva13(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

  • Switch to private Web page

  • Log on as alf (password alf)

  • Access the case number that we have been dealing with

  • Click "Activities", select "Publish"

  • Click eyeglasses for the "try this and get back to me either way" entry to review the suggestion that Al now wants to include in the Published Solution (without having to retype and relink the reference to the HP site.)

  • Close the window

  • Click "Create Solution"

  • Select templates to use (Main.tpl and Body.tpl, from the top of each list)

  • Embellish the solution, noting the possibilities of Icons to embed additional multimedia components such as graphics, video, audio, files, screen recordings and any additional text information.

  • Select the "Submit" button at the bottom of the screen (depending on the workflow of solutions, this solution could now be dynamically available to the next customer who encounters the same problem, or could be routed to a review process prior to making it public on the service site)

Al can make this solution available to all customers and partners simply by clicking the publish button. In addition to Web links, Al could have dropped in multimedia components dynamically, for example, audio, video, screen cam ,or images, without having to know any HTML.

Extend Customer Service Information to Sales & Marketing

Al could also make customer service info available to internal groups, for example, executive management and sales and marketing can all view and analyze the information through a simple browser.

Service representatives can be recognized and rewarded for the quantity and quality of their published solutions. And eService tracks and presents this data as well as the customer's usage of this information and ratings of their effectiveness.

Part 3 – features

Infrastructure Products

Windows NT Server 4.0

Since its initial release in 1993, the Microsoft Windows NT Server operating system has established itself as an outstanding multipurpose network operating system. Combining the best of an application server, a file and print server, a communications server and Internet/intranet server, Windows NT Server is designed to be easy to manage, use, and scale with your most demanding business needs.

Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0

Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition is a new member of the Windows NT Server family designed to build on the benefits of Windows NT Server 4.0 adding enhanced performance and scalability, higher availability, and expanded services for developing enterprise applications.

Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack

The Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack provides enhanced application, communications and Web services for Windows NT Server 4.0 and provides an integrated framework that makes it easier to build reliable, enterprise-class business applications. Windows NT Server 4.0 with the Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack integrates the following:

  • Component management services with Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) 2.0

  • Message queuing with Microsoft Message Queue Server 1.0 (MSMQ)

  • Web scripting and HTTP services available with Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0 (IIS)

  • Comprehensive Internet access solutions with Internet Connection Services for Microsoft Remote Access Service

BackOffice Server 4.0

Microsoft BackOffice is the integrated server suite, optimized for Microsoft Windows NT Server, that makes it easy to develop, deploy, and manage powerful intranet and line-of-business applications. The server suite and Client Access License provide the simplest, most cost-effective way to license and use the entire BackOffice family of products.

The following server products are included in BackOffice Server 4.0.

  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0—a member of the Windows family and the network foundation for the BackOffice family—is the only multipurpose operating system that provides fast file and print services, as well as superior application, communication, and intranet/Internet services. In addition, Windows NT Server 4.0 includes these integrated application services:

    • Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0 is a powerful platform for delivering a wide range of Internet and intranet server capabilities. IIS 4.0 introduces new features for easily developing and deploying reliable and scalable Web-based applications, including crash recovery and Transactional Active Server Pages, allowing scripts and components to run within a transaction.

    • Microsoft Index Server 2.0 provides content indexing and search services for Internet/intranet information. It indexes the full-text properties of text, HTML, and Microsoft Office documents in seven languages.

    • Microsoft Certificate Server provides customizable services for issuing and managing certificates used in software security systems employing public-key cryptography.

    • Microsoft Transaction Server delivers the application "plumbing"—including transactions, scalability services, connection management, and administration—providing developers with the easiest way to build and deploy scalable server applications for business and the Internet.

    • Microsoft Message Queue Server makes it easy for application programs to communicate with other application programs quickly, reliably, and asynchronously by sending and receiving messages.

    • Microsoft Internet Connection Services for Remote Access Service allows for use of the Internet as a backbone for secure access to resources and electronic information residing on a corporate network.

    • Microsoft Management Console provides customers with a single, integrated console for managing services running on the server.

    • Microsoft FrontPage® 98 is a Web-authoring and management tool that allows you to create both Web pages and entire sites, and also link Web sites to databases. It includes FrontPage Editor, which lets you create and edit Web pages without needing to know HTML, and FrontPage Explorer, which lets you create and manage entire Web sites easily.

  • Microsoft SQL Server 6.5 is the scalable, high-performance database management system designed specifically for client/server computing. Its built-in data replication, management, and Internet features and open architecture provide a superior platform for delivering cost-effective information solutions.

  • Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 is the communications platform for business-critical messaging that enables the widest range of collaborative solutions. It serves as the messaging foundation for the most demanding business communications problems, and offers both flexibility and choice through unmatched interoperability with other messaging systems.

  • Microsoft Site Server 3.0 is the integrated Web server application tool set for organizations that use the Web for business-critical applications, providing important features for creating and managing, personalizing, broadcasting, and analyzing Web site information.

  • Microsoft Proxy Server 2.0 acts as a gateway between a Local Area Network (LAN) and the Internet. It is the first proxy server to combine extensible, firewall-class security and high-performance content caching in one integrated package.

  • Microsoft SNA Server 4.0 provides the easiest, most reliable way to connect to applications and data on IBM mainframes and AS/400s. Microsoft SNA Server 4.0 is the first product to combine LAN-to-host gateway capabilities with true host integration technologies in one complete package, providing unbeaten performance as well as COM Transaction Integrator for CICS and IMS, and an OLE/DB Provider for AS/400 and VSAM.

  • Microsoft Systems Management Server 1.2 is the most complete solution for managing networked PCs. It includes advanced features for performing software and hardware inventories, distributing and installing software, managing shared applications, managing help desks, diagnosing computing problems remotely, and monitoring and troubleshooting network and computer performance.

  • Seagate Crystal Info 5.0 provides powerful reporting capabilities across BackOffice components.

