Posted by: Ed Tittel
Building Windows 8, Windows 8
BW8 is a common abbreviation for Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 blog, an occasional source of insight and information about the upcoming new desktop OS from the wizards of Redmond. After a 20-day hiatus (from March 28 to April 17 — the longest gap between two posts for BW8 on record so far), posts resumed last Tuesday, followed two days later by another one with the following titles:
- April 17: “Reclaiming memory from Metro style apps” by group program manager Bill Karagounis, from the Windows Performance team
- April 19: “Managing ‘BYO’ PCs in the enterprise (including WOA)” by program manager lead Jeffrey Sutherland, from the Management Systems group
I’m very glad to see BW8 back in action, with some interesting posts on some key concerns about how the new OS manages memory, and how best to maintain control over personal computing devices that employees and contractors are increasingly inclined to bring “on the job” with them to work.
Reclaiming memory from Metro stype apps
An explanation of how Windows 8 manages memory for Metro style apps that are suspended and not in active use. Here’s a key statement from this post “…whenever Windows  detects memory pressure on the system, it will repurpose nearly all the memory that suspended Metro style apps would otherwise hold onto. Windows 8 can reclaim this memory without having to terminate an app” (emphasis from the author). There’s even a nice video that uses Task Manager to show how memory usage adapts to overall machine workload for suspended Metro-style apps. Essentially memory pages are queued up to be written to disk when memory pressure occurs, then “tricked out to disk” to prevent the IO from impacting other processes, and gotten out of the way in the background. I like to think of it as private, app-level memory management for Metro-style apps, which is way cool. The blog post backs up the video with a nice set of diagrams and explanations, and is worth a quick once over.
Managing BYO PCs
This posting is well worth reading, and makes some interesting points. First and foremost, the post discloses the development of “a new management client that can communication with a management infrastructure in the cloud to deliver LOB [Line Of Business] apps to users” (emphasis Sutherland’s, who also promises that this capability will be covered in more detail in an upcoming System Center blog). There will be a client-side agent built in to Windows 8, ready to interact with an organization’s management infrastructure, with a Metro-style app called the self-service portal (aka SSP) that users employ to find and install LOB apps visible to them. This post also explains how BYO devices connect to the management infrastructure, how settings policies are established, used, and managed, how LOB apps can be managed and controlled, and more. Very interesting!
And again, I’m glad to see BW8 back in action, and find myself looking forward to further posts soon.