Windows 8

Five Microsoft apps that will change IT

Microsoft has some potential game-changers on the horizon that could dramatically affect the company's role in the enterprise.

Let me preface this article by saying that I don't believe that these are the only five upcoming Microsoft releases that will have a major impact on IT in the coming years. I specifically chose these products because I have some strong opinions on how they will help shape Microsoft's enterprise future.

1: System Center Configuration Manager 2012

In a former life, SCCM was known as Systems Management Server (SMS). With the upcoming release of SCCM 2012, Microsoft is introducing major changes to the product designed to enhance the end-user experience and streamline IT operations.

For example, in SCCM 2012, Microsoft is making the user the focus rather than computers. This really makes sense, particularly as users begin to rely on more and more devices. With SCCM 2012, as users roam between different computers, their applications can follow them.

To this end, Microsoft is also adding a better software portal to SCCM 2012. While SCCM has always had a concept of a portal, it wasn't very intuitive. With SCCM 2012, the software portal is a Web-based service from which users can proactively choose to install new software.

The big deal: These features are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what's new and good in SCCM 2012, but they demonstrate Microsoft's focus on the end user, which, along with initiatives such as BYOD and even VDI, are the continuation of a trend in this direction.

2: System Center Operations Manager 2012

For quite a while, SCOM has had availability monitoring for network devices, and there have been third-party tools that could get more detailed information from network devices. However, SCOM 2012 provides support for much more in the way of native device monitoring. SCOM 2012 offers the ability to discover and monitor network devices, including the various interfaces and ports on those devices. With SCOM 2012, you can go far beyond simple up/down monitoring in SCOM.

The big deal: Microsoft offers various System Center bundles that make the products available in affordable ways. Now, SCOM can be used for much more than it could before. SCOM has always been an outstanding monitoring tool for Microsoft environments. SCOM 2007 added support for some third-party platforms, and SCOM 2012 extends the infrastructure monitoring capabilities of the product.

3: Windows 8 client

Much has been written about Windows 8, and Microsoft is certainly making the product an emphasis in the coming form factor war. If Windows 8 works the way that Microsoft seems to want it to work -- and the market accepts it as a viable option outside the confines of the traditional computing space -- the product could revolutionize computing by allowing the same operating system and applications to run seamlessly across a wide variety of devices, including PCs, laptops, tablets, phones, and even gaming consoles. Obviously, Microsoft has Windows Phone 7 as another mobile option for mobile devices, but the interface similarities may help when it comes to widespread adoption.

The big deal: It's clear that Microsoft has an uphill battle ahead of it when it comes to the mobile space. If the company can get Windows 8 right, it could create massive opportunities for developers to get their applications in front of audiences on any device form factor they use.

4: Lync

I like Lync. The product has the potential to seriously disrupt the telephony space, and it adds serious unified communications capabilities to organizations that deploy it. Lync 2010 added a number of user-centric features, including the "me" area, which allows users to set their own status and track their own visibility. Lync also enables users to share individual desktops and to collaborate with other users. In addition, Lync includes audio and video conferencing capabilities and much more.

The big deal: Between Lync and Microsoft's Skype acquisition, the company is well positioned to own the voice and video space if it can execute well. Lync can be a full-fledged replacement for an existing PBX and makes person-to-person communication very easy via a number of different channels.

5: Hyper-V 3.0

Microsoft has gone on record to say that Hyper-V 3.0 will catapult the company's virtualization efforts and move it, in some ways, beyond what even VMware is offering. Hyper-V 3.0 will add the ability to perform multiple concurrent live migrations and introduces the new VHDX virtual disk format, a virtual fibre channel adapter and boot from SAN capabilities.

From a scalability perspective, Hyper-V 3.0 supports up to 160 logical processors on a host, as well as up to 2 TB of RAM. Guests will be able to support 32 vCPUs and up to 512 GB of RAM.

