The Windows Server Notebook

August 23, 2012  2:43 PM

Microsoft refreshes logo in time for Windows Server 2012

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Not satisfied with releasing 2012 editions of Windows Server and desktop Windows to manufacturing, Microsoft has revamped its logo for the first time in 25 years.

In a post on Microsoft’s corporate blog, Jeff Hansen explained the rationale for the new logo, saying it “takes its inspiration from our product design principles while drawing upon the heritage of our brand values, fonts and colors.”

Reflecting the new design of OS (but don’t call it Metro) in its server, phone and desktop, the waving Windows flag is replaced by four square tiles. In fact, the logo might make one want to play the beloved childhood game or check in somewhere.

This puts another notch in Microsoft’s belt this summer.  It seems like every week this summer, Microsoft has divulged or announced plans for something new. The company is aware of that fact, too: Frank X. Shaw, vice president of corporate communications, posted on the company’s blog that the company is setting a “blistering pace.”

What do you think of the new logo? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServ

August 17, 2012  4:12 PM

After Windows Server 2012 RTMs, an organizational shift

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Microsoft reorganized the Server and Tools unit of the company this week, after completing the final code of that unit’s marquee products earlier this month.

The changes, first reported by Mary Jo Foley, reflect mostly title changes. Satya Nadella still leads the Server and Tools division.

Azure platform corporate vice president Scott Guthrie is now a CVP of program management within the division. Brad Anderson is also alongside Guthrie as a CVP of program management.

Jason Zander, who was the Visual Studio lead, now heads up development with Bill Laing as CVPs.

Bharat Shah is listed as the corporate vice president of test and engineering systems. Craig Fleischman is now the partner director of test and engineering systems (his old title? Just replace “engineering systems” with “operations”).

The Windows Embedded team remains in the Server and  Tools business unit, but moves under Ted Kummert in the Data Platform Group.

“The purpose of the reorg is to create a consistent engineering structure for improved alignment and faster decision making,” Microsoft told Foley.

Earlier this month, the company hit the RTM milestone for Windows Server 2012.

 Update: Per a statement from Microsoft, corrected explanation that Windows Embedded remains part of the Server and Tools unit, but leadership moves to the Data Platform group. 

August 1, 2012  4:23 PM

Windows Server 2012 hits RTM milestone, general availability September 4

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Microsoft said Wednesday Windows Server 2012 has hit the release-to-manufacturing stage of development and that it will be generally available on September 4.

All code is complete and being delivered to hardware and software partners this week, Windows Server lead architect Jeffrey Snover said in a blog post on the company’s website.

“It feels great to ship software that so squarely addresses customer objectives, both in the here and now and in the future,” Snover wrote.

The server product reached release candidate, its last major milestone, on June 1. Windows Server 2012 will be generally available nearly two full months ahead of its client sibling, Windows 8, which also hit the RTM milestone Wednesday.

Will you be adopting Windows Server 2012 when it comes out in September, or will you wait it out? Let us know in the comments or by Twitter @SearchWinServ.

July 11, 2012  4:16 PM

Windows Server gets access to new Azure services

Ben Rubenstein Ben Rubenstein Profile: Ben Rubenstein may only be able to give an accurate forecast for the next 10 days, but Microsoft has already given IT pros a hint of what to expect this fall: Clouds. Lots of clouds.

When Windows Server 2012 releases in September, it will come with tighter ties to the company’s Windows Azure cloud platform. During Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference this week in Toronto, the company announced that Windows Azure Web Sites and Virtual Machines – new features revealed last month – will be extended to Windows Server. The services, now available in a Community Technology Preview version, can be administered via a self-service portal that provides the same experience regardless of whether it is accessed on-premises or via the cloud.

To run the CTP, users will need to have at least four virtual machines running Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008 R2, as well as System Center 2012 SP1.

In other Windows Server cloud news, Rackspace, the hosting provider recently named the 2012 Microsoft Hosting Partner of the Year, announced that it would offer Server 2012 as a dedicated hosted server and as part of its Cloud Sites PaaS package.

July 9, 2012  3:18 PM

Microsoft: Windows Server 2012 to be generally available in September

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Microsoft hardware partners will receive the final code for Windows Server 2012 next month and the final version will be available in September, the company said Monday.

As part of its Worldwide Partner Conference held in Toronto, Jeffrey Snover, lead architect of Windows Server, said Windows Server 2012 will release to manufacturing in the first week of August. After that, “the product will be generally available to customers worldwide through multiple channels in September,” he said in a company blog post.

Microsoft previously hit the release candidate milestone in June, and Snover noted that the pre-release versions of the Server product have been downloaded over 500,000 times — a record number for the company.

Last week, the company detailed licensing information for Windows Server 2012 and announced the final editions.

Windows 8, the client product, will RTM that same week; however, this version will reportedly not be generally available until the end of October, according to Tami Reller, Windows Chief Financial Officer and Chief Marketing Officer.

July 3, 2012  3:50 PM

Quest’s Windows management tools now under Dell’s control

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

It was hinted at over the past few weeks, but Dell, Inc. completed its bid to buy Quest Software, Inc. on Monday. Dell will pay a reported $2.4 billion for the management software company.

Quest is one of the biggest Windows software vendors – it has over 80 freeware and comprehensive server management options – and its integration into Dell could improve the hardware-turned-hybrid company’s sales pitch.

