News roundup: Windows Intune 2.0 and Server 8 standards-based storage

Review this week's essential server news, including details on Microsoft's latest cloud-based release, an update on its forthcoming cloud-optimized OS, and a report on FY 2012 Q1 financials.

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Spend too much time playing the Windows Server 8 drinking game this week? Here's the latest news to know, including Microsoft's latest cloud PC management tool, a step forward for storage in Windows Server 8, and a review of the Q1 earnings report.

Windows Intune 2.0 is here
Just seven months after its initial release, Windows Intune got an update this week, and there's a lot to it.  On the Windows Team Blog, Intune product manager Eric Main says the benefits of the revamped cloud-based PC management tool  include "software distribution, remote tasks, read-only access, and enhanced reporting." The new offering also includes access to the latest version of the OS (e.g. Windows 7) for an enterprise, which Wired suggests could offer cost-planning relief for IT departments. How much will all this cost? Just $11 per seat per month, with a free 30-day trial available, writes ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley – a cost that PCWorld says is worth it thanks to the included licensing rights and infrastructure, advising that adding $1 per month for access to the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack could sweeten the deal.
More on Windows Intune: A review of the System Center-like features

Server 8 gets standards-based storage
Over on the Server and Cloud Platform blog, there was another big announcement, as Windows Server lead architect Jeffrey Snover reviewed Windows Server 8's standards-based storage management capabilities. The new Storage Management API (SMAPI) and corresponding set of PowerShell Cmdlets will enable users to connect with a range of storage providers; Snover also noted how SCVMM 2012 uses the standard SMI-S protocol to enable storage management capabilities now – before Windows Server 8 is released.
More on standards-based storage: What is SMI-S?

Server and Tools revenue grows for Microsoft in Q1
Microsoft reported $17.4 billion in revenue during the first quarter of its 2012 fiscal year, which ended September 30. While the Business Division led the way with $5.6 billion in revenue (largely thanks to Office products), the Server and Tools Division saw a larger boost from 2011 - $4.2 billion, up 10% over last year's Q1 results. Redmond Mag notes that this increase was driven by sales of SQL Server, Windows Server, Enterprise CAL Suites, and System Center. The VAR Guy suggests that Microsoft's ever-increasing line of partner and customer products have helped push revenue in this area, which is helping to keep competitors like Linux at bay.

Windows Server 2003 reigns supreme
Old server software can still make news…if it's beating the more recent entry in the market. Though Windows Server 2008 has long been available, TechTarget's recent Virtualization Decisions 2011 Purchasing Intentions Survey shows that Windows Server 2003 remains the most popular option, with 74% of respondents using it in some form. Increased virtualization (which makes it easier to manage older servers) and 32-application compatibility (or lack thereof, with Server 2008) seem to be the reasons – and if next year's release of Windows Server 8 convinces anyone to make a change. 
More from the survey: Open-source hypervisors, physical server shelf life

Dig deeper on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Administration

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