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Top 7 News Stories for IT Pros from Microsoft's Partner Conference

Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference is wrapping up today in Los Angeles. While the focus of the event is what Microsoft is doing to make its partners happy, Redmond didn't shy away from sharing news that those without a shiny gold or silver sticker need to know. Here are the top stories IT pros can take away from the event:

  • The Final Countdown for XP Support
    Microsoft took some time during the conference to say the days of XP support are numbered to 1,000 (as of Wednesday's announcement). While the exact date of XP's demise is news, it shouldn't be surprising to anyone that Microsoft is calling it quits on an OS that is two generations behind (three if "Windows 8" gets a release before the clock hits zero).

  • SQL Server 'Denali' Gets a Third Preview and SQL Server 2008 R2 Receives SP1
    While not technically a WPC announcement, the update to SQL Server 2008 R2 and the availability of Denali CTP3 were brought up numerous times during multiple keynotes. When speaking on the release of the preview of Microsoft's newest SQL Server, Robert Wahbe, Microsoft's corporate vice president for server and tools marketing, touted that it has "literally zero security vulnerabilities." Let's hope this holds true.

  • 'Windows Server 8' Spotted
    If you blinked during the session titled "Realizing Your Opportunity in the Cloud," you could have missed a quick sighting of Microsoft's next-gen server, codenamed "Windows Server 8." While details are scarce, the hardware was demoed running 16 virtual servers at full capacity.

  • Dynamics CRM Online Gets Pumped Up
    News that Dynamics CRM will be getting new integration features with Office 365, datacenter support and cloud compatibility tools were buried in a speech that primarily dealt with Dynamics CRM paid benefits for partners. Also siphoned from the partner-heavy keynote was word that it will also be receiving a handful of new feature enhancements.

  • Azure Appliances Quietly Fades Into Background
    While making a big splash at last year's WPC, the datacenter made little noise at this year's event. That could be because Ray Ozzie and Bob Muglia, two big cheerleaders of the Appliances, are no longer working for Redmond. However, in an interview with Jon Roskill, Microsoft's corporate vice President of the Worldwide Partner Group, he said Dell, Fujitsu, HP and eBay are still on board for crating appliances for the company's cloud solution.

  • System Center Orchestrator 2012 To Get a Tune-Up
    The automation system for datacenters got its beta release last month. Hot off the heels of its availability, Microsoft is shooting for a release candidate to drop sometime in the next few months. Look for new integration packs for the complete line of System Center 2012 releases when available.

  •  More Visibility for System Center Operations Manager 2012
    A comprehensive overview of IT root resources will make it to the final version of the infrastructure monitoring product when released sometime in the second half of this year. It is also adding visibility options for those running Linux and Unix environments, and a failover feature that is triggered when a management system is lost.

Missed any of the WPC coverage, including all the partner-related news we're avoiding? Head over to Redmond's sister site, Redmond Channel Partner, for its complete coverage of WPC 2011.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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