Tech•Ed 2007 Showcases Growing Adoption of Windows Server 2008
This week at Tech•Ed 2007, the buzz is all about 2008.
As in, Microsoft Windows Server 2008, the new server platform formerly code-named “Longhorn” that is due out later this year. With the public beta version of Windows Server 2008 less than two months old, already more than 150,000 copies have been downloaded, and partners around the globe are hard at work creating solutions that take advantage of its new feature set.
Nowhere is the breadth and scope of this burgeoning ecosystem more apparent than in Orlando this week, where more than 250 partners are filling the Orange County Convention Center to display their wares.
“For the IT pros, business decision-makers and developers here at Tech•Ed in Orlando, this summer is all about Windows Server 2008, and the next versions of Visual Studio and SQL Server,” says Patrick O’Rourke, senior product manager in the Windows Server group. “We are seeing tremendous support for the platform and a lot of excitement around the opportunity it represents for the industry.”
Today Microsoft unveiled a new logo program for Windows Server 2008. The logo program reduces the cost of certification by 50 percent for ISVs, and provides a comprehensive suite of new tools to help them achieve certification. It is also designed help customers select software applications. Several early adopters of the Windows Server 2008 logo program are showing off their certified and in-process technologies at Tech•Ed.
New Logo Program Works for Customers and Developers
Last month at WinHEC 2007, Microsoft released results of a commissioned profile from IDC showing the economic impact that Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 could have on the U.S. software economy.
The profile predicts that for every dollar of revenue Microsoft will earn next year from Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, the technology ecosystem beyond Microsoft will reap approximately US$18 – selling more than $120 billion in products and services around the two products.
With so much development activity expected, the company today launched a new program to help make things easier for the end customers who will ultimately decide which solutions should power their businesses. The Windows Server 2008 logo program is designed to give both customers and developers a clear way to identify top-performing technologies.
“Windows Server 2008 logo certification brings significant value to all parties,” says Steve Bell, senior product manager in the Windows Server group. “The program is a valuable tool for customers to help choose solutions for their enterprise, as well as for developers looking to create the best possible solutions on Windows Server 2008.”
The program features two designations – the “Works with Windows Server 2008” designation ensures that an application is in compliance with best practices for the most common Windows Server 2008 functions, while the “Certified for Windows Server 2008” logo supports rigorous standards for stability, security, reliability and overall performance.
While maintaining a high standard for certification, Microsoft has ensured that the new certifications are also more achievable for a variety of reasons, according to Bell, allowing a broader spectrum of ISVs to obtain certification. The test duration has been shortened from previous programs. A second authorized test agency, WiPro, will join incumbent Veritest to provide better geographic coverage for testing services. And Microsoft has also added a suite of downloadable self-assessment tools to help partners gauge compliance-readiness in a matter of hours instead of days.
The Certified for Windows Server 2008 tools are located on the ISV and IT Pro development portal at innovateonwindowsserver.com/learnbuild.aspx/. For the first time, Microsoft has provided certification utilities for Windows Server as a free download. These are the same utilities that third-party test vendors will use to qualify applications for certification.
“With a combination of utilities to be run in-house, more than 200 pages of certification test cases incorporated into the certification utility, and pre-testing services, which are now available, certification is now more like an open-book test,” says Bell.
The idea behind all these resources, according to Bell, is to help ISVs more easily target their design to the Certified for Windows Server 2008 requirements. In addition, a new “precertification” test also gives ISVs an affordable, efficient way to identify potential issues before actually entering the certification testing – giving applications a better chance to pass the first time around.
“Between the tools on the Web site, the precertification test, and the fact that we’ve been able to cut the actual test duration in half without any compromise to quality we’ve reduced the overall cost of getting certified by roughly 50 percent,” he says. “And the best part, there’s plenty of time, guidance and assistance available between now and the launch of Windows Server 2008 for ISVs to be proactive about achieving certification.”
Windows Server 2008 Unlocks New Potential for IT
Windows Server 2008 creates a wealth of new scenarios to benefit developers, IT professionals and business users, and at Tech•Ed this week, ISVs from all over are getting a chance to show what’s possible with the new product.
Many software vendors have already begun developing applications to meet the certification standards. Citrix Systems, Lieberman Software Corp, nSoftware, Port80, Quest Software, Ultrabac and some initial offerings from Microsoft are all on display in Orlando this week.
“We are exceeding our initial expectations for ISV participants in the Certified for Windows Server 2008 early access program, which is a testament to the excitement amongst partners for our products and the value we place on their input,” says Bell. “The number of participating ISVs is growing at a rate of 50 percent per week and there have been hundreds of downloads for the Certified for Windows Server 2008 utility tool.”