The big deal: Again, this is not intended to be a complete Hyper-V 3.0 primer. However, this is another instance where a combination of circumstance and feature gap closing may help Microsoft. VMware has, in the opinion of many, made some serious errors in its new licensing schemes. This may provide an outstanding opportunity for Hyper-V 3.0 to begin to supplant VMware in some environments. Hyper-V 3.0 will begin to erase some of VMware's feature lead, which may help this process along.

What do you think? Will Microsoft supplant VMware in any significant way?

About

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

56 comments
stranger around
stranger around

but i think these apps will make employee retirement hhhhhhhhhh

open_source_user_01
open_source_user_01

No way Windows will ever be secure, it is a quagmire of crummy code paved over with glossy icons.

alienviewpoint
alienviewpoint

oh Come on; revolutionary? SCCM and SCOM? has the author ever had to use it? They're too damn tweak intensive. You spend all your time fixing them rather than the problem. many non-ms products that are better,,,but revolutionary?..NOT Hyper-v 3 could really be good and give VMWARE a run, but hardly revolutionary.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

In regedit you can export the registry file from any program in the computer to the desktop.So my friend paid the big bucks for the total package of Ducks Deluxe.I sneaked into his computer room and got a copy of the reg file.I downloaded the Demo and I'm free.The registry is all BIOS settings.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

You can download and install the software program VBox for free.It allows you to go through the exact procedure of an OS installation.You put your disk in and off you go.At VBox's easiest you just keep clicking without much reading.Defaults are just fine.It will run the install even with an ISO.If VBox had ISO as one of their file types you could make your install with your own installed programs.When I install Windows it would have Paint Shop Pro already to go.Some back up programs allow drive cloning.This is an exact copy of the install on the hard drive.Active Boot Disk is the absolute best for back up and restore.I use the pen drive version.That way the back up is not done from the working hard drive.ABD restores in such a short time that I erase,random,and restore every day.You might need to install a driver to detect your drive even for erase.This function is at their Start button.Random erasing a drive gives your computer,especially your controller card,a good work out.Big blocky things that work is me.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

What I want to do is install the operating system to the SD card in my Dell Vostro.A non hard drive computer.But I know that when I reach that install page Windows will not let me do it!Maybe it's an SD card driver.So I must seek alternate methods.With the OS in the SD card I could change operating systems almost instantly.I suspect that that might have even been Dell's idea.In the end some kind of file will boot a computer.You could try to duplicate their method but again it wouldn't work.The engineers that designed the computer will tell you on their best day that a computer is supposed to run any exe as a stand alone right from boot up even from a floppy.There are some surprises in software so I'm steadfast.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

There's a lot of different formats here for basically the same idea.An installed operating system in a single file.There are some programs out there that will allow you to boot to a vhd file even from a pen drive.Easy BCD is supposed to be able to do this but I haven't been able to master it yet.You plug in the pen drive and even with no OS on the hard drive you can boot to a Windows OS.Win Builder is a program that you can use to design your own CD.USB boot OS.But I couldn't get it to work.Something about the Win Builder program that I actually downloaded from their site not being authentic.Why couldn't I just copy/paste the vhd to the hard drive and have it boot from there,that's what it does in VBox and VMWare,will always end up in a dead end code argument.I still like computers don't get me wrong.In layman's terms would be best.

dogknees
dogknees

Since when are operating systems considered "applications"? Surely amongst ourselves we can use the right terminology even if the general public don't understand it.

shagnik
shagnik

I have watched the hoopla surround Microsoft Products for the last 12 years and I agree with the comments made above. Microsoft would be better served by making its existing applications lighter, backward compatible and cross platform available than by developing new apps.