Infrastructure Technologies

Windows NT Server provides the plumbing, wiring, and foundation for Windows DNA applications so organizations can focus on creating, implementing and managing innovative solutions. It delivers the key infrastructure services to help developers of enterprise applications bring solutions to market faster and the management tools to administer a distributed enterprise network. These infrastructure services can be broken down into five broad categories:

Base Services

Windows NT Server is designed to deliver excellent scalability on standard SMP servers from a variety of system vendors. As a result Windows NT Server 4.0 provides the best price/performance ratio of any server operating system available today. The current industry-standard measure of database performance is the Transaction Processing Council's TPC-C benchmark. Over the last two years the published TPC-C transaction rates for Windows NT Server have more than tripled, while at the same time, the cost per transaction on these systems has dropped by more than 75 percent.

The highest level of reliability is also built into every component of Windows NT Server. It uniformly handles hardware and software system faults, protects user programs from each other as well as from the system, and provides data and system recovery mechanisms. Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0 offers even higher availability for mission-critical data and applications due to its built-in clustering software. When installed on a validated cluster configuration, it provides automatic recovery from failures plus the ability to move workloads for planned maintenance without downtime.

Both versions of Windows NT Server also have built-in application services for the Web, transaction processing, and message queuing that enable developers to build scalable and reliable Windows DNA applications. Because developers don't have to spend time and effort building scalability and availability features, they can build richer, more customized solutions.

Distributed Services

Windows NT Server offers a robust directory service that provides a single network logon, with a single point of administration and replication to multiple locations for backup reliability, load-balancing performance, and reduced network impact. The Windows NT Directory Service provides secure access to all of the services, information, devices, and applications managed by Windows NT Server—including the Microsoft BackOffice application suite.

Windows NT Server also offers the most robust security model of any server operating system on the market today. It is the only server operating system that provides U.S. Government C2-level security at the desktop and server. Further, the U.K. Information Technology Security Evaluation and Certification (ITSEC) has given it an FC2/E3 rating (European equivalent of the C2 "Red Book" evaluation performed by the National Security Agency in the U.S). Windows NT Server also provides comprehensive tools to make it easy for you to manage and maintain your security.

Networking & Communications Services

Windows NT Server delivers seamless integration with one platform for your e-mail, file server, Web server, databases, host connectivity and communications. It works with the systems you already have, such as NetWare, UNIX, and IBM mainframes and is compatible with all current network protocols, including TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, NetBEUI, AppleTalk, DLC, HTTP, SNA, PPP, and PPTP and with a wide variety of client operating systems such as Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows NT Workstation, IBM OS/2 and Macintosh.

More than 40 percent of the personal computers sold to corporations today, however, are laptops, intended to be used in a disconnected environment. Windows NT Server provides Remote Access Services (RAS), Internet Connect Services and message queuing services that allow mobile computers to take advantage of Windows DNA applications even while disconnected from the network.

And because conducting business over telephone lines can be costly, Microsoft, in conjunction with other industry partners, introduced the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), which allows remote users to dial-into a local Internet Service Provider (ISP) and, through a secure channel, access their network just as if they were at their desks. PPTP provides this level of security because it offers protocol encapsulation and data encryption for RAS connections, allowing users to create virtual private networks across public data networks, such as the Internet. In addition, RAS enables clients dialing into Windows NT Server 4.0 to combine all available dial-up lines to achieve higher transfer speeds. For example, users can combine two or more 28.8K baud modems to achieve speeds of 57.6K baud or greater.

Applications Services

Windows NT Server supports a cross platform component backbone—DCOM. All Microsoft tools, applications and systems provide published COM interfaces and COM is the primary way that third parties integrate their software products in Windows DNA. DCOM allows solutions to be assembled from the marketplace of reusable software "parts" rather than being built from scratch.

By integrating powerful Web, transaction processing, and message queuing technologies, Windows NT Server also offers customers the most complete platform for easily developing and deploying reliable and scalable distributed applications.

Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) is the standards-based Web application server integrated with Microsoft Windows NT Server that makes it easier to bring business information and applications to the Web. IIS was designed to support multiple Web server scenarios, ranging from simple Web sites on a corporate intranet to large ISP Web hosting farms.

Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) makes it easier to develop and deploy high-performance, scalable, and robust enterprise, Internet, and intranet applications. MTS defines an application programming model for developing distributed component-based applications. It also provides a run-time infrastructure for deploying and managing these applications.

Microsoft Message Queue Server (MSMQ) is a fast store-and-forward service that enables applications running at different times to communicate across heterogeneous networks and systems that may be temporarily offline. Applications send messages to MSMQ, and MSMQ uses queues of messages to ensure that the messages eventually reach their destinations. MSMQ provides guaranteed message delivery, efficient routing, security, and priority-based messaging.

Management

Windows DNA applications can be centrally managed through an initiative called the Zero Administration Initiative for Windows. The Zero Administration Initiative for Windows includes applications like Microsoft Systems Management Server and Microsoft Site Server; technologies such as Microsoft Management Console and the Windows Script Host; and tools including the broad range of graphical and Web-based administration utilities in Windows NT Server. These tools help system administrators manage and maintain users' desktops efficiently and in a consistent manner. By providing a single, integrated architecture for connected computing that ties together the corporate LAN (intranet) and the Internet, Windows DNA lowers maintenance and training costs and the overall cost of ownership.

Microsoft Management Console is a general-purpose display framework for hosting administration tools, built as MMC snap-ins by Microsoft and third parties. MMC has the potential for being used from within an existing enterprise console or to launch enterprise consoles. By allowing administrators to create their own views and, by removing technology discipline boundaries, it is possible to create appropriate displays of network, systems, and user information—providing a single point of management that is integrated, comprehensive, and easy to use.

