Upcoming Microsoft server releases may drive hardware sales

Andy Moon shares his thoughts about SharePoint 2010 and discusses why he thinks Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 might be a boon for server sales.

Our organization uses SharePoint 2007 in production for document storage and management, shared calendars and task lists, blogging, wiki libraries, and discussion boards. I've been keeping up with the news about SharePoint 2010 so I'll know what to expect when we're ready to upgrade.

The beta version of SharePoint 2010 is available for download. It's rumored that Microsoft plans to release the newest version of the business productivity suite to manufacturing next month. The final release of SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 for business customers will be May 12, with the wider retail release set for June.

SharePoint 2010 was put through the paces during the 2010 Winter Olympics and appears to be ready for prime time. Also, if you have Software Assurance, Microsoft claims that your upgrade may be paid for already.

Since not many technologies compete with SharePoint, the result is slower innovation and changes that are more cosmetic than substantive. For instance, SharePoint 2010 includes a ribbon much like the one in Office 2007 applications, which allows faster access to the most commonly used commands, but it doesn't seem to have many additional features. I was hoping that the collaboration suite would have Silverlight and RemoteFX technologies to allow easier audio/video conferencing and whiteboarding (it feels cumbersome to have to open LiveMeeting for these functions), but I suppose we will have to wait for another version.

Although SharePoint 2010 looks quite useful, I would recommend to anyone who might ask to wait until SharePoint 2010 is out of beta for installation in a production environment.

Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 may be a boon for server sales

The timing for SharePoint's newest version works out well for Microsoft, which is rumored to be in the planning stages for its release of the first service pack to its latest version of its flagship server OS. Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 will surely drive new server sales as a result of Microsoft abandoning 32-bit architecture altogether in favor of the 64-bit version (read 10 reasons to consider upgrading to Windows Server 2008 R2). Don't underestimate the need for upgrades -- the recent economic woes have led many technology executives to put off upgrades; for instance, I recently wrote about an Intel executive saying that a third of the processors in operation today are over four years old.

My gut tells me that server purchasing will be ramping up over the next few months since it looks like budgets will free up a bit as the economy continues to improve. Many companies may wait for Windows Server 2008 R2 to release before taking delivery, but the new offerings from Microsoft seem destined to increase demand for beefier hardware.

What are your organization's plans?

Does your organization use enterprise content management software such as SharePoint? Will the new version drive hardware purchases for your business? Let us know in the discussion.

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