Time To Get SaaS-y

Rumors started this weekend that Microsoft is set to make a major Software as a Service (SaaS) announcement soon, perhaps detailing how nearly its entire portfolio of apps -- from ERP to Office -- will adapt to the Web.

The company may also detail plans to build a bunch of huge new datacenters, an announcement that seems geared toward Wall Street as much as IT.

And, in fact, it appears today that the rumors might be starting to come true: Microsoft this morning announced a new step forward for its SaaS initiative, Microsoft Online Services, with online betas of Exchange and SharePoint Servers.

Are you using SaaS? If so, for what and how is it working out? If not, what would it take for you to make the move? Write me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Vista on the Cheap
Microsoft last week disclosed plans to cut the price of boxed versions of Vista by up to nearly 50 percent.

Conspiracy theorists see a connection between this and the class-action suit claiming that machines labeled as Vista Ready are less prepared than a narcoleptic Boy Scout. I fail to see that connection, and instead believe that Microsoft simply wants to build a little Vista momentum. To me this move has very little meaning. I've argued from the start that users shouldn't upgrade existing systems to Vista, but should wait 'til they need to buy a new PC.

All the letters I've received from Redmond Report readers prove that point. Most of today's machines don't take kindly to the upgrade, and a lot of new machines with Vista fail to run Vista well. The advice from readers is to carefully spec out your Vista machine. Pick solid high-end hardware and you may just have a joyous Vista experience.

Just to keep things from being too easy, Microsoft actually has two logos: Vista Capable for low-end machines, and Vista Ready for higher-end units. I think I'll opt for Vista Ready!

Virtually Secure
Security for virtual environments is a problem many shops haven't fully addressed. But when you think about it, one hack can bring down a host of VMs -- not pretty.

McAfee has a new program -- actually more of a service -- that audits the security of your virtual infrastructure, including people and processes. Afterward, McAfee recommends technology to protect your shop.

Storage Guru Offers Reality Check
Like any community of vendors, the storage industry pumps out more hype than a Hollywood premiere. Jon William Toigo has seen it all, but as a true storage expert he easily separates fact from fiction, wheat from chaff, truth from marketing hooey.

This article he wrote is a fairly long read, but well worth it. Here are a few highlights for those with tight schedules:

Toigo, in mentioning the 10-year anniversary of the SAN, goes on to predict the death of fibre channel. I won't shed any tears. It never made sense to me to network storage with fibre and computers with Ethernet.

Toigo also predicts that Microsoft will have huge success in the virtualization market, and will "win the day over third-party virtualization wares."

Mr. Toigo sure ain't shy with his opinions!

Mailbag: Here an Ad, There an Ad...
Lafe asked readers last week what they thought about the growing convergence between advertising and technology. Dave thinks it's right up there with politicians -- among other things:

I think my list of the top five scumbuckets says it all:

  1. Rapists and child molesters
  2. Hackers and virus writers
  3. Marketers
  4. Hedge funds
  5. Politicians

-Dave

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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