The Windows Script Host is a language-independent scripting host that enables scripts to be executed directly on the Windows desktop or command console, without the need to embed those scripts in an HTML document. Scripts can be run directly from the desktop simply by clicking a script file, or from the command console. Windows Script Host provides a low-memory scripting host that is ideal for noninteractive scripting needs, such as logon scripting or administrative scripting. This technology is currently being developed.

Infrastructure Features

Windows NT Server (including the Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack)

New Feature

Description

BASE SERVICES

PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENTS, SCALABILITY & AVAILABILITY ENHANCEMENTS

Higher Network Throughput

Higher file server throughput—with up to 66 percent better performance on Fast Ethernet (100 megabit/second) LANs. (Test results from National Software Testing Laboratories [NSTL].)

Improved Scalability

Improvements in Windows NT Server 4.0 deliver better performance scalability on multiprocessor systems—especially those with more than four processors. New APIs for server application developers and better server performance deliver up to 33 percent better throughput and scalability for server applications such as Microsoft SQL Server.

Faster Internet Server

The combination of Windows NT Server 4.0 and Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0 delivers up to 40 percent better Web server performance (Microsoft test results).

DISTRIBUTED SERVICES

DIRECTORY SERVICES, SECURITY & NETWORK INTEGRATION SERVICES

DNS Server

Completely new version of DNS service. Features include a graphical administration utility and integration with WINS services for dynamic updates of host names and addresses. Through the WINS/DNS integration an end user can use DNS "compound" names to access a network resource. For example, using Windows NT Explorer it is possible to access a share through a DNS name such as \\srv1.myco.com\public.

Cryptography APIs

A set of encryption APIs that allow developers to develop applications that will work securely over nonsecure networks, such as the Internet.

Microsoft Certificate Server
(Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack Component)

Microsoft Certificate Server is a general-purpose, highly customizable server application for managing the issuance, revocation, and renewal of digital certificates. Digital certificates are used for public-key cryptography applications such as server and client authentication under the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Private Communication Technology (PCT) protocols. With Certificate Server, organizations can perform authentication on a corporate intranet or across the Internet through the use of these certificates.

Secure Sockets Layer
(Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack Component)

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) 3.0 provides a secure way to exchange information between clients and servers. Unlike previous SSL implementations, SSL 3.0 provides a way for the server to verify who the client is, without the user having to log on to the server. In IIS 4.0, client certificates are exposed to both ISAPI and Active Server Pages, so that programmers can track users through their sites. Also, IIS 4.0 "maps" the client certificate to a Windows NT user account, so that administrators can control access to system resources based on the client certificate.

Updated Novell NetWare interoperability services

Client and Gateway Services for NetWare have been extended to support NetWare Directory Services (NDS). Added functionality includes browsing of NDS resources, NDS authentication, and NDS printing. Supports authentication to multiple NDS trees. Support for processing logon scripts has also been added.

Windows 95 Remote Program Load (RIPL)

Allows diskless Windows 95-based clients to be booted from a Windows NT Server.

NETWORKING & COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

REMOTE ACCESS SERVICES, ROUTING AND TELEPHONY

RAS Multilink Channel Aggregation

With PPP-compliant channel aggregation, RAS enables clients dialing into Windows NT Server 4.0 to combine all available dial-up lines to achieve higher transfer speeds. For example, users can combine two or more ISDN B channels to achieve speeds of 128K or greater, or combine two or more standard modem lines. This provides for overall increased bandwidth and even allows users to combine ISDN lines with analog modem lines for increased performance.

Internet Connection Services for Microsoft Remote Access Service v1.0 (Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack Component)

Internet Connection Services for Microsoft Remote Access Service (RAS) version 1.0 supplements Windows NT Server basic networking services with the provision of seamless and secure telecommuting services via the Internet, outsourcing or reducing current RAS costs, and the ability to provide custom low-cost Internet access to consumer subscribers of an Internet Service Provider. Install these services today to see how Internet Connection Services for RAS can help you significantly reduce remote connectivity costs, improve end user experience, and enable new business paradigms over the Internet.

Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)

PPTP provides a way to use public data networks such as the Internet to create a virtual private network connecting client PCs with servers. PPTP offers protocol encapsulation to support multiple protocols through TCP/IP connections and encryption of data for privacy, making it safer to send information over nonsecure networks. This technology extends the capacity of RAS to enable remote access and securely extend private networks across the Internet without the need to change the client software.

MultiProtocol Router (MPR)

This service enables small- and medium-sized sites to deploy Windows NT Server as a low-cost LAN-LAN routing solution—eliminating the need for a dedicated router. It provides LAN-LAN routing for IPX/SPX, TCP/IP, and AppleTalk.

Telephony API 2.1

Windows NT Server has comprehensive telephony support built-in with Telephony API (TAPI) 2.1. TAPI enables development of integrated computer-telephony applications. This makes telephony application support on industry-standard hardware platforms and integration with legacy phone systems significantly easier and less expensive.

APPLICATION SERVICES

INTRANET/INTERNET SERVICES, TRANSACTIONS, MESSAGE QUEUING & COMPONENTS

Internet Information Server version 4.0 (Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack component)

Improvements in Internet Information Server (IIS) version 4.0 include:
Complete integration with Windows NT Server 4.0:
Installation integrated into Windows NT 4.0 setup allowing installation of IIS while installing Windows NT Server
Integrated with Windows NT Server security and directory service
Fastest Web server available for Windows NT Server—more than 40 percent faster than IIS 1.0, with better scaling on multiprocessor systems
Comprehensive Web Server Solution:
Index Server—allows for content indexing and search capabilities of HTML and Office documents (see below)
Server administration of IIS from any Web browser, or Internet Service Manager
Supports logging server traffic to NCSA Common Log File format, as well as any ODBC database
Easier migration from UNIX systems—supports NCSA & CERN-style map files
Easier to set up SSL security using new Key Manager Tool
Supports HTTP byte-range enabling browsers to begin receiving data from any part of a file for enhanced performance
Real-time performance monitoring through Windows NT Performance Monitor
Easy platform for building Internet applications:
Improved programmability using ISAPI—for example, several server variables are now exposed, and nested if statements are supported, providing greater programming capabilities
Improved database programmability with the Internet Database Connector (IDC)—multiple database queries can be grouped together for improved performance
Integration with BackOffice and thousands of other Microsoft Win32® API-based applications
Supports CGI, WinCGI, Microsoft Visual Basic® development system, and Perl scripting technologies