Gisabun
Gisabun

I would of figured that SharePoint would be in that list before Lync. After all, it's SharePoint that is a recent cash cow. Yes. SharePoint 2010 isn't new but the next edition [comes out with the next version of Office] will be out sometime shortly after Win 8.

johncymru
johncymru

should the author assume unless one expects a multi page article covering every item mentioned to sufficient depth especially considering that the site already has numerous articles about the items mentioned. If you don't already know what any of them are, then it is likely that you don't need them, or, at least if you can't be bothered to use the search feature on here then it is likely you don't need them. All I have to do is highlight a phrase, right click, and I get a whole list of results to search from, including search only this site if I choose my search Techrepublic option.

rakhithadias
rakhithadias

Windows 7 has shown that Microsoft wants to get their act right. They now know the benefits of supplying a good product. I believe MS want to get their act wright and want to shut their criticts up for good. Coming form Scott that Hyper V is catching up with VmWare that is something to reckon with.

vezycash
vezycash

Microsoft needs more fans and not necessarily new features. If virtualization is a big deal for them, they should buy Vmware and integrate it tightly into windows instead of trying kill their company. That is the way Google does business and allows it to grow without stepping on too many toes. This would help their stock price far better than any other thing that they may try.

cybershooters
cybershooters

At least you were smart enough not to say Office 365! I think on Lync the tough one is convincing people to trust a computer server rather than their crappy old PBX, which may be crappy but the upkeep is relatively simple and it provides redundancy when the IT system has problems. Generally speaking you don't have to patch a PBX every month. But I don't think any of these qualify as "revolutionary". Even Windows 8 is just a way of getting Windows on more devices, but it's on those devices now if you really want it to be. System Center and Hyper-V really only matter to a significant degree in large organizations, given that most companies are small companies, hard to see how these things will be "revolutionary". Helpful, yes.

muttjp
muttjp

Although I am impressed with the steps that Microsoft is taking with Hyper-V 3.0, I am not a fan of Hyper-V in large scale implementation. Licensing agreements are of course an issue. I think I will stick to my VMware for now. ???Will Microsoft supplant VMware in any significant way???? I don???t think Microsoft will be able to supplant VMware, but instead slow there growth, and keep VM from dominating the market.

chrisw_magpie
chrisw_magpie

I wouldn't say Lync "disrupts" the communications space. More like pulls it all together! When we demo Lync Server to potential clients, they get excited about adding people into conversations, switching from IM to voice, etc. They like the flexibility. Another thing we've found (we're IT consultants) is that telling clients about the Skype integration helps put them more at ease. Lync is sometimes seen as an enterprise-only platform. Mentioning that Skype is coming appears to reframe it as available to mid-market and some smaller businesses. Definitely a big advantage.

CFWhitman
CFWhitman

These apps will change IT? That seems rather over the top. It implies that these apps are all revolutionary, and that is not the case at all. 1. System Center Configuration Manager 2012 - Nice improvements, but hardly revolutionary. 2. System Center Operations Manager 2012 - Well, it's good whenever a Microsoft product stops pretending that non-Microsoft software doesn't exist. Usually, though, this seems forced at best, or an embrace, extend, extinguish ploy at worst. This may be improved, but again it is not revolutionary. 3. Windows 8 client - At last we come to an app that at least comes closer to trying to be revolutionary. The problem as I see it with efforts along the lines of Windows 8 (and Unity and Gnome 3) is that the same user interface for desktop computers and smart phones or tablets just doesn't really make sense. Desktops aren't touchscreen only devices, and there is no reason to make them so. Reaching out to touch your desktop screen is less efficient and more tiring than using a mouse and keyboard. The advantages to a touchscreen device are that you can hold it in one hand and use it with the other and that you maximize the screen area while minimizing the size by overlaying the screen with the controls. These are great advantages for portability, but not for efficiency at a desktop. The reason that touchscreens haven't taken off as desktop input devices is because they don't work as well as a mouse and keyboard. 4. Lync - Well, the advantage to Lync as I see it is not that it contains anything revolutionary, but that it tries to wrap up several technologies into one. It's great for Microsoft, and there could be some advantages to the enterprise because of the unification, although as I recall price is not one of them. Again it's not revolutionary. 5. Hyper-V 3.0 - Well, another virtual machine software is hardly revolutionary. Microsoft has a long way to go to convince me that Windows is the best underlying operating system to be a virtual machine host. Most of the advantages to Windows as a server only come into play when it is the operating system providing the services to Windows clients, or in other words as the virtual machine operating system, not the host operating system. What's with some of the ratings? It looks like some Microsoft astroturfers came in and voted comments up and down a while back. I'm not saying they're all unfair, but the Microsoft cheerleader post being top rated? Really?

