News Roundup: Changes for Windows Update and Windows Embedded

Admins frustrated with the Windows Update process will welcome the latest Windows 8 news; users of Windows Embedded operating systems should prepare for changes, too.

In this week's server news summary, we wade through the latest Windows 8 news, including notes about an improved updating process and new versions of Windows Embedded. We also take a look at how AMD is staying up to speed in the server chip market.  

Microsoft minimizes restarts, doesn't budge on third-party updates
Like many features of Windows 8, Windows Update is getting a major overhaul. When the new OS ships in 2012, users will be able to group all restarts once monthly, bundling them into one update. Administrators should have little fear; they can adjust that restart window and deploy updates as they always have been able to. Microsoft also said that the software sold on its App Marketplace would not be updated through Windows Update, according to InfoWorld. Instead, users and IT pros will have to go to an individual app's updater to complete it, which raised ire among analysts who said there is a potential security gap.

Windows Embedded products to keep pace with Windows 8
Microsoft plans to update some of its Windows Embedded operating system products – including Enterprise v.Next, Standard v.Next, and Compact v.Next – so that they're based on Windows 8, reports ZDNet. The systems are used to run "intelligent devices" such as ATMs and sensors, a market that will be worth more than $500 billion by 2015, according to IDC analysts. The new versions, which will come anywhere from one to three quarters following the release of Windows 8, will run on ARM processors and use "natural user interface" technologies, the company told PCWorld. The Register also notes that the embedded systems will be compatible with System Center 2012 and collected data will be available via Windows Azure. No word on whether Windows Embedded Server will get an update.

AMD speeds into cloud server market
Chip-maker AMD launched its latest server chips this week, the Opteron 6200-series Interlagos (which offers 16 cores) and 4200-series Valencia (up to 8 cores), as Richi Jennings notes in Computerworld's IT Blogwatch. The powerful, desktop-compatible processors – priced nearly $100 less than their predecessors --  allow the company to compete with Atom- and ARM-based servers, reports Ars Technica. ZDNet agrees, seeing the Opterons fit into AMD's strategy to power cloud computing server farms. However, InfoWorld notes that as a result of the architecture changes, versions of Windows Server 2003 before R2 SP2 will not run on the new chips.

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