Letters to Redmond

Reader Letters, Nov. 2012: Perils of Self-Service VMs

Readers weigh in on a recent article on VM self-service.

In his October Windows Insider column, "VM Self-Service: Right Feature, Wrong User," Greg Shields discussed self-service VMs and their capacity to make admins nervous. He wrote: "Self-service needn't get you sweating when you reconsider its intended audience ... IT itself." Readers respond:

I thought this was obvious. Obviously not! Giving tech-savvy users and IT staff a way to spin up a VM, test their new software patch and destroy the VM when they're done has to be a good thing.

Wayne Hoggett

This article neglects certain aspects that put admins ill at ease. (It isn't only end users getting access and using it incorrectly that makes us nervous.) My biggest concern -- and the one I hear most often from admins -- is that users never destroy the VMs, even as they go unused. Moreover, each of these "used" VMs continues to eat up licenses, disk space, compute resources (if left on) and more, with no real way to prevent these excesses. Chargeback systems, if implemented properly and rigorously, could limit such excesses, but that's rarely the case when dealing with private clouds. Departments see VMs as virtual money that doesn't really cost the company anything. It seems that only when VMs are outsourced with actual payouts does VM resource hogging come into play.

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The Name Game Goes On
In her October Foley on Microsoft column, "Mastering the Microsoft Name Game," Mary Jo Foley shared her running list of Microsoft product name changes. A reader makes an additional suggestion:

You could possibly consider Windows Home Server in the Windows Server Essentials rebranding as well -- although it's a bit more than just a rebranding.

Jim Wooley
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Windows 8: More Than a 'Dot Release'?
In "Beyond the Hype: Why You Should Consider Windows 8" (Decision Maker, October 2012), Don Jones argued that Windows 8 is not a new desktop -- instead, he wrote, consider it "a dashboard, not unlike the Windows Sidebar of Windows Vista or the Dashboard in Mac OS X."

I agree with Jones' premise, but I disagree with a lot of his article. Windows 8 could be considered a dashboard, but even better would be to think of it as a flat start panel (and it should never have been made full-screen for desktop users). But I disagree with Jones' assertion that "Windows 8 is very much a 'dot release' of Windows 7, in many ways, which was itself a 'dot release' of Windows Vista."

Even without the "hoopla" about the OS that Jones mentions, businesses would still be excited about it. One huge feature that will make certain businesses and departments drool is the inclusion of a client-side hypervisor. This allows developers to spin up, install, run and destroy full virtual networks without waiting for the infrastructure department to set up the services and servers for them.

Windows PowerShell integration is another big improvement that means admins can create script libraries to manage everything (not unlike batch scripts), and run them on any authenticated machine on or off the network. Sure, that was available before, but it needed to be installed previously -- something not every user was willing to do if IT didn't do it for them. Now it's a non-issue; it's just there.

There are other improvements as well. All of them make Windows 8 far more than a "dot release," in my opinion. It's probably the biggest addition of business functionality in a single release since the release of Windows 2000. It's too bad the OS is mired in all the bungled advertising about tablet interfaces and social integration that no one in business particularly cares about -- and that consumers will reject unless they find their own reasons to embrace it.

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This page is compiled by the editors of Redmond magazine from your letters. Write to us at [email protected] and if your letter is printed in the magazine, you'll be entered into a drawing for a free Redmond T-shirt.


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