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-- by Tom Henderson
The Web server showdown between Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) and Netscape Enterprise Server (NES) continues. After Microsoft quietly began testing an upgrade to IIS 3.0, code-named K2, Netscape Communications countered by posting a beta release of NES 3.0 on its Web site.
Netscape's cross-platform commitment is impressive, but the real battle is in the NT arena. More than 60 percent of new intranets use NT Server as the underlying OS, according to market researcher International Data Corp.
K2 (free for NT Server 4.0 customers) will certainly cost less than NES (about $1,000 per server), but it's difficult to compare the products directly since neither is shipping. However, you can download a free copy of the current IIS 3.0 release (http://www.microsoft.com/iis/default.asp) and NES 3.0 beta (http://www.netscape.com/comprod/mirror/server_download.html) from Microsoft's and Netscape's sites.
Naturally, Microsoft wants IIS 3.0-and later, K2-to be a de facto Web server standard for NT. Already, IIS 3.0 supports Active Server Pages (ASPs), a programming platform that competes with NES 3.0's Internet Inter-ORB (object request broker) protocol and traditional CGI interfaces. ASPs are browser-neutral and separate background programming from HTML presentation. That is, the content can change without recoding its presentation.
Whether you choose IIS or NES, you won't be deploying dead-end technol-ogy. NES is part of Netscape's SuiteSpot product family, which sold a million units last year. At press time, IIS 3.0 had been downloaded from Microsoft's Web site more than 160,000 times.