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As Windows 8 Nears, the Server Is More Dear

This week Microsoft gave the IT community two gifts:  nearly complete versions of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

Here's what Microsoft did: It releases a "release candidate" (RC) of Windows Server 2012 and a "release preview" (RP) of Windows 8. That's right, two names for the exact same thing -- nearly complete software! How dumb is that? Is Microsoft just messing with us?

Windows 8 and its Metro interface will get all the attention, but Windows Server 2012 is the real workhorse. This puppy is the thing that will be in all back rooms, keeping all the key operations running. In many cases it will be serving up virtual Windows 8 sessions.

We are looking at Windows Server 2012 in the July issue of Redmond and find an awful lot to like. I edited the story just yesterday, and without giving too much away, there is a new more resilient file system, the ability to team up NICs more effectively for better throughput and stability, better use of storage through deduplication and smarter storage transfer options.

Is any of this as sexy as a touch screen and tiles? Maybe not. Does it get the hard work of IT done? You bet.

On the Win 8 side, the release preview, which I'm sure a whole heap of you downloaded the second it was available, has a mess of new items. This thing is getting closer and closer to release, and the closer it gets the more life I see in Windows 7.

I think Windows 8 will be a surprisingly strong and good OS. But it is so different that few will migrate away from Win 7 (or XP) any time soon. It will be more like an iPad, where Win 8 machines will be used in addition to what it already in the shop. I don't see desktops making the shift or most laptops.

Then again, I am just a humble observer. I always stand to be corrected by the experts in the field which is the sometimes loyal but always vocal base of Redmond Report readers.

How will Windows 8 play in your shop? Set me straight at

Posted by Doug Barney on 06/01/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Mon, Jun 4, 2012 Max Orlando

After looking at the third public release of Win8 I'm a bit less negative than I initially was. The system does seem to work nicely. However, to be honest, there's not really anything compelling about the system that would make upgrading a desktop system from 7, or XP for that matter. I have a slightly better understanding now how the Metro apps work and there's some value there, particularly if you'd be running a tablet device. The Metro tiles don't stay flat and static ... once an application has some content in it the tile generally displays a synopsis of it: so the front-end does change as you use the system. It's not as ugly as I originally saw it. Still ... to rebuild an existing Windows 7 system just to get a tiled "Start" menu and Metro apps? That's a lot of work to retool a system just for that. As an experimental user I like to play with such things but if I were asked by anyone I know whether I recommend that they go through that on a desktop system. I just don't think so right now. It's looking better, and would probably be fine on a new system but the existing desktop user base is going to be hard-pressed to migrate to it.

Fri, Jun 1, 2012

I wonder if Win 7will stop being licensed once Win 8 hits the streets thereby forcing all new purchases/upgrades to Win8? I expect that's the next news we'll hear... BSD Unix is looking better all the time.

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 Tom S NY

Yup, Win 8 likely will not see life on my desktop/laptop. Give me back my start button, allow setting a default desktop, return Aero to the non-Metro desktop and leave Metro in the Metro desktop. I've always fought the good fight for and defended MSFT, but this time I think they've gone off the deep end. Also my understanding is that the removal of Aero from the classic desktop is not slated to happen until the next release (RTM?), and so the current release prev still has Aero aspects I think (haven't seen it yet).

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 IT Manager Central NY State

Win8 appears DOA for my stores. I've tried to be open minded but this thing just doesn't make sense for PC's & laptops. It is ugly. It is optimized for small form factor touch screens, right after I've worked so hard to give my power users 2 big, beautiful 23" monitors to enhance their productivity. Who know that they'd need all that desktop real estate just so Microsoft could fill it up with ugly, monocromatic icons. When I want to use a touch screen device, yes, I want a simplistic interface for that dedicated purpose. When I want to do real work, I use my PC! Come on, Windows 9!

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 Kevin Fox California

Nothing I've seen about Windows 8 makes me want to use it as a desktop/laptop OS. The crippling of the desktop and the veneer of Metro make it a bad choice for Enterprise or consumer users who want to be productive. I agree that it will do well and is a good fit for mobile devices and appears to be a good competitor for iOS and Android. Just not PCs.

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 JasonP Alabama

The more I read, the more it sounds like "Windows 8" should be more accurately be called "Windows Mobile 8" as it does not seem to be a replacement or successor to Windows 7. With the exception of tablet PCs, it doesn't look like there is a realistic migration path for 90% of users from 7 to 8.

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 Loretta New York

Since we are currently In the process of moving our users to Windows 7, we will not move to Windows 8 anytime soon. We skipped Vista & oerhaps we will wind up .icing to Windows 9? Windows 8 will only make it into our organization by way of tablets, which I'm looking forward to.

Fri, Jun 1, 2012

Running through the latest Win8 release today. I can kick myself for spending over $400 back when the Developer Preview was released for an Acer hybrid to play with it. Forgetting how much I despise the Metro UI on a large form factor, the first hurdle I see is apps. Win8 will RTM in 3 months and the app store shelves are pretty much bare. Then there's Microsoft's head-scratching pig-headedness of not allowing users to configure Win8 (e.g., no default desktop mode, no start button option, most of the harsh colors/crap backgrounds are there to stay) cheeses me off to no end - okay, I can't forget how much I hate Metro!. The only good news is, despite reports of Aero's death, I still see 'chrome' transparencies in classic desktop mode. Now let me go figure how to uninstall of the Microsoft Metro crapware like Bing Finance and Bing Weather. Sigh.

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