Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last couple of days, you probably already know that Microsoft announced the release to manufacturing of both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, with shipments expected no later than Q4 of 2009. Just as the US government talks about “hitting the reset button” for foreign relations, Microsoft is hoping that this pair of operating systems (especially Windows 7) will hit the reset button for customers.
For Windows Server customers, the key improvements in 2008 R2 are in the Hyper-V hypervisor. If Hyper-V doesn’t matter to you, then you’ll have to make do with improvements in the PowerShell scripting environment, better power management to reduce server power consumption, a new web server, and support for .NET on the stripped down Windows Core installation.
The other big feature of 2008 R2 is close integration with Windows 7 to provide such things as the ability to access internal resources without a VPN, improvement to remote and virtual desktop support, improved caching of data for users in remote offices, federated search, and BitLocker improvement for encrypting data on laptop on desktop systems.
Moving on to Windows 7, Microsoft (and the rest of the PC industry) is hoping that the release of Windows 7 will kick-start desktop operating system upgrades and accompanying desktop/laptop hardware purchases. If the reports last week of 40% of enterprises adopting Windows 7 within 14 months of release date, then Microsoft and the rest of the PC industry will be ecstatic. Just to put that 40% in perspective, according to Forester, Vista is stuck at 12.5"% after 28 months.
The killer Windows 7 feature for many enterprise IT organizations is the full virtual copy of Windows XP which is there to help with applications that don’t run on Windows 7. This feature will have one side effect on the enterprise desktop; it will drive the adoption of 64-bit Windows , because the virtual XP feature isn’t supported on the 32-bit version of Windows 7, and that’s good news for PC vendors looking for a boost to desktop and laptop sales.
Posted by: Nik Simpson