The Windows Report -- Looking ahead to 2010

With all the major releases from Microsoft over the past year, migration is sure to be a big topic on the minds of IT professionals in 2010.

In this edition of The Windows Report, we take a quick look back at the year that was in 2009, and IT author and consultant Jonathan Hassell calls in to discuss what should be the top Windows news next year.

Previous epsiodes:

Will AD have your back in Windows 2008 R2?

Gearing up for R2 and Windows 7

Read the full transcript from this video below:  

The Windows Report -- Looking ahead to 2010

Brendan Cournoyer: Happy Holidays everyone. I am Brendan Cournoyer. Welcome to the
Windows Report here at As 2009 grinds
to a close, we are going to take some time today to look ahead
to 2010. We will hear from IT consultant and author Jonathan
Hassell to talk about what are sure to be the big Windows
topics and issues facing admins and IT managers next year. First
let us take a step back for a quick recap at the year that was
in 2009.

2009 was a year of big releases from Microsoft, and of course it
all begins with Windows 7. The company's much anticipated follow
up to Windows Vista got mostly favorable reviews leading up to
its official release on October 22. Key features included
enhanced application compatibility, bit locker improvements, and
the much talked about direct access feature with Windows Server
2008 R2. Also released on October 22, R2 continued to build on
Microsoft's previous server OS release with improvements to
active directory, terminal services, increased energy
efficiency and brand new features like file classification
infrastructure. It also, of course, brought with it several key
changes to Microsoft Hyper V, the big one in particular being
live migration to allow VMs to move from different physical
machines without any downtime. As most know, the original Hyper
V's quick migration technology was one of the key criticisms
when compared to VMware's products. The R2 release of Hyper V
only served to enhance the battle between the two companies as
Microsoft continued to etch out a bigger part of the
virtualization market.

Somewhat overshadowed by the major OS releases, but certainly
not to be forgotten, is Exchange Server 2010. The mail server
was officially launched in November, with improvements for
storage management, high availability and unified messaging, to
name a few. Of course, it was Exchange 2007 that made news in
August when Microsoft announced it would not be supported on
Windows 2008 R2. Naturally, this drew the ire of many, and the
company decided to scrap that idea soon after. Of course the
concept of Cloud computing continued to be argued about
throughout the year. Is it ready for action? Is it nowhere
close? It really depended upon who you asked. One thing we do
know, however, is that Microsoft's Windows Azure paid service is
set to begin in January 1.

That is just a sampling of some of the stories that made
headlines last year but of course, that is all in the past. For
a look into the future, we spoke with Jonathan Hassell, to hear
with he thinks are going to be the top stores in 2010. Here is
what he had to say.

Jonathan Hassell: I guess the elephant in the room is Windows 7. That came out in
October of 2009. It was generally available then, and
corporations are already looking at what their story is
regarding upgrading. A lot of folks skipped Vista and have
remained on XP, and that is going to be end-of-lifeing in the
next two to three years, in terms of support and security
updates. A lot of folks are looking to move to Windows 7. It has
gotten very positive feedback from everyone who has tried it.
There are also some compelling elements of Window 7 for the
enterprise, in terms of bit locker on the go to secure all the
thumb drives that somehow magically disappear from companies,
laptops and whatnot. Also some of the different abilities of
Windows 7 to work in branch offices and that comes in
conjunction with Windows Server 2008 R2. Some of the migration
features are also interesting. It is a lot smoother to move to
Windows 7 now than it was to roll out XP to an entire company.
With the features that are available and some
of the migration from XP to Windows 7 -- some specific
technologies there -- it is just a better story, overall.
Certainly Windows 7 should be on everyone's radar, and I think
it already is. There is a lot of focus there in 2010.

Some of the minor stories under that might be Windows Server
2008 R2. Again, that is an incremental release, not like Windows
7 compared to XP. There are some interesting parts of Server
2008 R2, including some improvements to power consumption. Out
of the box, it uses something like 15% less electricity on the
same hardware than Windows Server 2008. It is cell fused, so out-
of-the box savings right there. Again, there are licensing costs
with that. A lot of folks are happy with Windows Server 2003 and
2008, so I am not sure R2 is necessarily a slam dunk for those
folks, but they will be looking at R2 in conjunction with
Windows 7 to light up some of the better together features.

Everyone knows about Sharepoint by now. There will be a new
release of Sharepoint Server for 2010. That should be sometime
mid-year. Sharepoint has just kind of taken off like a rocket.
It remains to be seen whether the new release of Sharepoint will
run all on Windows Server 2003, so a lot of upgrades from 2003
to 2008, or the 2008 R2 will be driven by whether Sharepoint
Server 2010 will run on that platform. Basically, the big issue
is Windows 7 and surrounding that are the server products, 2008
R2 and Sharepoint Server.

Brendan Cournoyer: You talked a little bit about how Windows Server 2008 R2 is
affected by Windows 7. There are a few features that I believe
you can only take advantage of if you are running both. Direct
Access comes to mind.

Jonathan Hassell: Exactly.

Brendan Cournoyer: Do you think that people, the excitement over Windows 7,
whether it be people just not being crazy about Vista or having
been on XP for a while, do you think the urge for them to
upgrade to Windows 7 will have a significant effect on how fast
they upgrade to R2, if they upgrade to R2?