Microsoft Index Server 2.0
(Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack component)

Microsoft Index Server automatically indexes the full text and properties of files, including HTML, on your server—whether it's an intranet, an Internet, or simply a file-and-print server.
Indexes All Documents: Index Server allows you to query indexes and entire documents on intranet or Internet sites that are stored on an IIS server. The search engine has a unique ability to find documents in a wide variety of formats such as text in a Word document, statistics on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, or the contents of an HTML page.
Customizable Query Form: The Index Server allows the network administrator to create a customized query form enabling end users to choose parameters of their search. This form modification allows a user to search by either contents or other document properties, such as author and subject.
Automatic Maintenance: The Microsoft Index Server was designed for a "Zero Maintenance" environment where a server must be running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Once set up, all the operations are automatic. This includes: automatic updates, index creation and optimization, and crash recovery in case there's a power failure.
Administrative Tools: There are a number of built-in tools to help administrators optimize their query service. The performance monitoring capability gives administrators key information to gauge site performance—including the number of queries processed and the response time.
Multiple Languages: Index Server provides built-in language support allowing end users to query documents in seven different languages. Documents written in: Dutch, English (U.S. and International), French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish can be searched.

Microsoft Site Server Express (Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack Component)

Microsoft Site Server Express allows site administrators to analyze server log files, visualize and analyze site content, and easily deploy content to an IIS-based server. Site Server Express offers basic functionality versions of Microsoft Site Server's Analysis and Publishing features.

Microsoft FrontPage 98

Designed for non-programmers, yet robust enough even for experienced Web site developers, the Microsoft FrontPage 98 Web site creation and management tool is the fast, easy way to create and manage professional-quality Web sites. With functionality such as WYSIWYG editing, and wizards to step you through the creation of your Web site, it's never been easier to publish on the Web! Microsoft FrontPage also makes it easy for large teams to work together to create and manage sites. Its combination of flexible client/server architecture, passwords, user authentication, and other security features enables contributors in different locations to securely update different pages simultaneously on the same site.

Active Content with Debugging (Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack)

Microsoft Active Server Pages provides an easy-to-use alternative to CGI and ISAPI by allowing content developers to embed any ActiveX scripting language or server component into their HTML pages. ASP provides access to all of the HTTP request and response streams, as well as standards-based database connectivity and the ability to customize content for different browsers. Web developers can use Microsoft Script Debugger to debug ASP pages containing scripts written in Visual Basic Scripting Edition, Microsoft JScript™ development software, and Java. You can use Script Debugger to set breakpoints, step through scripts, view and change values, and execute commands dynamically.

Microsoft Transaction Server 2.0 (Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack Component)

Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) version 2.0 is a transaction-processing system for developing, deploying, and managing distributed server applications. MTS enables you to package components so they run within transactions. A transaction is a server operation that succeeds or fails as a whole, even if the operation involves many steps. Transaction processing is crucial for many business applications. Web application components are activated when needed and deactivated when not, so that you conserve server resources and increase the number of users who can run your application concurrently.

Microsot Message Queue Server 1.0 (Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack Component)

Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ) version 1.0 makes it easy for application programs to communicate with other application programs quickly, reliably, and asynchronously by sending and receiving messages. The key features of MSMQ, such as ActiveX support, comprehensive security controls, powerful administration tools, extensive feature set, and integration with strategic Microsoft products such as IIS and MTS, make MSMQ the message queuing product of choice for applications running on Windows 95 and Windows NT.

Microsoft Data Access Components v1.5 (Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack Component)

Microsoft Data Access Components version 1.5 consist of ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) and Remote Data Service (RDS), the Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC, and Open Database Connectivity (ODBC). These components provide client/server applications—deployed over the Web or an intranet—with easy-to-use, programmatic access to all types of data throughout the enterprise.

Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM)

The Component Object Model (COM) allows software developers to create component applications. Windows NT Server and Windows NT Workstation 4.0 include Distributed COM (DCOM) which extends COM to allow components to communicate across networks. An example of a DCOM application would be a stock quote server object running on Windows NT Server—distributing quotes to multiple clients running Windows NT Workstation. DCOM provides the infrastructure for connecting the objects on the two workstations and supports communication between the objects so that the user can receive the stock quotes. DCOM uses the same tools and technologies as COM, thereby preserving investments in training and software.

Internet Explorer 4.0 (Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack Component)

Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 is Microsoft's easy-to-use Internet browser. Internet Explorer 4.0 embraces existing HTML standards, such as tables, while advancing HTML with new improvements like online video, backgrounds, and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) support.

MANAGEMENT SERVICES

EASE OF USE AND MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENTS

Windows 95 User Interface

The Windows 95 user interface has been integrated into Windows NT Server 4.0, enhancing ease of use and providing consistency with Windows 95 and Windows NT Workstation 4.0.

Administrative Wizards

Administrative Wizards group the common server management tools into a single place and walk you through the steps required for each task. Windows NT Server 4.0 includes the following Wizards:
Add User Accounts Wizard: Makes it easy to add new users to a Windows NT Server network.
Group Management Wizard: Easily create and manage groups of users.
Managing File and Folder Access Wizard: Provides the ability to share drives and folders for Macintosh, Microsoft, and Novell network clients in one step, including security settings.
Add Printer Wizard: Set up printers that are connected to your computer or are on a network and share them. Installs printer drivers on the server for "point and print" installation on clients.
Add/Remove Programs Wizard: Install or remove programs from your computer.
Install New Modem Wizard: Set up and detect modems that are connected to your computer.
Network Client Administrator Wizard: Installs or updates network client workstations.
License Wizard: Makes it easy for administrators to keep track of the software licenses they use for servers and clients.

