By Bridget Botelho, Senior Site Editor
AUSTIN, TX – Dell’s first worldwide show here gave IT pros a lineup of the who’s who of the IT industry– Michael Dell, VMware’s CEO Paul Maritz, Salesforce.com’s CEO Marc Benioff and Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer. And all of these power players want to change the way IT works.
They all say cloud is the next evolution of IT and that IT pros have to move forward towards the cloud or be left behind. (Of course, these companies all have cloud products, so they all have a lot to lose if enterprise IT doesn’t take the bait).
While IT pros are clearly interested in what cloud computing has to offer, they wanted to hear about the technologies they use today to do their jobs. That’s what IT uses Microsoft products for, and that’s what they want the company to focus on.
As one Virginia-based IT administrator here at the show said, “People don’t buy Microsoft software because it’s cool. They buy it for the same reason they buy a Chevy truck,” he said. “Because you have a pile of [stuff] in the back yard that you need to move around and you know that they can do the heavy lifting.”
Ballmer gave a keynote Friday morning and provided a glimpse at Windows 8 for desktops and servers along with demos of some previously reported new features in those operating systems, such as Live Migration enhancements for Hyper-V 3.0.
He said the Windows 8 Preview versions are really just a flavor of the next generation OSes. He did not say when the beta version will be available, but both the server and desktop versions are expected to be generally available next year.
In the mean time, IT pros will have to get used to “Windows re-imagined” and its Metro-style applications. It will require some re-learning of how IT has done things for decades.
One Louisiana-based IT services provider who is familiar with the Windows Server 8 preview said the touch interface for servers is a tough adjustment for IT. “I’m used to touch interface for devices, but for servers?” he said. “We just got comfortable with the ribbon interface for servers and now it’s changing again.”
Ballmer is well aware that “Metro Style” touch-enabled apps is outside of administrators comfort zones, but basically said, too bad.
“People complain that [Windows] changes too fast,” Ballmer said Friday. “You shouldn’t have picked the technology business if you weren’t willing to embrace change.”
While Microsoft shows off its stylish touch interface at tech conferences like Dell World, what IT pros really want to see from Microsoft is that it does what it is supposed to do and it does it fast. So as long as Windows Server 8 does a much better job than previous versions of the operating system and brings with it features that help IT pros do their everyday jobs, they will adjust just fine.