Gartner (and Barney) Wrong About Vista, Redmond Right

I love to laugh at people who are wrong, even when it's me. In this case, I was wrong by agreeing with Gartner, which was horribly wrong. The wildly famous research company predicted that Vista would be late and not ship until spring 2007 or so.

After seeing so many delays, I figured this was as easy as guessing that Britney would ditch K-Fed the very week his CD and tour bombed. Gartner was wrong. Vista is done, or in Redmond parlance, has been "released to manufacturing." Instead of just being finished, it's RTM. Can we make the simple any more complicated?

If you are a major corporate customer, the real deal will be downloadable any day now!

Virtualization, Round 2
Microsoft went to the enemy's camp and made an announcement at VMworld this week, but Microsoft's announcement of the Virtual Hard Disk Test Drive is not exactly a blockbuster. Test Drive is a bunch of test software, including third-party tools, that show off the virtues of virtualization. Oh, this is just like what VMware did 12 or so months ago!

VMware isn't above mimicking the success of others. VMware Lab Manager sounds uncannily similar to what Surgient and others have been up to for a while -- using virtualization to develop and test large software deployment before they are actually deployed.

Windows CE Six Times Better
I had the misfortune of using Windows CE devices twice, and both experiences were awful. One was an oversized, overweight Palm Pilot-wannabe that ran through batteries as fast as the interface wore out my patience. Another was a great-looking subnotebook that froze up more than an agoraphobe at a Toastmasters meeting.

Now that Microsoft is on version 6.0, I might just give this another whirl, as it usually only takes Microsoft two or three tries to get it right.

Windows Embedded CE 6.0 isn't so much aimed at handhelds and the like (that is now the purview of Windows Mobile), but will power set-top boxes and other dedicated devices.

Developers may be interested to know that apps can be built with Visual Studio 2005, and that qualified developers can get access to source code in an almost open source way.

Microsoft's Bright Storage Future
What do applications like Word, Excel, Exchange and especially SQL Server produce? Data. And what does one do with data? Why, store it, of course.

And what does storage produce? Money!

The storage software market includes backup, replication, mirroring, high availability, hierarchical storage (also know as ILM), archiving, storage virtualization, SANs, NAS and, oh yeah, restore. I'm sure there are a couple dozen categories I forgot.

Microsoft, I'd guess, has the categories all memorized, including the average annual revenue and trailing five-year growth for each area.

Redmond is slowly getting into the storage market. As owner of the OS and some of the bigger data-producing apps, this makes a lot of sense.

Leading the charge is the Microsoft Universal Distributed Storage plan, an attempt to bring Windows-centric standards to the storage market. And if you've ever tried to get fibre channel arrays from EMC to work with Network Appliance NAS boxes and talk to an Intel iSCSI box, you'll welcome any move toward standards. And if you end up shelling out a few dollars for Windows Storage Server of Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, so be it.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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