Network Monitor

Powerful network diagnostic tool allows examining network traffic to and from the server at the packet level. Allows capturing network traffic for later analysis, making it easier to troubleshoot network problems.

System Policy Editor and User Profiles

These two features allow system administrators to manage and maintain users' desktops in a consistent manner. System policies are used for the standardization of desktop configurations, to enforce behavior and control the user work environment and actions.
User profiles contain all user-definable settings for the work environment of a computer running Windows NT. Both policies and profiles can be stored on a network server, so as users log on to different computers they always receive the same desktop.

Task Manager

Task Manager is an integrated tool for monitoring applications, tasks, and key performance metrics of a Windows NT Server-based system. Task Manager provides detailed information on each application and process that is running on the workstation, as well as memory and CPU usage. Task Manager allows for the easy termination of applications and processes that are not responding, thereby improving system reliability.

Printing Enhancements

Printing performance is improved through server-based rendering of print jobs. This results in a quicker return-to-application time and quicker return of control to the user after a print job is initiated. Printer drivers for shared printers are located on the server for "point and print" automatic client driver installation. Remote printer folders allow easier browsing of shared printers

Improved Windows NT Diagnostics Tool

Windows NT Server 4.0 includes an improved Windows NT diagnostics program that allows for easy examination of the system. The new version contains information on device driver, network usage, and system resources such as IRQ, DMA, and I/O addresses. This information is presented in a easy-to-view graphical tool that can also run on a remote Windows NT-based system.

Microsoft Management Console (Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack Component)

Administration tools for many Option Pack components, such as IIS 4.0, Microsoft Transaction Server, Microsoft Index Server, Microsoft NNTP Service, and Microsoft SMTP Service, are hosted in Microsoft Management Console (MMC). MMC hosts the programs, called snap-ins, that administrators use to manage their servers. Future releases of Windows NT and Microsoft BackOffice products, as well as third-party networking products, will continue to adopt MMC as their framework for administrative programs.

Web based administration (Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack Component)

Both IIS 4.0 and Index Server have Web-based administration tools that provide for remote management of your server from almost any browser on any platform. With IIS 4.0, you can set up administrators for individual virtual directories or computers running Windows NT Server. Also, IIS 4.0 ships with an ActiveX administration component that supports the use of Visual Basic Scripting Edition or JScript to perform common administration tasks from the command line.

Part 4 – Evaluation

Competitive Analysis

Base Services

Windows NT Server 4.0

Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0

Solaris 2.6

NetWare 4.11

Preemptive Multitasking

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Multithreaded Kernel

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Symmetric Multiprocessing

Yes (4 Microsoft, 32 OEMs)

Yes (8 Microsoft, 32 OEMs)

Yes

Yes (separate product)

Virtual Memory Management

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Multiuser

Third party (Windows-based Terminal Server, code named "Hydra," will support)

Third party (Hydra will support)

Yes

No

Clustering Support

No

Yes

Yes

No

Loadable operating system modules, device-drivers

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Micro-kernel based operating system

Yes

Yes

No

No

Distributed Services

Windows NT Server 4.0

Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition 4.0

Solaris 2.6

NetWare 4.11

Storage Management

 

 

 

 

Mass Storage Devices (CD-ROMS, Disks, Tapes, DLT)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Disk Mirroring, Striping, RAID

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes (SFT III Extra Cost)

Advanced Storage Management (Tivoli, Cheyenne, EMC2)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Other third-party hardware support (Plotters/Scanners, PCMCIA, PCI devices)

Yes (abundant, inexpensive industry-standard PC devices)

Yes (abundant, inexpensive industry-standard PC devices)

Yes (limited expensive devices)

Yes (no support for scanners)

File Services

 

 

 

 

Large Files (beyond 4 GB)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No (4GB maximum file size)

Asynchronous IO, Memory-mapped IO

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Logging file system

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

CIFS

Yes

Yes

Third party

Yes - Enterprise Toolkit (extra cost)

NFS

Third party

Third party

Yes

Yes (extra cost)

Directory Services

 

 

 

 

Directory services

Yes (Easy to manage)

Yes (Easy to manage)

Yes NIS+ (but difficult to manage)

Yes

Single-network logon

Yes

Yes

Yes (but not for applications)

Yes

Automatic replication

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

DNS server with graphical administration and WINS integration

Yes

Yes

Yes (add on product)

No

Integration with applications

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Security

 

 

 

 

Designed to meet C2 security

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes (requires special hardware)

Secure logon, password aging, history, encrypted user name/password storage

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

File permissions, access control lists

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Audit file, user, administrator transactions

Yes (Easier and more flexible)

Yes (Easier and more flexible)

Yes

Yes

Security event alert

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Cryptography APIs

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Certificate Server

Yes

Yes

No

Third Party

Built-in groups with default rights

Yes (Backup operators, domain administrator, enterprise administrator U)

Yes (Backup operators, domain administrator, enterprise administrator U)

Groups have to be created and permissions assigned individually

Yes

Networking & Communications Services

Windows NT Server 4.0

Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0

Solaris 2.6

NetWare 4.11

Networking Device Support

 

 

 

 

Network Interface Cards
(Token-ring, Ethernet, ISDN, ATM)

Yes
(Abundant inexpensive industry standard PC devices)

Yes
(Abundant inexpensive industry standard PC devices)

Yes
(Few expensive non-standard devices)

Yes
(No NDIS support)

Network Protocol Support

 

 

 

 

TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, BootP, DHCP, DNS, PPP, HTTP, NNTP, SMTP

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes (except for NNTP)

AppleTalk, NetBIOS, NetBEUI

Yes

Yes

Yes (Solstice LM Server and NW Server)

No NetBEUI AppleTalk (extra cost)

Virtual Private Network (VPN) for secure connection over Internet

Yes (Using PPTP)