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Citrix Systems is certifying its Citrix Presentation Server product to take advantage of one of the top scenarios for Windows Server 2008 -- presentation virtualization, decoupling of the application presentation layer or user interface from the client machine. This scenario enables secure access to almost any type of business application from any network-connected location, using Windows Terminal Services.
According to Citrix spokesperson Nabeel Youakim, vice president and product line executive, the combination of Windows Server 2008 and the new logo program is helping prepare Citrix for its next generation of Presentation Server.
The new Certified for Windows Server 2008 logo program provided all the guidance that Citrix needed to test and certify applications during their participation as early adopters of the Windows Server 2008 beta, putting them in a position to be on the market with their product as quickly as possible after Windows Server 2008 launches.
“We’ve been working with the Windows platform and Microsoft customers for years to deliver applications to users anywhere they’re located, and while doing so, offering customers the best performance, highest security and lowest cost,” says Youakim. “We’ve always been able to offer these capabilities to our mutual customers, and with Microsoft’s certification program for Windows Server 2008, we will ensure that Presentation Server will continue to meet the high bar required by the enterprise. Windows Server 2008 and the new Terminal Services will provide enhanced security and stability features, allowing us to offer new capabilities with Citrix Presentation Server.”
Apart from Windows Server 2008’s many enhancements for remote access, control is also easier in the enterprise with new IT management tools, such as the Windows PowerShell command line environment.
According to O’Rourke, many third-party developers are taking advantage of Windows PowerShell to put even more capabilities into the hands of IT pros. One partner showcasing its solution on PowerShell at Tech•Ed this week is Quest Software, which has released the market’s first Active Directory micro-command and developed a new graphical user interface – “PowerGUI” – that essentially gives the capabilities of the new PowerShell environment to any IT administrator, even if he or she is unfamiliar with the new scripting language.
“PowerGUI is a user interface that utilizes the PowerShell engine, that helps the IT administrator easily view and run existing PowerShell scripts or simple, small commands called ‘cmdlets,’” says Quest’s Alex Binotto, product manager for the PowerGUI product. “The PowerShell cmdlet is a verb and noun separated by a dash, such as ‘Get-Process,’ and the power behind them for developers is that cmdlets can be combined to perform complex tasks. When you combine a PowerShell cmdlet and PowerGUI, you get the ability to create a management console with no programming required.”
According to Binotto, this model is highlighted if the customer is running Windows Server 2008 with a Server Core installation – Since the Server Core has a simplified footprint, there are no administration tools installed in this scenario.
“Quest fills the gap here with our Active Directory cmdlets that allow Active Directory running on such a system to be managed,” Binotto says. “Many administrators are managing Exchange 2007, which uses PowerShell extensively, so now they can use our Active Directory cmdlets and PowerGUI to manage both Active Directory and Exchange side-by-side. Quest is the only ISV to provide this powerful functionality today.”
Other improvements with Windows Server 2008 include enhanced security and policy enforcement, and vast improvements to web hosting through the revamped Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0, Microsoft’s next generation Web server.
IIS7 is designed to be a completely modular, extensible Web server with expanded application hosting, providing compatibility and reducing management complexity for Web infrastructures.
On Monday, Microsoft announced that, in response to customer and partner feedback, it will add IIS 7 to the Server Core installation option of Windows Sever 2008. Server Core is a security innovation in Windows Server 2008, offering customers and partners a reduced attack surface area of the server OS kernel, resulting in a more robust and secure server environment with reduced servicing requirements. By enabling IIS 7 on a Server Core installation, customers can now optimize the security and performance of their Web infrastructure.
For Web hosters such as CrystalTech Web Hosting and Newark, Del.-based HostMySite.com, IIS 7 provides a cost-effective, highly scalable Web server for delivering reliable Web hosting to a broader set of customers. IIS 7 helps to lower costs by providing a new, scalable shared-hosting architecture that is capable of hosting thousands of Web sites on a single server without sacrificing isolation or reliability.
These and other select hosters deployed IIS 7 into production before the official release of Windows Server 2008 under the Go Live license for IIS 7. This free license to deploy IIS 7 early is now available to all customers at www.iis.net/goLive.
“Windows Server 2008 has a small footprint on the web server, which provides us the ability to manage more sites per server,” says Monish Sood, director of marketing at HostMySite.com. “Web services are more stable and secure because of the way IIS 7 manages individual application pools. Also, the remote administration tool empowers developers to adjust individual web-site and application settings to suit their needs, which helps to decrease the total cost of ownership and number of calls to our support center.”
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