VoceMicrosoft celebrates the launch of the latest Windows
Server, SQL Server, and Visual Studio products with a global release party. The
events are intended to showcase the underappreciated IT professional with
their, “Heroes Happen Here” campaign. A nice touch for IT pros, whose work
often doesn’t get any attention until something breaks.

Windows Server 2008 brings enhancements in security,
manageability, and improved web platform in IIS. The virtualization solution,
Hyper-V will likely emerge as the biggest draw in the OS. As of now, it’s still
a beta and Microsoft promises to deliver the final version within 180 days of
Windows Server 2008’s release. 

One of Microsoft’s biggest challenges lies in persuading
firms to buy in to their server virtualization strategy. VMware has tremendous
mind- and market-share, along with a superior feature set. A major gating
factor for potential buyers is the investment level necessary to begin working
toward a Microsoft-based virtualization solution. Resiliency features like
Quick Migration are tied to clustering, a feature found only in the more
expensive Enterprise and Datacenter licenses. A majority of firms’ Windows Server population is
Standard edition, leaving Microsoft’s virtualization management product, System
Center Virtual Machine Manager, available only if customers license the entire System Center suite. Plus, the latter is a bundle only available if a customer covers it with
Software Assurance. Microsoft has a compelling story to tell in their holistic
view of managing physical and virtual infrastructure, but it wouldn’t hurt to
ease up on some of the barriers to help lure VMware customers to consider

Microsoft’s emphasis on server “roles” gives firms the
opportunity to deploy Windows Server 2008 incrementally to take advantage of
improved features like the new Terminal Services and IIS 7 without making large
scale OS upgrades across their datacenter. Microsoft is going to great lengths
to chip away at the “we’ll wait for SP1” mentality and accelerate customer
adoption with an improved logo program and readiness tools. These are a start,
but the proof will be in the early adopters’ experience and early feedback
before firms start to reconsider their cautious ways.

By Chris Voce

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