Commerce Server 2000 Overview and Scenarios

Welcome to the Microsoft Commerce Server 2000 Resource Kit. This kit consists of one book and a single compact disc (CD) containing tools, additional reference materials, and an online version of the book. In addition, updates and information about deploying sites with Commerce Server 2000 are available at on an ongoing basis.

The Commerce Server 2000 Resource Kit supplements Microsoft Commerce Server 2000 product software and documentation in the same way that a good tour guide supplements a set of detailed street maps. Commerce Server 2000 Help contains step-by-step descriptions for using the software. It is procedural information—a guide to the features of the product and instructions for using them. The Commerce Server 2000 Resource Kit expands on this information by providing real-world scenarios and guidelines for setting up e-commerce Web sites with Commerce Server.

Introduction to Commerce Server 2000

Commerce Server 2000 delivers a scalable e-commerce platform that provides ready-to-use features for developing, deploying, and upgrading effective e-commerce applications for the Web. This extensible platform enables customers, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to build solutions that scale with business needs and integrate with existing systems and data. Using Commerce Server scalable server architecture with Microsoft Windows 2000, you can meet the increasing performance demands of growing e-commerce infrastructures.

Commerce Server is comprised of five systems: the Business Analytics System, the Product Catalog System, the Targeting System, the Profiling System, and the Business Process Pipelines System. Each system is designed so that you can easily customize it to meet your business needs.

Business managers use Commerce Server Business Desk to work with the five Commerce Server systems. For example, they can use Business Desk to update catalogs, target content to users, profile users and organizations, and analyze site usage and productivity. System administrators use Commerce Server Manager to configure system resources and manage the applications, databases, and Web servers.

The Commerce Server systems, Business Desk, Commerce Server Manager, and the Commerce Server databases are pre-configured and packaged in the Solution Sites, which you can use as a starting point for building a custom site and integrating third-party applications.

Figure 1.1 illustrates the Commerce Server architecture.


Figure 1.1 Commerce Server architecture

Commerce Server and Windows Server System

Although Commerce Server is a stand-alone product, it is designed to operate seamlessly with other Microsoft Windows Server System products The Windows Server System includes Microsoft's comprehensive family of server applications for building, deploying, and managing scalable, integrated Web solutions with fast time to market. You can use .the Windows Server System to build solutions that integrate Commerce Server sites with the rest of your management information system. If you need this level of integration, you can implement one or more of the other Microsoft .NET technologies in conjunction with Commerce Server.

Some of the .NET technologies that typically are used with Commerce Server include:

  • COM+ Services (an extension to the Component Object Model)

  • Microsoft Application Center 2000

  • Microsoft BizTalk Server 2000

  • Microsoft Host Integration Server 2000

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2000

COM+ Services

COM+ Services (Component Services, including MTS) is a unified programming model that you can use to build component-based, three-tier distributed applications. COM+ builds on the Microsoft Component Object Model (COM) by combining COM with the transactional features of Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS). It extends the programming environment by adding a rich set of features to make it easier to develop, deploy, and administer highly scalable, distributed, component-based solutions.

Application Center

Application Center is a high-availability deployment and management tool for Web applications built on Windows 2000. It extends the core set of Web application services found in Windows 2000 (Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.0, Active Server Pages (ASP), COM+, Message Queuing), and provides a suite of monitoring, testing, and diagnostic tools not available in the core operating system. Application Center is designed for customers with high-end requirements for scalability and availability.

You can use Application Center with Commerce Server to deploy content and make incremental updates to your Web site. For more information about using Application Center with Commerce Server, see "Deploying Your Site" in Commerce Server 2000 Help and Chapter 15, "Deploying Content," in the Commerce Server 2000 Resource Kit.

BizTalk Server

BizTalk Server provides a comprehensive solution for business-to-business electronic document exchange and business process integration. BizTalk Server acts as a business document gateway between trading partners and manages the data translation, encryption, digital signatures, and document tracking services for many different transport mechanisms.

You can integrate Commerce Server with BizTalk Server, for example, to exchange catalogs of products that you post on your Web site, and to send orders entered on your Web site to suppliers for fulfillment. For more information about integrating Commerce Server with BizTalk Server, see Chapter 13, "Integrating Commerce Server with BizTalk Server," as well as the topics "Integrating with BizTalk Server" and "Using BizTalk Server and Commerce Server" in Commerce Server 2000 Help.

Host Integration Server

Host Integration Server is a comprehensive integration platform that provides support for Internet, intranet, and client/server technologies, while preserving investments in existing systems. By recognizing that accessing existing data is only the first step in leveraging enterprise computing resources, Host Integration Server enables you to create distributed applications that make the most of either client/server or Web computing and host information.

SQL Server

SQL Server provides a scalable database that combines ease of use with complex analysis and data warehousing tools. SQL Server includes a rich graphical user interface (GUI) and a complete development environment for creating data-driven applications. Commerce Server takes advantage of SQL Server data warehousing and analysis capabilities. The Commerce Server Data Warehouse, for example, uses SQL Server Data Transformation Services (DTS) to transform data stored in SQL Server databases to the format used by Commerce Server resources.

Solution Sites

The Commerce Server Solution Sites are development reference sites that provide an integrated set of Commerce Server features for building comprehensive e-commerce sites. You can use the Solution Sites as a starting point for developing your own Web site, and, when you are ready, add functionality that is specific to your business.