Jonathan Hassell: It should. The Direct Access feature is definitely killer,
particularly with a lot of companies trying out scenarios when
it comes to dealing with pandemics and virus outbreaks, swine
flu comes to mind. It is a lot easier with Direct Access for
you to tell your workers, 'Just stay at home and let us ride
this thing out.' With Direct Access, everything is seamless, and
it is like you are at the office. It is a little difficult to
configure at first. They can certainly improve on that initial
deployment process, but that does only work with Windows 7, like
you say. If you are a forward looking company and you got some
money to spare, that is certainly something that you can do
lighting up some of the Windows 7 features with R2. That is to
say none of those are terribly compelling; they are not mission-
critical things. I think what you are going to see more of is
Windows 7 on the desktop story.

I say that because XP is really long in the tooth right now, so
you are going to see a lot of people moving just by virtue of
the fact that XP is end-of-life, whereas Windows Server 2003
still has a few years left of updates and critical support
availability. A lot of folks are still running server platforms
that tend to run for longer lifecycles, as well. They are not
necessarily looking to upgrade to Server 2008 and Server 2008
R2. While it is nice that they can be tied together somewhat and
R2 supports some features on Windows 7 that otherwise would not
work, I am not sure that it is necessarily going to be a big
driver of upgrades for on the server end for R2.

Brendan Cournoyer: I also wanted to ask this real quick about Exchange Server
2010. Do you think that is going to be a big upgrade concern for
people next year, especially considering the fact that there was
a big to-do about Microsoft originally not including Exchange
2007 support with Windows 2008 R2, then backtracking and saying,
'OK. We are going to do that.' It is going to take a while but
they are going to do that. What kind of, what would you expect
to see as far as people migrating to Exchange 2010 next year?

Jonathan Hassell: That is an interesting question. It slipped in the back door,
the Exchange release among Windows 7, and some of the other
products. There as some neat features, but again, there is
nothing really mission-critical in 2010 that is not already in
2007. When you are talking about companies with 5,000, 10,000 or
25,000 mailboxes, a mail migration is just a huge task. If you
look at the overall macroeconomic climate, we have reduced
staffing in IT. We do not have as big a budget to license
software and to procure new servers, so I am really not sure
that Exchange 2010 is going to be a huge driver for migration.
With that said, there is a lot of neat stuff in Exchange 2010,
and I would not hesitate to bet once we get rolling to 2011 and
into 2012, that we would be looking at a lot of migrations.
There is not typically a lot of movement toward a new mail
version, a new mail server version in the first 12 months.
People are looking at it. They are examining it, seeing how it
would fit, but they are not running whole hog into the, 'We got
to move off of this old platform to this shiny new thing.' I
would not expect in 2010 to see a lot of movement there.
Certainly by 2011 or 2012 we will begin to see some uptick.

Microsoft has not helped matters with their confusing messaging,
like you say about, 'Will this run now? Will it run later? Do we
need a service pack? We will get a service pack but it will be
three years from now.' It is really confusing, and they have not
helped matters at all. I think, with all the other stuff going
on right now and when you couple that with how things are doing
in the economy overall, I am not sure that we are going to see a
large emphasis on mail server migration.

Brendan Cournoyer: Before I let you go, I have to ask you the Cloud question.
Basically just because . . . and I have talked to people, and it
seems that the people who are really pro-Cloud are going to be
the people who are going to be saying, 'It is great, You can use
it now, it is secure, and all that stuff is just a myth.' Then
people who are skeptical are saying, 'No, no one is going to be
using this for years and years, and they are not even thinking
about it.' Where do you fall there?

Jonathan Hassell: I think there is an interesting story to be told with mixing
some Cloud technologies with on-premise technologies. After I
just poo-pooed the fact that Exchange 2010 will not be
emphasized until 2011, there is an interesting story that
Microsoft's telling with their forefront technologies. They've got
a piece where you can run mail cleansing hygiene and anti-spam
properties both in the Cloud on the Exchange online properties
and also on-premises, so you get that defense and depth
protection. I think that model is probably where we are going
for the next 3 to 5 years. A lot of folks are wary of the Cloud;
they do not want all their data somewhere else. They want to
have control of it. It is hard to ignore the fact that not
everyone has the internet connection that Google has. That is
just a simple fact, it is too expensive. I think if we take the
best of both worlds, that is really where things are going in
the next, short term, 3 to 5 years. Longer term, it is anyone's
guess. Things change so fast in this industry that I would not
be surprised if desktops booted to something in the Cloud, and
you see a little bit of that with the virtual desktop
infrastructure that Microsoft is pushing now. Certainly, things
are moving towards the Cloud, but I still think that there are
capabilities and there are protections that you have with on-
premises technology, servers and data that you just do not
get with the Cloud, and that is too important these days. We are
a very litigious society, and the fact that you would turn over
such sensitive and such private information to a Cloud provider
is a little bit beyond me, and I think it is beyond at least a
lot of larger corporations.

If you are a smaller enterprise, sometimes the advantages of the
cloud are really hard to ignore. I know several small businesses
here locally in Charlotte that are moving over to Google apps
for the Enterprise. They have had some downtime lately, and
frankly, if you are without email for four hours, the world
seems to come to an end. The cost versus the benefit ratio for a
smaller business might have them moving toward the Cloud sooner
rather than later, but I think for a mid-size or a larger
enterprise, that combination of on-premises and Cloud technology
is really where you should be looking.

Brendan Cournoyer: For more from John, be sure to check out his articles at Of course, once again, remember you can
now follow us on Twitter @WindowsTT. From all of us at and TechTarget, I would like to wish you
all a happy holiday season, and we will see you next year.

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