Microsoft is formally branding its security portfolio "Forefront" during keynotes to kick off the Tech Ed 2006 conference in Boston Sunday.The company also is set to unveil new partnerships and test releases of forthcoming products during the show\u2019s opening speeches by Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft\u2019s Server and Tools Business, and Chris Capossela, corporate vice president of Office marketing. Ray Ozzie, Microsoft\u2019s CTO, also is set to speak Sunday at the show.The announcements at Tech Ed are aimed at delivering what Microsoft calls its "people-ready" vision for business, which critics see as little more than a marketing slogan. Microsoft executives, however, have said the plan means that going forward, the company will provide software and services that will help link all of the people in a company more closely together.\n\n"Forefront" will be the new umbrella brand for Microsoft\u2019s security portfolio, which includes Internet Security & Acceleration Server 2006, a new version of Microsoft\u2019s edge security gateway that provides network protection against Internet-based threats, and Antigen, Microsoft\u2019s enterprise antivirus and antispam software.Microsoft\u2019s growing security portfolio also includes a service formerly called Microsoft Client Protection, which Microsoft will rename at Tech Ed. The offering, now called Forefront Client Security, is designed to deliver antivirus protection across business desktops, laptops and server operating systems. The product is in an early beta release to testers.Also at Tech Ed, the company will release the first beta of the newly renamed System Center Operations Manager, formerly Microsoft Operations Manager, and the first community technology preview (CTP) of SQL Server Everywhere. System Center Operations Manager is Microsoft\u2019s network management software, while SQL Server Everywhere is a slimmed-down version of Microsoft\u2019s database for mobile and embedded applications.Another CTP that show attendees can get their hands on is Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals, an add-on to Microsoft\u2019s developer collaboration environment that adds a database professional "role" to the tool. Visual Studio Team Edition allows multiple developers working on a development project to work according to their specific role. The tool already includes roles for developers, testers and architects.Microsoft will reveal another add-on for developers, Visual Studio Tools for Office\u2014formerly code-named Cyprus\u2014at Tech Ed. The tools enable developers to build applications for the next version of Office, Office 2007, directly from within Visual Studio. The tools will be available free when Office 2007 ships, which Microsoft expects will be January 2007. Capossela during his keynote will announce mid-July as a more specific date for beta 2 of Exchange Server 2007; the company previously said only that it would be available before September. The product itself is expected to be available either at the end of the year or in early 2007.In the partnership arena, Microsoft will announce that eight hardware vendors have signed on to support Always On for SQL Server, a package of services for database availability, including mirroring and failover support. EMC, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Network Appliance, NEC and 3PAR all will provide storage hardware on which the services can be delivered. -Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau)Related Links:\n\nMicrosoft, Juniper Team Up in IPTV Security Pact\n\nMicrosoft, Qwest Expand Partnership With Web Security Pact\n\nMicrosoft\u2019s Windows Live OneCare Now ShippingThis article is posted on our Microsoft Informer page.\u00a0For more news on the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse, keep checking in. Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.