Yes (Using PPTP)

Yes (Using Sunscreen SKIP)

Yes (Border-Manager – extra cost)

Multi-channel aggregation

Yes

Yes

No

No

MultiProtocol Router

Yes

Yes

Yes (but no support for IPX & AppleTalk)

Yes

Inter-process communication mechanisms (named pipes, sockets, TLI, RPCs, )

Yes

Yes

Yes

Limited (no server-side named pipes or transport library interfaces)

Interoperability

 

 

 

 

Legacy data / SNA connectivity

Yes (SNA Server)

Yes (SNA Server)

Yes

No (NetWare SAA available from IBM – at Extra Cost)

Novell NetWare integration

Yes (Better integration and larger install base)

Yes (Better integration and larger install base)

Yes (Small install base)

Yes

Windows desktop integration

Very tight integration

Very tight integration

Inelegant support

Yes

Macintosh/OS2 desktop integration

Yes

Yes

Limited support

Yes

Application Services

Windows NT Server 4.0

Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition 4.0

Solaris 2.6

NetWare 4.11

Application Development/Deployment

 

 

 

 

Visual development and debugging tools

Visual Basic, Microsoft Visual C++®, Microsoft Visual FoxPro®, Microsoft Visual Interdev™ (Used by millions of users)

Visual Basic, Visual C++, Visual FoxPro, Visual Interdev (Used by millions of users)

Workshop Developer Products (Restricted to only Solaris developers)

Java support for visual tools only

Synchronization Primitives (mutexes, semaphores, timers)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes (no support for timers)

Thread support to utilize multiprocessing capability

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Distributed Computing/Objects Support

DCOM

DCOM

JOE/NEO (Based on CORBA)

CORBA

Transaction and Message Queue Server

Yes

Yes

Third party

No

Messaging

 

 

 

 

Standard such as SMTP, POP3, NNTP, MIME, X.400 support in e-mail infrastructure

Yes (Exchange)

Yes (Exchange)

Yes (Solstice Internet Mail)

Yes (Groupwise)

Mail application on Windows desktops

Yes (Outlook)

Yes (Outlook)

Yes (Solstice Internet Mail Client)

Yes (Groupwise)

Integration of Mail with Office applications

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Calendar/Scheduling with Mail

Yes

Yes

Third party
(Notes, Netscape)

Yes

Interoperability with MSMail, Lotus Notes, other mail systems

Yes

Yes

Limited interoperability

Yes

Business Applications

 

 

 

 

Leading databases/DSS (Oracle, Informix, Sybase, Redbrick, SQL Server)

Yes

Yes

Yes (Except SQL Server)

No (Oracle, Btrieve, Sybase NLMs only)

Business Applications (Baan, SAP, PeopleSoft, CA, Powersoft, and so on)

Both client and server applications

Both client and server applications

Mainly server side applications

No - Limited range (mainly NLMs)

Popular office productivity applications

Yes (Microsoft Office is most popular)

Yes (Microsoft Office is most popular)

Few applications (Expensive / hard-to-use)

No

Integrated and Comprehensive suite of applications

Yes (BackOffice)

Yes (BackOffice)

No

No

Web / Internet / intranet Apps

 

 

 

 

Built-in Web server

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

HTML and document content indexing

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

FTP

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Web-site management, content creation, commerce server

Yes (Better integrated with Windows NT Server)

Yes (Better integrated with Windows NT Server)

Yes (Netscape product)

No – compatible with Microsoft FrontPage, NetObjects Fusion, and SoftQuad HoTMetaL

Integration with database, Visual site building tools

Integrated and better tools

Integrated and better tools

Few less-integrated tools

Few less-integrated tools

Management

Windows NT Server 4.0

Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0

Solaris 2.6

NetWare 4.11

Easy GUI-based administration for all tasks—consistent with desktop operating systems

Yes - familiar Windows GUI, very easy to use

Yes - familiar Windows GUI, very easy to use

No - lacks ease-of-use

Yes – lacks ease of use

Remote administration, performance, and event monitoring

Yes

Yes

Yes (but limited performance monitoring using perfmon++)

Yes

Administrative wizards

Yes

Yes

No

No

Task Manager for process and memory monitoring

Yes

Yes

No

No

Performance monitoring tools

Yes (Mostly GUI based)

Yes (Mostly GUI based)

Yes (Mostly non-GUI based, for example, iostat, sar)

Yes (Mostly non-GUI based)

System policy editor and user profiles

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Network Monitor

Yes (GUI based)

Yes (GUI based)

Yes (ASCII based)

No

Network management tools

Yes (SMS)

Yes (SMS)

Yes (Solstice AutoClient, PC Admin, Site Manager)

Yes

System administration tools

Easy and GUI-based tools

Easy and GU- based tools

Unintuitive but powerful tools (awk, grep, tar)

Yes

Printer management

Administration easy

Administration easy

Administration difficult

Yes

Third-Party network management software (CA UniCenter, HP OpenView, Tivoli)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Availability and cost of system administrators

Easy to find and Inexpensive

Easy to find and Inexpensive

Hard to find and expensive

Easy to find and Inexpensive

Management of heterogeneous environment

Yes (Systems Management Server)

Yes (Systems Management Server)

Yes (Solstice Domain Manager, Solstice Site Manager)

Yes
(Managewise)

Pricing

The non-cluster-aware solution described requires one copy of BackOffice Server 4.0 (which includes Windows NT Server 4.0, SQL Server 6.5, Proxy Server 2.0), one copy of either Windows 95 or Windows NT Workstation (for the client machine), and one copy of eService 98.

BackOffice Server 4.0

$ 2,039

Windows 95

$ 209

eService 98

POA

The cluster-aware solution described requires two copies of Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0, one copy of Windows NT Server 4.0 (for the PDC/client), two copies of SQL Server, Enterprise Edition 6.5, 1 copy of Proxy Server 2.0, one copy of either Windows 95 or Windows NT Workstation (for the optional remote client machine) and one copy of eService 98.

