Letters to Redmond

Letters@Redmondmag.com: Feb. 2007

This month, readers add to our list of free tools, and weigh in on virtual licensing and more.

There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
Here's an addition to Greg Shields' "Cool Tools that Rule -- and They're Free!" article [December 2006]: A utility I find helpful for a variety of tasks is Ultraedit (www.ultraedit.com). It's basically a text editor with syntax highlighting, macro capability, file-conversion tools (ASCII-EBCDIC), text-binary display and more.

It's very powerful and not very expensive (though not free).
Mike Hines
Lafayette, Ind.

Safety First
Regarding the November Reader Review ("Microsoft Virtual PC: Good Enough -- for the Price"), VMware and Virtual PC are just proof of concepts in the "safe" layer.

What we need is a boot environment before any operating system that does the job, either in the BIOS or bootstrap, which allows us to boot into profiles or OSes as easily as a user logon. A place where our hardware can be back in our control. Drives, memory, processors and networks could all be allocated to an environment and kept safe from other environments.
Andrew Muller
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

Creative Licensing
Thanks for the excellent article on virtualization in the December 2006 issue ["Can You Cash In with Virtualization Licensing?"]. I cover licensing for Directions on Microsoft, and it's always nice to see someone else tackling this difficult topic.

One thing that I might place more emphasis on is Datacenter (DC) server. The rules have changed a bit for this, and it promises even more economies.

Before, DC was licensed through special OEMs, but it's now available on the volume products list to run on any hardware. It's sold on a per proc basis and costs about $3,000 per proc. If you can get eight virtual machines (VMs) on one DC machine, the operating system licensing works out to less than $400 per VM, compared with about $600 per VM on an Enterprise Server where you get four "free" OS instances. When we're talking about eight VMs, we're talking about saving $1,600 per machine.

Another small angle on this relates to hardware vendors. VMs and this type of licensing opportunity could generate a lot of interest in premium hardware. In the case I just mentioned, I could spend another $1,000 on the hardware and still save money. However, I can't spend it on additional procs without incurring the cost of an extra DC license. So that's where the calculations can get complicated.

I can run a single edition of enterprise edition on eight procs, I believe, so if you need a lot of CPU per VM that could be cheaper. On the other hand, if you don't need a lot of CPU time per VM and can cram a lot of VMs on one high-end CPU, Datacenter might be the better choice.
Paul DeGroot
Kirkland, Wash.
[Ed. note -- Paul DeGroot writes the Directions column in Redmond's sister publication, Redmond Channel Partner.]

Defender Beta Flaw
I read Doug Barney's column ["Vista Flaw Found, No Surprise There," Jan. 2 Redmond Report Newsletter] and it's well enough talking about Vista, but my worries about security were enlarged by the notice on all of my Windows 2000 servers stating that the Defender Beta had finished and I should click on the link to update the software. What it didn't say was that you can't update. So, all of us using Windows Server 2000 of whatever flavor have succumbed to a marketing snafu. It's not as if it would be difficult to allow Defender to work, because it was working until that very second when the message appeared on the screen. Welcome to Dec. 31 indeed. And now what?
Paul Dickins
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

About the Author

This page is compiled by the editors of Redmond magazine from your letters. Write to us at letters@redmondmag.com and if your letter is printed in the magazine, you'll be entered into a drawing for a free Redmond T-shirt.

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