February 29th was a really important date in the evolution of Windows. It was the day Microsoft Corporation released the Consumer Preview of Windows 8, and Windows Server "8" beta. I'm sure that many of you were as excited as I was to go out there and download both of these, but a thought struck me as soon as the download completed. Now What? Sure, like most of you, I'm going to find a machine to install each of them on but then what else can I do to understand how both of these will impact our organizations?
Excited About The Future!
We're all consumers, so the excitement level around the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is way up there! Once you download it, to help make your experience better, you should check out all the resources on the Windows8ConsumerPreview site. As IT Professionals, looking further down the road to when you will be asked to provide guidance to your organization on adopting Windows 8 and deploying it in your environments, check out the SpringboardSeriescontent on Windows 8 including the Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide. Start there to help make your time with Windows 8 Consumer Preview much more effective.
On the server side, Windows Server "8" beta has just so much!! I have been in this industry a very long time (remember, I have NOhair left on my head!) and I can honestly say that Windows Server "8" is the most exciting release of a server operating system since Windows NT 3.1!!! In my opinion, the most exciting new features include; shared-nothing Live Migration, Storage Live Migration, new storage options, NIC teaming in the OS, extensible virtual networking and more – all dealing with Private Cloud & Virtualization! We will be covering each of these features and more in the next few weeks on the Canadian IT Pro blog.
Prepare for The Future Today
A key thing to remember is that it will be a while before Windows 8 is released, so you will want to evaluate how it will work with your existing applications and infrastructure. The best way to get ready for Windows 8 is to ensure your environment is on Windows 7 today and not running Windows XP or earlier. Support for Windows 2000 has ended and Windows XP extended support will end on April 8, 2014 – coming up faster than you think! A great resource to help you plan, deploy and manage Windows 7 and Office 2010, as well as learn how to ensure your in-house applications are ready, is the Springboard site on TechNet.
Also,don't wait until Windows Server "8" ships to start to take advantage of Hyper-V and Microsoft Private Cloud offerings. Implement Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and take advantage of System Center 2012 to deploy, monitor, and manage your Private Cloud infrastructure right from the bare metal! The skills you learn today will help you with Windows 8 in the future.
Finally, I want to ask for your help to allow us to continue to provide you what you need. Twice a year through something we call "The Global Relationship Study" – Microsoft reaches out and contacts you to see how Microsoft is doing and what Microsoft could do better. If you get an e-mail from "Microsoft Feedback" with the subject line "Help Microsoft Focus on Customers and Partners" between March 5th and April 13th, please take a little time to tell us what you think.
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