2x Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0

$ 7,998

Windows NT Server 4.0 (PDC/Client)

$ 809

2x SQL Server, Enterprise Edition 6.5

$16,018

Proxy Server 2.0

$ 999

Windows 95

$ 209

eService 98

POA

To calculate how many Client Access Licenses are required and to price other Windows NT Server-based solutions, follow the guidelines detailed below:

  1. Determine the quantity of Microsoft Windows NT Servers you need.

  2. Acquire one copy of Windows NT Server or Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition for each machine it will run on. Client Access Licenses now are included with the standard server product in packs of five and 10 and in the Enterprise Edition in packs of 25 and 50.

  3. Determine the number of client machines that need to access Windows NT Server to share files and printers, connect remotely through the built-in Remote Access Service (RAS), use Services for Macintosh or send or receive messages from Microsoft Message Queue Server, or invoke component-based applications managed by Microsoft Transaction Server.

  4. Purchase Microsoft Client Access Licenses for Windows NT Server for each of the above determined client machines that will access your servers in addition to Client Access Licenses included with your server purchase. One Client Access License is required per client machine, including computers running Windows 95, Windows for Workgroups, and Windows NT Workstation. That one license provides access to all Windows NT Servers-based machines on your network.

Windows NT Server 4.0

Estimated U.S. Retail Price

Windows NT Server 4.0 Five-User Version
Everything is included in one package. Contains Server and five Client Access Licenses. Client software and online documentation also included. CD-ROM media only. 227-00028

$809.00

Windows NT Server 4.0 10-User Version
Everything is included in one package. Contains Server and 10 Client Access Licenses. Client software and online documentation also included. CD-ROM media only. 227-00027

$1129.00

Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0

Estimated U.S. Retail Price

Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0 25-User Version
Everything is included in one package. Contains Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0 and 25 Windows NT Server 4.0 Client Access Licenses. Client software and online documentation also included. CD-ROM media only. 779-00001

$3,999.00

Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0 50-User Version
Everything is included in one package. Contains Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0 and 50 Windows NT Server 4.0 Client Access Licenses. Client software and online documentation also included. CD-ROM media only. 779-00002

$4,799.00

Windows NT -Server Client Access Licenses

Estimated U.S. Retail Price

20 Quantity Client Access License for Windows NT Server 4.0
License for 20 clients to access any Windows NT Server in a network. It's like buying 17 and getting three more free. These are required for any computer, including those running Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95, or Windows NT Workstation. Acquired separately from Windows NT Server. 351-00004

$659.00
($32.95
per client)

Single-Quantity Client Access License for Windows NT Server 4.0
License for a single client to access any Windows NT Server in a network. These are required for any computer, including those running any computer, including those running Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95, or Windows NT Workstation. Acquired separately from Windows NT Server. 351-00187

$39.95

Case Studies

Silknet has customers in various industries with equally varied customer service needs.

Pacific Bell Internet Services

Pacific Bell Internet Services (PBI) provides a comprehensive range of Internet access to business and residential customers in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento areas.

With more than 100,000 subscribers, PBI is one of the nation's largest Internet service providers. Supplying high-quality service to their customers—many of whom are first-time Internet users—is a challenging task. Initially PBI used only a telephone-based system to support its subscribers. But as its customer base grew, the need for cost effective, multifaceted customer care solutions grew. PBI found part of its solution on the World Wide Web: eService, from Silknet Software.

Geac Computer Corporation Limited

Geac Computer Corporation Limited delivers and supports total computer solutions, including complete mission-critical client/server applications to various cross-industry and vertical markets worldwide. Geac markets include libraries, financial services, hotels, construction management, property management, newspapers, cross industry accounting, restaurants, manufacturing and distribution, and public safety.

Geac's Customer Service Division is a critical element of the company's overall approach to serving its customers. The Customer Service Division provides hardware maintenance, systems configuration and installation, system upgrades, and both local and wide area network design, to complement Geac's software applications, support and related services.

"Having a true Web-based customer service solution instead of just a Web interface slapped onto a telephone solution allows us to take advantage of the latest Internet technologies, including application sharing and whiteboarding," said Tom Frizzi, director of support tools at GEAC. "At the same time, because eService 98 is browser-based and uses HTML, it is easy for us to provide one uniform interface to both our service representatives and our customers and we don't have to upgrade hundreds of client interfaces every time we want to upgrade our customer service applications."

PC Connection, Inc.

PC Connection, Inc., is a leading, privately held catalog reseller of computers, software, and peripherals to individuals, corporations, and educational and government institutions. The company has two divisions—PC Connection and MacConnection.

Today, PC Connection is the undisputed customer service leader and the most decorated reseller. The company is considered the trend-setter in the direct marketing business for pioneering many unique customer service and support programs.

"When designing our Web site, we wanted it to provide an unobtrusive, end-to-end customer service experience," said Brian Aron, director of business development and marketing for PC Connection. "It needed to provide post-sales service and support as well as generate pre-sales interest from potential customers. We turned to eService, from Silknet, to provide the solution."

Planet Direct

Planet Direct, based in Andover, Massachusetts, provides personalized news, weather, directories, mapping, messaging, discussion groups, and VRML pages to ISPs all over the United States. With more than 40 ISP customers and 500,000 subscribers, full customer service support is critical to Planet Direct.

When Planet Direct first went into business, it relied on an e-mail-based system in order to process problems, complaints, and inquiries from its ISP customers. "It was a low-end system" states Lex Crosett, chief technology officer of Planet Direct, "and we knew it wasn't going to work in the long run." To ensure that its customer service was as good as its product, Planet Direct turned to Silknet's eService customer service software.

Sitara

"Sitara's mission is to dramatically improve the speed, reliability, and overall user experience of the Internet for everyone; to bring intelligence to its underlying network; to improve the management of today's traffic loads; to assign new rules of logic that better align with today's network realities, not yesterday's environment," said Eric Hanselman, customer support manager at Sitara Networks.

