Software basic training

The two information technology giants have opened the first Distributed InterNetwork Applications testing lab in Pittsburgh. The lab enables companies to experiment with new software and train employees on applications before implementing the software on a larger scale.

The testing lab teaches developers to use Microsoft’s WinDNA, the application development model for the Windows platform. WinDNA, say the partners, allows independent software vendors and organizations to solve industry-specific challenges, while lowering the costs associated with deploying and managing information technology systems.

Modeled after a similar facility at Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters, it includes three servers and 10 workstations. Software developers can use the lab for as little as half a day or as long as two weeks at a cost of between $2,500 and $25,000. Such an investment, says Bob Kreha, managing principal at Xerox Connect, is a fraction of the cost of troubleshooting new technology in the workplace.

“It’s a boot camp approach,” says Brian Boruff, Microsoft’s general manager for the Pennsylvania district.

A three-month waiting list to use the Redmond lab spurred Microsoft to implement the regional version. Similar labs operate in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. The lab employs two project managers and two software developers from the Xerox Connect staff.

Ray Marano