cant_drive_55
cant_drive_55

I don't think they will supplant as much as slow growth of VMWare. if HyperV is a viable product, then most new implementations will likely be on HyperV instead of VMWare, due to cost, training, licensing, hassle, etc. I use only HyperV in the SMB space. I support 80 clients and all configs that need virtualization go on HyperV. There is no compelling reason to use VMW...

1ronman
1ronman

Don???t take me wrong...I think Microsoft rules the world and has it going on, but they are truly pirates when it comes to software licensing. The following two lines translate into "bend over" in terms of software licensing costs! 1. "as users roam between different computers, their applications can follow them" and 2. "a Web-based service from which users can proactively choose to install new software". Consider the following scenarios: 1. so a user has Visio installed on his desktop, he connects using his windows tablet, SCCM installs Visio. Later he connects using his laptop and SCCM installs Visio there too. Now instead of having one license that I paid 200$ for, I have three. 2. Same user is on his lunch break and poking around the Web Interface (he would have to be on his lunch because no one goes exploring on the web during work hours right?....Anyway, same user looks and says "hmmm...Microsoft Project....Wonder what that does? I'll install it and see. Now I also have three copied of another expensive MS product that I need to pay for. Perhaps there are management features that Scott Lowe didn???t mentions that allow you to prevent the 2 scenarios above. An authorized approver step for #2 and a "NO! We won???t do that technology for #1.

klompenmaker
klompenmaker

Sure, there will be well developed code that makes incremental improvements on existing applications, but the apps will be challenging to implement and have steep systems requirements, so be sure you upgrade your hardware to accommodate the bloat. Let's have a look at this bit: "bundles that make the products available in affordable ways." Translation: Microsoft's convoluted, multi-tiered, obfuscated licensing and audit model that deliberately makes it difficult to determine if you're purchasing the right license for your implementation while Microsoft plays "gotcha", as Mr. Ballmer so clearly stated in London in 2009: "There may be fine print that sometimes is a gotcha that's deliberate and sometimes it's a gotcha that our people are finding...I don't anticipate a big round of simplifying our licences," That was said about Windows 7, but it applies here as well. I'm not a Mac user, but I admire Steve Jobs's business philosophy: "concentrate on products, not profits." That's what created the innovation that so characterized the company he led. Companies like Microsoft (and we could name more, like a certain database company with a famously mercurial CEO) have a different philosophy: Profits are not everything; they're the only thing. The stockholder is the customer, not the companies and people who buy the products. They're just revenue commodities, prey to be devoured.

jlindner
jlindner

It's MS brain washing over and over again. Pay us $ and our newer product will be better, (we think and hope). The ehtical thing to do would be to provide free upgrades to old OSes so their software works the way it should. They are just making money off of incompatible versions that moron companies don't want to update.

rduncan
rduncan

Does it say - Technical analysis of Microsoft Tools? The question is will these technologies (which are simply listed- AD??) supplant VMware.

A. Silva Ledesma
A. Silva Ledesma

This is just advertising can only appear in a newspaper unskilled, but not in our TR. Microsoft has good tools that should have its own technical analysis here. advertising or what?

blondeix
blondeix

Dear Scott Lowe, I appreciate your attempt to communicate that a new Microsoft product will be available. I made the effort to read the full paragraph but I still do not understand what this SCCM will be doing for its users. I am ready to accept that the end-user experience of this mysterious thing will be so much enhanced and this will only be the tip of the iceberg. Nevertheless, the marketing speak makes it difficult to see clearly why I would need this functionality. Could you please give a more developed specification of SCCM? Best,

rduncan
rduncan

I am OS agnostic and don't actually align myself to an ethos, or treat the way in which software comes to market as some kind of rite of passage. the gains Microsoft has granted systems administrators on a Windows domain in the last 5 years have been many. The Systems Centre servers are great and Powerful- not to mention Powershell as a sweet nut on top. Much better all round- well done MS!