"As a start-up company looking to build a large Web presence, we needed an enterprise Web-based customer service solution that would allow us to widely distribute knowledge to all of our clients. eService 98 has provided us with a way to provide superior customer service without having to build a call center or make heavy investments hiring personnel."

Appendix

Documentation

Your primary source for information on core capabilities is the base Windows NT Server 4.0 documentation:

  • Windows NT Server 4.0 Start Here provides information you need to get started quickly, including Setup and Setup-troubleshooting instructions. If you do not have a copy of Windows NT Server 4.0 Start Here, the book is available in Microsoft Word .doc files in the \support folder on your Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition Components CD-ROM.

  • Windows NT Server 4.0 Concepts and Planning contains information about implementing and optimizing Windows NT Server. To access the book online after installing Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition, click Start, point to Programs, and click Books Online.

  • Windows NT Server 4.0 Networking Supplement contains information about networking tools, protocols, and services. To access the book online after installing Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition, click Start, point to Programs, and click Books Online.

  • Additional information is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.microsoft.com/ntserver and in the Windows NT Server Resource Kit Version 4.0.

Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition 4.0 Component Documentation

Microsoft Cluster Server

The following MSCS documentation is available:

  • MSCS Release Notes, which contain the latest available information on Microsoft Cluster Server, located in \MSCS\Readme.doc on Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition Components CD-ROM.

  • The MSCS Administrator's Guide, which covers concepts required to configure, install, and manage a cluster.

  • MSCS Cluster Administrator Help, which contains context-sensitive descriptions of interface elements and step-by-step procedures, to guide you through common administrative tasks.

Microsoft Message Queue Server

The following MSMQ documentation is available:

  • MSMQ Release Notes, which contain the latest available information on MSMQ, located in \MSMQ\Readme.doc on Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition Components CD-ROM.

  • The MSMQ Administrator's Guide, which covers concepts required to configure, install, and manage MSMQ.

  • The MSMQ SDK Help, which covers MSMQ API usage.

  • MSMQ Explorer Help, which contains context-sensitive help and procedures to guide you through common administrative tasks.

Microsoft Transaction Server

  • MTS includes a Help file with the following documentation:

  • Readme

  • Getting Started

  • Programmer's Guide

  • Administrator's Guide

  • MTS Explorer

  • Frequently Asked Questions

  • MTS Product Support Information

Microsoft Technical Support

Microsoft offers technical support and services ranging from self-help tools to direct assistance with a Microsoft Technical Support Engineer.

Note: The services and prices listed here are available in the United States and Canada only (see Technical Support Worldwide over the page).

Self-Help Tools to Find Answers Yourself

Microsoft Technical Support Online: This innovative site uses the cutting-edge technology of Microsoft to help you access the most relevant technical information and resources to answer your support questions. Use the troubleshooting wizards to easily diagnose and answer technical questions. Or select technical articles, programming aids, or commonly asked questions from the Microsoft Knowledge Base of over 75,000 articles. Visit http://www.microsoft.com/support/ today and see how easy it is to find the answers you need.

Direct Assistance with a Microsoft Technical Support Engineer

Pay-Per-Incident Support: If you still need answers to your technical questions, you can purchase Pay-Per-Incident Support. In the United States and Canada, for a fee of $195 US per incident, please call (800) 936-5900, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.

Note: Support fees for the (800) number calls will be billed to your VISA, MasterCard, or American Express credit card.

Priority Annual Support: If you anticipate a high volume of support incidents, or need priority access to Microsoft Technical Support Engineers, you can purchase a Priority Annual Comprehensive Account. In the United States and Canada, for more information or to purchase an annual account at a cost of $1,695 US per 10 incidents, call (800) 936-3500, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. To submit an incident against an existing account, call (800) 936-4900, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.

Submitting questions through the Internet: In the United States. and Canada, you can also submit your Pay-Per-Incident or Priority Annual support questions via the Internet with Web Response. For more details, go to Microsoft Technical Support Online at http://www.microsoft.com/support/.

Priority Plus: Microsoft Technical Support also offers special accounts for medium-sized businesses that require priority incident resolution, including business-critical support and access to targeted information to assist information-technology and Help desk professionals in support planning for smoother product deployment. For more information, in the United States and Canada, please call (800) 936-3500, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.

Priority Consult Line: Receive hourly consulting for support questions that fall outside of the traditional technical support realm. These include designing or planning for deployment, software development, code review, and implementation planning. The Consult Line covers all Microsoft products, including those Microsoft products used for developing Internet and intranet solutions. For more information or to purchase hourly consulting services at $195 US per hour (minimum one hour), please call (800) 936-5200, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time.

Additional Support Options

Professional Programs and Services: Microsoft Technical Support also offers professional support programs and services for large businesses that require a direct relationship with Microsoft. For more information, see the Technical Support section of the Help file, or visit Microsoft Technical Support Online at http://www.microsoft.com/support/.

Text Telephone: Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TTD) services are available for the deaf or hard-of-hearing. In the United States, using a TTY/TTD modem, dial (425) 635-4948. In Canada, using a TTY/TTD modem, dial (905) 568-9641.

Technical Support Worldwide: Support services and prices may vary outside the United States and Canada. For information on support available outside the United States and Canada, contact the local Microsoft subsidiary in your area. For a list of worldwide Microsoft subsidiaries, see the Technical Support section of the Help file, or visit Microsoft Technical Support Online at http://www.microsoft.com/support/.

Note: The services and prices listed here are available in the United States and Canada only. Support services may vary outside the United States and Canada. For more information on support in other locations, contact your local Microsoft subsidiary.

Microsoft's support services are subject to Microsoft's then-current prices, terms, and conditions, which are subject to change without notice.

For More Information

For the latest information on Windows NT Server, check out our World Wide Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/ntserver or the Windows NT Server Forum on MSN™, The Microsoft Network (GO WORD: MSNTS).

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