Commerce Server includes the following Solution Sites:

  • Blank. You can use the Blank Solution Site as a starting point for building your own custom site. It includes all of the Commerce Server resources. The Blank site is included in the Commerce Server box.

  • Retail. You can use the Retail Solution Site as a starting point for building a business-to-consumer site. It includes functionality for personalization, merchandising, catalog search, customer service, and business analytics. It also includes the Customer Service, which enables users to manage their own profile information and to view their order status. The Retail site is available from

  • Supplier. You can use the Supplier Solution Site as a starting point for building a business-to-business site. It uses Microsoft Active Directory in Windows 2000 to provide secure user authentication and group access permissions. It provides purchase order and requisition handling, Extensible Markup Language-based (XML-based) catalog updates and exchange, and trading partner self-service. It also includes the Partner Service, which enables a delegated administrator (a contact at a supplier company) to manage organizational information, purchase orders, and order status for the supplier company. The Supplier site is available from

The Solution Sites provide the following capabilities:

  • Merchandising. You can create targeted advertisements and discounts and personalized direct mail campaigns to increase sales and enhance the user experience.

  • Catalog display. You can display catalogs that users can easily search by:

    • Browsing categories.

    • Specifying full or partial names of products or their attributes.

    • Narrowing their search until they find what they need.

    • Searching for multiple attributes at once (for example, price less than ten dollars and color equal to "red").

  • Customer service. Users visiting your site can change their logon and password, view their order status and history, and change their profile information.

  • Order capture and receipt. After ordering products, users can receive a receipt with a final total and order tracking number.

Because the Solution Sites provide comprehensive e-commerce functionality, you can use them as a starting point for developing your own Web site. Beginning with a Solution Site will free you to spend more time adding functionalities specific to your business.

Introduction to the Resource Kit


The Commerce Server 2000 Resource Kit can help you work with Commerce Server in two ways: by helping you understand common e-business scenarios and by explaining in detail each phase of the development of an e-commerce site.

The Commerce Server 2000 Resource Kit provides a detailed description of the following two common types of e-business scenarios:

  • Business-to-consumer (B2C), or retail site scenario, which resembles a storefront for consumer-oriented direct sales

  • Business-to-business (B2B), or supplier site scenario, such as a supply-chain or value chain site that facilitates purchasing, order processing, and account management for business trading partners

You can use Commerce Server to implement both types of sites.

In addition, the Commerce Server 2000 Resource Kit provides detailed information about using Commerce Server during each of the four phases in the life cycle of an e-commerce site: Plan, Develop, Deploy, and Manage. Building and maintaining a successful e-commerce Web site is a continuous process, in which you develop a vision of your site and then:

  • Plan how to implement that vision.

  • Develop the plan and code all the elements of the site, including Web site pages.

  • Deploy the site and perform system validation.

  • Manage the site in production and analyze the Web logs to plan for future upgrades.

Chapter 11, "Migrating from Site Server to Commerce Server 2000," describes how to migrate a site developed with Microsoft Site Server 3.0 or Site Server 3.0 Commerce Edition (SSCE) to take advantage of Commerce Server features. Chapter 11 includes a feature-by-feature analysis and comparison of those products, plus instructions for using the migration tools included with Commerce Server.

Some other Commerce Server 2000 Resource Kit highlights include the following:

  • Planning for scalability and high availability (Chapters 5 and 6)

  • Integrating Commerce Server with ERP systems (Chapter 10)

  • Designing your site to serve an international audience (Chapter 12)

  • Maximizing site performance (Chapter 19)

This book is designed for Information Technology (IT) professionals engaged in all phases of implementing e-commerce sites: planners, developers, testers, system administrators, and consultants. This audience includes Web developers, as well as traditional software developers and testers, system and network administrators, consultants hired to develop and deploy e-commerce sites, and business decision makers who evaluate the product as part of the planning process.

Introduction to the Resource Kit Scenarios


E-commerce sites can be characterized in different ways, including the following:

  • Size (small-to-medium, medium-to-large, or global)

  • Availability (weekdays only, limited use, or close to 100 percent availability)

  • End-user or audience description (retail consumers, corporate customers, or trading partners)

  • Commerce Server features used (catalog display only, order pipeline, inventory management, site usage analysis, direct mailings, and advertising)

The Commerce Server 2000 Resource Kit focuses on the retail and supplier site scenarios. These case studies can help you plan and build your site by sharing lessons learned from specific Commerce Server implementations. They can provide a frame of reference for you to use as you plan, develop, deploy, and manage your own site using Commerce Server.

The Commerce Server 2000 Resource Kit scenarios present information about business goals, site architecture, planning methodologies and considerations, development best practices, deployment procedures, and system administration for typical retail and supplier sites.

For the Planning phase, the scenarios describe the following:

  • Business description

  • Business objectives

  • Scope (including existing systems, technical issues, and staffing issues)

  • Project time constraints

  • Hardware and software

  • Planning for disaster recovery

For the Development phase, the scenarios describe the following:

  • Development using the Solution Sites

  • Change management

  • Source control

  • Product catalog design

  • Development best practices

For the Deployment phase, the scenarios describe the following:

  • Network architecture

  • Testing

  • Performance tuning

For the Management phase, the scenarios describe the following:

  • System administration (including regular system backups)

  • Performance management

  • Site usage data assembly, reporting, and analysis