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Microsoft Rolls Out Windows Embedded Services

Microsoft on Monday announced a new services capability that's part of its Windows Embedded Server product line. In addition, the company plans to roll out additional support for developers working on embedded systems.

For original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and partners, Windows Embedded Server now has a Software plus Services capability that currently works with Microsoft's management products, enabling device diagnostics and maintenance support.

For instance, Microsoft's partners can use the Microsoft System Center Operations Manager solution to monitor Windows-embedded devices. In addition, they can use Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager for remote maintenance of those devices.

The Software plus Services capability in Windows Embedded Server offers options for Microsoft's partners, and possible revenue streams.

"For a lot of OEMs, the trend is they may want to build system network solutions," said John Doyle, Microsoft's group product manager with the Windows embedded business. "Embedded servers can also be used to store data, which can be used to predict failure times or improve business efficiencies," he added.

For instance, OEM partners can monitor robots using Windows Embedded CE in factories. The monitoring and data collection can be used to help prevent those devices from going down, Doyle explained.

Also on Monday, Microsoft announced two upcoming perks for developers of Windows Embedded products: a new Visual Studio subscription option, along with a new update service.

The subscription option, called "MSDN Embedded for Visual Studio Professional 2008," will be offered in July. It's designed to help developers select the right tools for the job, providing access to Microsoft operating systems and technical support specialized for device-development tasks.

The new Visual Studio subscription option represents Microsoft's shift from delivering a "static toolkit" to device software developers, Doyle explained. Certain Visual Studio subscribers will get the new services automatically.

"If you subscribe and you already have an MSDN subscription above the premium level, then the tools will automatically come available to you in the July timeframe," Doyle said.

The second perk for developers is expected to appear in the first half of 2010, when Microsoft plans to roll out a Windows Embedded Developer Update Service. The updates will provide partner technology support, device drivers and board support packages.

"With Windows Embedded Developer Update, we will have a client that will reside on the developer machine," Doyle said. "So within the developer experience using Visual Studio, that [client] will connect up to a cloud, a new Microsoft service, where we will present a catalog of information, which includes partners' or Microsoft's updates, new components or advanced components, and also Microsoft- or partner-certified content."

Developers face making a lot of decisions about technologies when programming for embedded devices, Doyle explained, which is why Microsoft is rolling out these two services.

Microsoft offers a number of embedded operating system products, which are described here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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