javerwokie
javerwokie

OK it's time to slag Microsoft off again because it's not as good as Linux or any other OS BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH------------- It's very easy to dimiss everything that Microsoft produces as rubbish and other products are better but if there so damn good why aren't we using them on the same scale as Microsoft products !!!! I like windows 7 and Server 2008 and I even use Hyper-V and look forward to Windows 8 if Microsoft get it right it will be fantastic to use one platform accross PC's, tablets, phones. Long live Microsoft and all that sail in her.

ng_au
ng_au

I would have thought that Opalis would have been in the list as M$ has only had the last 18 months to "wreck" it :)

david533941
david533941

"because I have some strong opinions on how they will help shape Microsoft???s enterprise future" and the problem is that your strong opinion blinds you to the reality that Microsoft's competitors are not standing still

nwallette
nwallette

We use Lync. Formerly we had a Jabber-based IM system. I really liked the flexibility of being able to choose my own client. The Lync client is a hog, and doesn't even have spell-check. (*sigh*) But the communications options (IM, voice, video, even VoIP if you're set up for it) are nice. Like you said, it's a bundle and that's good. There are better options for each piece, but no better option for all of those pieces. I kinda wonder why the frequent internal product competition though. We started rolling out OCS then suddenly it's all about Lync now. OK, fine... New server, new clients, new protocol... What's going on here?

mbrown
mbrown

Why do you assume adding touch capability excludes using a mouse or other pointing device? I use and have written applications that can be used by a touch screen or a mouse, whichever the user wants. We also use the same applications running on desktops and touch screen tablets on our forklifts without any problems.

jhlusk2
jhlusk2

on comment 5 you show that you don't really understand how Hyper-V works. Windows is not the underlying operating system, just like Linux is not the underlying operating system for VMWare. They are both Hypervisor based which means there is a slim OS optimized to host VMs (the hypervisor) that all of the VMs, and the console OS's operate on. That way the console OS is treated exactly the same as the VMs in terms of resource sharing, etc.

bbeckers
bbeckers

I have been doing some research on SCCM, and here is what I have found out: SCCM takes care of the licensing issues. Properly configured, it will "manage" the licenses so that a user cannot have the application running on two different devices at the same time. And for the second scenario, users are not allowed to just "willy nilly" install whatever they please. They still need to be given permission and have a license key "issued" to them in order to install. I'm not 100% certain, but I don't think a user can even see software that they have not been authorized to use. If I have any of this wrong, I welcome corrections.

corcorac
corcorac

While I agree with you on the Microsoft Licensing Model being obtuse and over complicated, please don't us Apple as a good example especially on the product pricing. If Apple had priced their hardware in at least a comparable range with that od the other manufacturers, we'd be a Apple shop now. But as we can buy two MS based machines to one Apple we are now married to Microsoft

Gisabun
Gisabun

I'll assume you saw the title. It said nothing about end users., 4 of 5 applications list are more for the administrator than end user.

darkon1365
darkon1365

That is exactly correct, from working in the industry (only on the Web Server side, both Unix based systems and Windows based systems), I can say for sure MS has been making more and more improvements over the years with their products. The biggest issue had always been rushing products to market prior to them being even close to ready and they have even slowed down on this poor practice. Overall MS has made vast improvements in their OS from top to bottom and also in their company and how they work with their customers. Keep it up MS, keep pushing forward in the right direction.

darkon1365
darkon1365

Ok, maybe I missed it, it is early and so far a harsh start to the day, but where the heck did he say that MS competitors are standing still? I seem to have missed that comment in this article all together some how.

