Windows 7 next year?

An article on Techmeme is suggesting that Windows 7 might have moved forward a year and arrive sometime late in 09.  Whether this is true or not who knows, but from my perspective as an enterprise customer it would make some sense – and probably make my life easier in the long run! 

Selling a Vista migration to the people who will pay the bills is proving to be quite a task.  The business isn’t overly interested in what OS we choose to run, only that they have the applications they need, can use them where they are and that they’re nice and speedy.  This makes Vista rather a hard sell, especially considering the work needed to assess and fix Vista compatibility for application portfolio of some 1600 apps.  That’s not to say Vista isn’t a great product – I’d have migrated six months ago if it was up to me.

Bringing Windows 7 forwards would provide businesses with a renewed incentive to move away from XP.  It’d assume it’ll include a whole bunch of new functionality to further improve on Vista (mobile working, deployment etc), and I’d guess will also provide improved support for some MS’s S+S initiatives – something we’ll be looking at in a lot of detail this year.

The problem for MS is that a quicker release would be effectively writing off Vista for any big corporate’s who haven’t already started their Vista migration.  Certainly if the move is true I would doubt we would do much work towards a vista, we’d delay those projects by six months to include Windows 7.  Having said that, those same large corporates are going to have enterprise licensing so they’ll probably be paying for a ‘desktop’ not the version of windows that’s on it.  Interesting stuff…

Clouds everywhere

I had an interesting conversation with a buddy of mine yesterday about his PC.  It started out as one of those ‘hey Tom, you know about computers, what should I…’ chats.  He’s basically filled up his hard disk at home and wanted to know how he should upgrade.  We were looking at the prices of hard drives, and then at new PC’s so he could turn his current one into a server, then I mentioned Windows Home Server, and so on…

We came to the conclusion that it didn’t really make sense for him to buy local disks any more.  He’s got a wireless router, so there’s network infrastructure.  He’s not doing anything that needs disk performance so speed isn’t an issue.  And the cost difference between him buying a couple of big disks to RAID and a Home Server was small enough that he’d rather go the Home Server route. 

I’ve done network storage at home for years, but that’s because I’m a geek and used those servers and an MSDN account to learn stuff.  With Home Servers and things like Skydrive now making networked/cloud storage a realistic option for people at home, thinner computers like the Macbook Air make more sense. 

S+S

I’ve been following the MS Software + Services stuff for a while now, and a post by Steve Clayton yesterday got me thinking about it again.  Skydrive and Office Live Workspace seem to me to be great little products, and free ones at that.  With Broadband now common place at home and services such as the Three mobile broadband now offering proper ‘anywhere’ connectivity targeted at consumers, cloud services now really make sense. 

How does this relate to work?  Well having worked within big SharePoint deployments and knowing first hand the amount of effort it can take to get a working solution for a big company, the idea of SharePoint Online really appeals to me.  For the most part MOSS deployments are centralised, so for most users it’ll make little difference whether their docs are in our data centre or Microsoft’s.  With Exchange and OCS also available as Online services, it becomes a very interesting proposition.  I’m guessing there’ll be challenges around authentication and identity (to name a few), but they shouldn’t be anything that MS can’t solve with federation and ILM, solutions already in their portfolio.

Exciting times ahead… (Well for a geek).

What does S+S mean to the customer?

This is my problem for the next few weeks…

S+S and the other software and services initiatives from Google et al may well take away a fair chunk of the work needed to manage an effective IS service.  If we can do that we can devote our efforts away from the day-to-day ops and into making a difference elsewhere.  Sure there will still be challenges, but hopefully most of the operational overhead will be focused on service management and commercials than day-to-day technical design and admin.  So…  If I’m an enterprise customer planning my IS architecture for my business over the next few years what should I be thinking about?

The first thing that comes to mind is the cloud where all these services will live…  Where is it, and how do I get to it?  How do my users authenticate to it?  How is my information secured between the cloud and desktop?  How do my customers feel about having their data in a cloud somewhere in Redmond or Mountain View?  Might I be part of the cloud for my customers? 

The software side shouldn’t too much of a problem (famous last words!)… getting software to people we can do, but the more I can move that into the cloud the happier I’ll be!