Dell recently purchased Clerity software, which sells a suite of products to help with server consolidation. It also bought Make Technologies, which helps modernize server software. These two acquisitions, combined with the Quest purchase, expands Dell’s software portfolio.

One of Quest’s most popular trial downloads is ActiveRoles Server, which offers Active Directory account management. Quest’s other offerings include PowerGUI Pro, a PowerShell console for the command-line averse that helps with remote automation. It also sells a Recovery Manager for Active Directory and other products. And in June, Quest showed off its Quest Management Xtensions, which assist with mobile device management, at TechEd North America.

By offering Quest’s software at the point of sale with server hardware, Dell could have a unique sales strategy that its opponents don’t have.

According to IDC, Dell has 15% of overall server hardware market share as of Q4 2011, but it is trending upward, compared with declines from IBM and HP, the two leaders in server hardware.

When the purchase goes through, it remains to be seen whether or not Dell will consolidate or stop selling some of Quest’s products.

Are you looking to buy server hardware? Will Dell’s acquisition of Quest make you consider Dell? Let us know in the comments, by email or on Twitter @SearchWinServ.

June 28, 2012  2:19 PM

Microsoft accidentally deploys Skype using WSUS

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

IT admins using Windows Server Update Services got a surprise this week when Skype installed on some desktops.

The update to Skype, the Microsoft-owned voice and video chat service, was originally intended to be listed as an update for machines that already had it installed. Instead, it installed regardless of whether it was on the end-user’s machine or not.

Complaints flooded Microsoft’s forums and the company said it expired the update so it would not be installed. Other users also found ways to expunge the unwarranted application from the workstations with code.

Microsoft employee Doug Neal wrote “For those admins who still have this update, you may want to decline (not approve) this update.”

Did Skype show up on your workstations? How are you addressing it? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServ.

June 26, 2012  6:30 PM

Splunk App monitors Active Directory

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

This week, users looking to monitor Active Directory got another option. San Francisco-based Splunk, Inc., an application management and security company, released the Splunk App for Active Directory.

The free tool aims to monitor performance and collect log files; it will also record PowerShell data from DNS servers. The app contains dashboards for monitoring forest health, user logons and account lockouts, and change management.

The app currently supports all versions from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 R2.

Splunk’s tool is one of several in the Active Directory monitoring market. SolarWinds also offers a free permissions analyzer tool, and ManageEngine offers an AD Replication Manager, among others.

Have you tried Splunk’s Active Directory app? What Active Directory monitoring tools do you use? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServ.

June 22, 2012  3:34 PM

Who had the better week, LeBron James or Microsoft?

Ben Rubenstein Ben Rubenstein Profile: Ben Rubenstein
Which coveted item would you most like to get your hands on?

Which coveted item would you most like to get your hands on?

Even if you’re not a sports fan, you’ve probably heard that the Miami Heat, led by LeBron James, won the NBA championship last night over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The victory capped an impressive week by the much-maligned superstar, who silenced critics by finally stepping up when it mattered most. James led his team in scoring during each of its four straight wins, notching a triple-double in the clincher. He took home the Finals MVP trophy for his efforts.

Another big player had its reputation on the line this week, and also delivered multiple times. I’m talking about Microsoft, of course, which revealed plans for its new Surface tablet and Windows Phone 8 in two West Coast events. Both announcements marked the company’s renewed competition in areas where it’d been counted out by some. Though the Surface comes with some questions (including how it will impact partner relationships, how it will be managed by IT and, oh yeah, what it will cost), it could be a legitimate competitor to Apple’s iPad thanks to its light, thin body and innovations like an integrated kickstand and a cover that doubles as a keyboard.

Meanwhile, Windows Phone 8 represents a significant upgrade from previous versions of the mobile platform, with a new Start screen, a shared kernel with Windows 8, gaming updates and, crucially for enterprise IT, enhancements to security (secure boot, disk encryption), application deployment (a customizable company hub for internal line-of-business apps) and some level of device management.

Given that both the Surface and Windows Phone 8 aren’t expected to debut until at least the fall (no official release dates have been announced), and LeBron already has his trophy, this debate seems pretty simple. But Microsoft’s products have the chance to impact a multi-billion dollar market and revitalize a beleaguered brand (do I smell a new endorsement opportunity for King James?), so it’s worth asking the question: Who had the better week, LeBron or Microsoft?

Answer in our Facebook poll, or let us know what you think in the comments.

June 15, 2012  8:52 PM

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 CTP2 now available

Ben Rubenstein Ben Rubenstein Profile: Ben Rubenstein

Users of Microsoft’s System Center suite can now test out the management products’ compatibility with the latest version of Windows Server, as the second Community Technology Preview of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 was released today.

In addition to adding new compatibility features with the Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate, SP1 integrates with the recently announced Windows Azure virtual machines, which allow the movement of virtual hard disks to and from the cloud.

The updated suite includes updates to several System Center 2012 components, including support for the latest versions of XenServer and VMware vSphere in Virtual Machine Manager; support for Windows 8, Mac OS and Linux and Unix servers in Configuration Manager; and support for IIS 8 in Operations Manager.

Learn about all the updates and download SP1 on Microsoft’s website.

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