CFWhitman
CFWhitman

I don't assume that adding touch capability excludes using a mouse or other pointing device. However, any particular interface is either geared for touch use or geared for mouse/keyboard use. If you make one that is geared one way and try to use the other method of input, you quickly discover that the interface is not all that friendly anymore. Touchscreen geared interfaces seem overly simplistic and inefficient when you are using a mouse and keyboard. Mouse/keyboard geared interfaces seem crowded and annoying (or downright frustrating) when you try to use a touchscreen with them. Limited use can be OK, but extensive use just becomes annoying.

nwallette
nwallette

So wrong. Linux IS the underlying OS to VMWare. (Assuming ESX / ESXi?) Windows is in fact, likewise, the underlying OS to Hyper-V. I haven't used it for some time because it never made sense to me that your hypervisor should be set up as a usable (application-bearing) OS itself. The mentality is such that it just seems like a me-too product to compete with VMW as a way of allowing virtualization (which MS will not be able to forbid successfully) while recouping the licensing costs that they've been missing out on. Not a very pure ideology if the product, and its performance, are your primary concern.

CFWhitman
CFWhitman

The hypervisor for the stand-alone version of Hyper-V is still based on the Windows kernel and is essentially a stripped down version of Windows Server 2008 with no GUI and none of the other normal server services. There is of course also a version which is part of a full install of Windows Server 2008. Hyper-V is the same software running on the same kernel either way. (Edit: This isn't precisely accurate; see the following two posts.) Of course there is also an edition of VMWare (Player) which runs as an app atop Windows or Linux, but it is a bit different than the hypervisor version.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

They are still playing catch up to VMWare and I didn't see anything in the article that provides more capability than VMWare can. Bill

rpollard
rpollard

Your company, just like mine cares more about cheap products than quality products that last and are easier to maintain.

ricardoc
ricardoc

Don't take me wrong but the author of the article can't assume every one that will read his article will know what SCCM or SCOM are. People sign up for newsletter or news services exactly to keep up with stuff that otherwise will take a lot of research somewhere else. There are IT specialists that have so much to do, sometimes not even related to MS products that they do not have the time to spend browsing what's new and what those products are and do. So what they do is to check the news hoping that someone else (an IT tech new writer for example) will simplify and do an overview of those technologies for them. If you are aware and know every bit of MS products, I say congratulations, good for you. But don't assume every one else have to know about them the way you do. IT knowledge is so vast there is so much you can know about it. Thanks,

CFWhitman
CFWhitman

After doing further research, I see that Microsoft doesn't ever actually reveal what technology the hypervisor layer itself is based on. The management for the hypervisor is all done with Windows Server 2008, which as you said, runs on the hypervisor. It's always the parent OS. It's unclear what kernel architecture is used for the hypervisor itself, whether it's based on a stripped down NT series kernel or a completely newly developed kernel.

iamelixir
iamelixir

The hypervisor is not a stripped down version of windows server. Its a completely seperate layer that the kernal, among other services sit on top to manage access to the hardware. This is why the hyper-v version of windows server is called hypervisor-based.

rduncan
rduncan

...supposing supposing three men where frozen. I know what you mean- but I was politely pointing out where to get information on the various products- if that indeed is what is being sought. I took the posting as how MS are positioning themselves in the enterprise with a birds eye view of the products mentioned. -In complete agreement about the vastness of IT- another point worth considering is Microsoft's eagerness to help us all learn the various products, the Microsoft virtual labs are a great feature- and free

dogknees
dogknees

.. Why not do some research. Are we to assume people not only know nothing, but are incapable of (or unwilling to) change this state for themselves?

nwallette
nwallette

Out of all the monitoring software available, both open-source and commercial, SC*M is hardly the best at anything. Certainly is priced like a real contender though. If I had to choose between WSUS and SCCM, I'd pick WSUS until the organization got large enough that it was no longer feasible. Then, I would pick a dedicated 3rd-party patch distribution product. SCCM is way too cumbersome. MS's own product line, end to end, and that's the best they can do?