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Imperfect Mobile Management With Windows 8

I'm both old enough and lucky enough to remember Windows NT. I watched as it mopped the floor up with Netware. Many thought Microsoft broke every antitrust law in the book to do so. I might have agreed until I remembered the very first demo of the server operating system. I thought it odd that the interface was identical to the Windows desktop interface. It was that familiarity and interoperability that ultimately made NT a better fit -- at least in my estimation. Novell experts are welcome to define me as the dummy I may be at columnist Brien Posey was looking forward to a similar deal with Windows 8 clients where all the clients are managed the same way -- easy as pie. Posey was stoked.

Then Brien learned the ARM version is different enough that it has to be managed differently. End users won't likely notice. To them, Metro on Intel and ARM are the same (except for the battery meter).

To IT the management makes all the difference. Win 8 on Intel is the same as in the past since it can be joined to domains, can be managed by Active Directory and includes tools such as System Center 2012.

Win RT, the unnecessarily different name for what should be Windows 8 on ARM, doesn't work with AD. Instead, Microsoft is pushing the cloud-based Windows Intune. Let's assume Intune is the best thing that ever happened to management. Microsoft is still asking IT to buy, learn and support another tool if they want Win RT devices in their shops.

Posted by Doug Barney on 07/18/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 BWJ Texas

So, what I really read was that MS is not really supporting Windows on ARM and they do not want it to go very far. Poor decision on MS's part. "Cloud", however you define it, is more and more competetive, but on premise will not go away any time soon, mainly because when you put your data in the cloud, you trust someone to take care of it and lose a whole lot of control.

Mon, Jul 23, 2012 Chrus

Ugh! Getting IT staff to learn and use one management tool can be difficult enough. (Especially when it's SCCM 2007, which is not very intuitive) I hope Rob is right that this will be fixed down the road. Kevin...I don't disagree that cloud-based management is the future...but why not dive in 100% and develop a cloud-based System Center suite that manages both? SCCM 2012 is different enough from 2007 as it is, so this would've been a great opportunity to shift 100% of SC management to the cloud, yes?

Thu, Jul 19, 2012 Thomas Lee UK

I find this bad news. What should be Win8 on a new device now turns into something far different. IT departments are already saddled with 'do a whole lot more with a whole lot less' and now have to figure out another method of managing devices. This, IMHO, shows that MSFT has lost touch with the entperise as it seeks to reinvent iteslf as a consumer company (ala Apple). MSFT has forgotten where all the real cash comes from (hint it's sure not from consumers yet).

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 Chris

Had the better product ... Novel HAD the better product and I have fingers that can't type right. And without good management capability, I will not be ordering any tablets for the company. However, with the capability to manage them through AD, I could see tablets replacing many of the low power laptops for certain staff.

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 Chris

I'm also old enough to remember NT, including NT 3.1. I also remember Novel, back to Netware 3.12. I've been around the field for a while. Windows NT certainly did not "mop the floor" with Netware. In fact, I am convinced Novell has the better product. Sadly, Novell shot itself in the foot with miserable customer service. The best product will still fail if customer service is poor. Another good example is Nortel. Good products that I replaced with Cisco for one reason; customer service. This should be a lesson to Microsoft. If they focus on customer service, I will not only be installing Microsoft Server 2012, but Server 2022.

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 ibsteve2u Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

About time for someone to run a TCO projection on a Windows-centric shop with mixed Windows versions and devices (and the apparent resultant need for mixed management approaches) versus a Linux shop, ain't it? A realistic one that lays out what a representative shop across a broad swathe of industries needs to provide its customer base and then totals the projected licensing, internet access, and hardware costs? Me, I'll never be a "cloud" man for the simple reason that there is NO evidence to support the hypothesis that corporate ethics are getting stronger over time - and further the evidence to date insists that the decay rate of corporate ethics appears to be compounded by both size and distance-from-the-customer. And my career has been such that I have a great reluctance to "just trust" some other entity with "stuff" I KNOW I could ensure was kept secured if I merely ensured no other entity could access it. So to people like me, the additional costs for "things Microsoft" that keep sneaking in make the TCO question ever more pertinent. Again.

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 Rob Tampa

Big Miss, I foresee a patch in Server 8 to include W8RT in it's AD tools. MS will hear too much backlash to ignore this strong arm tactic.

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 Patrick Michigan

This is an easy one... don't buy ARMs W8 tabs. Ha, I mean compare this to Android or Apple tabs, they both require other tools to management and the UI is completely different (and Android is complete different within the versions and skin UIs). Corporations use Windows mostly for a reason and that reason is that they are business oriented OSs. W8-RT (and yeah, I agree with you on the name) is not, its a consumer device/OS.

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 Kevin Griffie

I think cloud-based management, like Intune, is the future and we need to think of Win RT as a forward looking OS which made a clean break from the past. Windows 8 Pro is obviously necessary, but its primary purpose is to support legacy desktop applications and legacy authentication/authorization/management environments. But, I agree asking shops to support legacy and future-looking models is a lot to ask.

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 Mitchel Weinberger United States

Big bummer.

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