Although what I am about to report may seem irrelevant to Windows Enterprise Desktop concerns at first blush, I plan to argue otherwise — and of course, that’s why I’m reporting about a current beta and planned upcoming release for Windows Home Server Power Pack 3. It’s popped onto my radar for this blog because of its planned support for Windows 7 and the time frame involved.
To understand why this might be of more than just passing or trivial interest, let me sketch some background. Windows Home Server is a special, pared-down version of Windows Server 2003 to which Microsoft has added drive replication, volume spanning, and comprehensive backup and media streaming support. It’s designed to run on small, self-maintaining boxes in households to add centralized backup and media support services for small-scale home networks.
By now, I hope you’re asking “What does any of this have to do with enterprise desktops?” The answer is: “Nothing directly, but recent prior history teaches that MS is taking Windows 7 very, very seriously.” More explanation: since its initial announcement in January, 2007, Windows Home Server (WHS) has seen two Power Packs released so far. Each of them took about a year to develop, beta test, and release. Power Pack 2 hit the streets in late March, 2009, and the beta for Power Pack 3 is already avaialable for download as of July 9, 2009 — less than three and a half months later.
I submit this is very strong evidence that Microsoft is granting Windows 7 extraordinary focus and resources, and determined to ensure its success in every way possible. Whereas they’ve been lax about catching WHS up with current tools and technologies in the past, preferring to wait for the Power Pack roll-ups to incorporate (relatively) new functionality when and as they get released, this time they’re aiming for day-and-date support for Windows 7 on the General Availability date.
To me this shows a very strong commitment to Windows 7. Strong enough, in fact, that they’re breaking with precedent and prior history in their updates to this increasing popular home product. MED-V already shows us that they’re planning strong support for enterprise deployment of Windows 7, and I expect we’ll see more tools, training, and information to help early adopters obtain a positive and successful deployment experience. Now, if MS could only do something to bump up the numbers reported in eWeek’s Microsoft Watch that only 17% of enterprises plan to migrate to Windows 7 within 12 months of its release…