MS-Net, sometimes stylized as MS-NET, was an early network operating
system sold by
Microsoft during the earliest days of local area
MS-Net was not a complete networking system of its
Microsoft licensed it to vendors who used it as the basis for
server programs that ran on MS-DOS, porting it to their own underlying
networking hardware and adding services on top. Version 1.0 was
announced on 14 August 1984 and released along with the
PC/AT on 2
April 1985. A number of
MS-Net products were sold during the late
1980s, before it was replaced by
LAN Manager in 1990.
MS-Net's network interface was based on IBM's
definition, which allowed it to be ported to different networking
systems with relative ease. It did not implement the entire NetBIOS
protocol, however, only the small number of features required for the
server role. One key feature that was not implemented was NetBIOS's
name management routines, a feature 3rd parties often added back in.
The system also supplied the program REDIR.EXE, which allowed
transparent file access from DOS machines to any
MS-Net based server.
Several products from the mid-to-late-1980s were based on the MS-Net
system. IBM's PC-Net was a slightly modified version of the MS-Net
system typically used with Token Ring. MS partnered with
produce the more widely used
3+Share system running on a 3Com
networking stack based on the XNS protocol on Ethernet. Other
well-known systems, including
Banyan VINES and Novell NetWare, did not
MS-Net as their basis, using
Unix and a custom OS, respectively.
They did, however, allow access to their own files via the REDIR.EXE.
MS-Net was sold only for a short period of time. MS and 3Com
collaborated on a replacement known as
LAN Manager running on OS/2,
using the new
Server Message Block standard for file transfer. 3Com's
version of the product retained their XNS-based protocol, but 3Com
abandoned the server market not long after. MS's version remained
NetBIOS and supported a number of underlying protocols and
LAN Manager was itself replaced in 1993 by Windows NT 3.1.
IBM PC and PC-Compatible NOSs Compared", U-M Computing News, Volume 2