Microsoft Re-Announces Windows Server 2008, Viridian and System Center

Microsoft has a PR machine that J-Lo, Paris Hilton and the Bush administration must all envy. The company can get journalists (like me) to write about an upcoming product -- and then get us to write about it again (and again).

Here's how it works: Word sneaks out about a major new tool, and we all run to our keyboards. Then Microsoft doles out a few official details -- and we pound out a few thousand more stories. Later, Microsoft actually names the product, producing more copy. After almost all the details are known, it officially announces the product. And once the product is finished, there's a huge launch. No one wonder competitors have a hard time getting their message out!

Today in Barcelona, Microsoft announced (and I quote from the headline of the press release), "Windows Server 2008 Details." What's new here is pricing and a final set of version types. Product details should be well-understood; the product is in heavy beta testing.

Microsoft also made a virtualization splash, officially naming its Viridian hypervisor "Hyper-V." This tool could be as much as a year away.

But virtualization isn't as simple as dropping in a new version of PowerPoint; this is a fundamental infrastructure decision. In many cases, there's more planning than actual virtualization, which makes it imperative for Microsoft to offer as much detail as possible.

Is all this coverage too much? How should Microsoft announce its products? Write me at dbarney@redmondmag.com and let us all know.

VMware Adds Mac Punch
VMware's latest announcement wasn't as big and broad and futuristic as Microsoft's but for Mac users, it's probably way more important.

The company's latest rev of VMware Fusion for the Mac works with Leopard and supports DirectX 9.0 on an "experimental" basis. It can also create virtual machines out of Vista Boot Camp partitions.

And the new VMware tool is shipping!

An Almost Patch-Free Patch Tuesday
Last week, a computer luminary (let's call him Mark Shavlik) asked me over a lunch of chowder and butterfish (we live well here at Redmond magazine) what was going on with security. I dabbed the cream and clam juice from my beard, which gave me time to think (I was stalling).

I know security is the biggest issue but, like with the 9/11 attackers, we just aren't afraid anymore. On the Microsoft side, the older products are becoming legacy and have been patched so many times they look like a Three Stooges car tire. The newer products, so far as I can see, are more secure out of the box.

This is all a good thing. Hackers are like violent political/religious extremists: They do it for the power and publicity -- kinda like Paris Hilton! Let's not be afraid of any of them. When a virus circulates, block it, delete it and go on with your life. When extremists release a video tape, how about we keep it off the 7 o'clock news -- they aren't important enough. And let's never ever again call them "terrorists," as this gives them power they don't deserve. And the next time Paris crashes her car into a West Hollywood sushi bar in a mini-dress, let's use those cameras for real news, shall we?

I've clearly lost my train of thought here, so let's get back to the patch news. Tomorrow, Redmond will set forth a mere two patches, one for XP and the other for Windows Server spoofing attacks. You might even get away with sleeping late this Tuesday.

Is security less or more of a problem today? Let us know by writing me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Redmond Hires Supercomputer Supergenius
Microsoft has been working quite well with the world's top scientists on solving big problems: disease, hunger, global warming and open source (I made up that last one). A lot of this has to do with harnessing computers to massage massive quantities of data.

I wrote about this in two different articles (here's one and here's the other) and came away impressed.

As cool as all this is, though, I worry that Windows clients are falling behind hardware, with multi-core advances and revolutions in graphics every fortnight. So I wrote a far more distressing article about that.

Maybe Daniel A. Reed can help. Just hired by Microsoft as director of scalable and multi-core computing, Reed has a great track record in academia, and currently serves as director of the Renaissance Computing Institute in North Carolina.

My fear is that Microsoft sees this as a server/cluster/high-performance computing problem. But multi-cores are made for more than climate modeling, 3-D rendering and deciphering the human genome. Our laptops and desktops are going multi-core, as well. This is the area I'd love to see Reed attack.

Worry-Free Used PCs
PCs these days are so cheap, we usually don't bother buying them used. And if we do, we often worry about flaky hardware, food-filled keyboards, whether Microsoft will still support the OS and if we can reinstall it in the inevitable event that the old machine refuses to work.

Microsoft has an answer. Those that sell used machines in volume can get licenses from Microsoft in bulk, which means these machines will be supported and eligible for updates and fixes, service packs, and security software such as Windows Defender.

I'm a bit puzzled by the plan. Microsoft will only sell licenses (these are XP licenses) if the machine has a certificate of authenticity. If so, Microsoft will sell a license with a new certificate of authenticity. If it's already authentic, why would I need a new license and certificate?

The only thing the Microsoft press release didn't detail is the price of the refurb license. If the new licenses are cheap and supported, it might be a decent deal after all.

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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