Redmond Nabs Ex-Lotus Exec, Gains Bigger Cambridge Presence

Over the years, Microsoft has picked up a number of top software minds from rivals such as Borland (Brad Silverberg, father of Windows 95) and Lotus (Bob Frankston and Ray Ozzie come to mind).

The latest hire is freelance graphics creator Reed Sturtevant, who'll remain in Cambridge. Here's where it gets interesting: Reed will report to Jack Ozzie, who reports to his brother Ray. Sturtevant will work on new concepts for all Microsoft product groups, kind of like Microsoft Research except directed at real product development (a lot of Microsoft Research is pure research).

This hire is a classic Gates move. The chairman has always been interested in hiring the best brains, and has even bought entire companies to get the people; the products and technology were secondary.

Counting Down the Security Top 10
Symantec just released its annual list of the year's top 10 security concerns, and while it's clearly not as funny as David Letterman's nightly list, for IT the Symantec list is far more useful.

Things you probably need to think about include securing virtual machines, figuring out what to do about Vista and dealing with an increasing barrage of virus-laden spam.

One big issue is the commercialization of hacking. There are more and more "hacking kits" for sale, and one company is even selling vulnerabilities to the highest bidder. Sick.

Wireless Data Taps into TV Spectrum
I love my BlackBerry -- well, I'm not impressed with its Web browsing and the coverage could be better, so "like" is a better word -- especially its ability to tether to my laptop and give me Internet access when I'm on the beach or in a bar (don't tell my boss, OK?).

But while coverage is getting better, there are too many bars and beaches where I can't connect, or get a connection slower than a 300 baud Radio Shack Model 100.

The United Nations (probably as frustrated about this as I am) is hoping to solve this problem, and will now let wireless service providers use parts of the TV spectrum. The goal is to have worldwide wireless data access by 2015. I'm not sure I can wait that long.

Mailbag: Your Thoughts on Virtualization
After Microsoft clarified some more details about its hypervisor -- formerly code-named Viridian and now dubbed Hyper-V -- Lafe asked readers for their thoughts on virtualization. Here's what some of you had to say:

Here at our large financial company, we see all types of VM usage including VMware, Citrix and MS Terminal Services. For running VM Windows servers, VMware is our standard and rightly so because most of the software vendors we work with certify their software on VMware. I'm betting the vendors will be slow to certify Hyper-V for running their software, and who's going out on a limb for application support without certification? Cost will not be a factor in a move away from VMware. As for Citrix, we mainly use it to access fat clients running on a server, not for server virtualization. Again, many vendors will only certify their clients to run either standalone or within Citrix. Once large companies set a standard for virtualization, they will be hard pressed to switch to something else because of price.

My prediction is that Microsoft will be slow to capture any VM market share even at $28 per license for Hyper-V. The marketing approach also appears to be confusing as to which editions and how many of the server products are required. Also, I hear there are some serious constraints as to how many processor cores can be used or support for live/hot resources. While Microsoft is playing catch-up with the competition, VMware and Citrix are sure to be working toward further improvements. Also, doesn't Microsoft have an unfair advantage at the $28 price range, since it also owns the OS and can package it together?
-Joe

As a VMware and Microsoft partner, we have found that overall VMware provides a better cost per virtual machine plus migration capabilities. However, I hoped that you would include a reminder of the ridiculous virutalization restrictions M$ has put on its products in regard to migrating between physical hosts. Microsoft actually wants each physical host licensed for the SQL/Exchange or other instances that may be run on it even if the virtual machines are running on other hardware. Customers who are used to the one instance, one license model are in for a rude awakening.

I hope that all Microsoft clients using VMware would let the company know that these new restrictions are unacceptable and somehow get the company to change it. Simply put, why do I need to have an Exchange license on a physical server that isn't running any copy of Exchange either on the physical hardware OR in a virtual instance? I should not need one!
-Herb

I have been playing with virtualization for quite awhile (I actually paid for MS Virtual Server J). For getting more comfortable with virtual layers and such, I would probably lean toward Virtuozzo because of the one true OS running, and many virtual layers on top of that. They came out with a much better price point for small businesses a while back ($2,000 or so to get started on a single server, rather than $20,000 unlimited usage).

Playing with Symantec's new SVS makes Virtuozzo a little more trustworthy. I was kind of scared of what could possibly happen when one OS got corrupt, etc. Also, you are limited to running the same OS as the host server for guests; but since MS re-thought its licensing after Windows 2003 Server R2 (up to five guests per license key, last time I looked into it) things have been looking better. We're a mostly MS shop, as far as OS goes, so the limitation on Windows OS would be fine by me since I run it all myself with a desktop support dude at my side.

For now, though, we just run MS Virtual Server R2 SP1. I would try ESX Server if we had an iSCSI SAN set up, and it weren't so costly. I can't really qualify the expense since seven to eight servers do us fine and, at $2,000 apiece now for enviro chipsets, why bother? Maybe one day, I will get more than two servers to go virtual. That is after we get the whole SAN set up, and serial ports can be virtualized or linked to specific server. I only see virtual OS being useful when the storage area network is in place, and we are not in need yet, but when the next server replacement cycle comes (if and when we move to Exchange 2007 from 2000), I will look at a iSCSI SAN (Dell is looking better, for a cheap SAN anyway) instead of RAID controllers in each server.
-Phil

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

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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