REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 27, 2008 – Today’s launch of Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 is the largest enterprise product introduction in Microsoft’s history. The three products were designed to help IT professionals more efficiently create and deploy demanding business applications, and enable what Microsoft has termed Dynamic IT.
To learn more about these new products and some of the new features designed to help IT professionals align computing resources to meet shifting business needs, PressPass spoke with Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the Microsoft Server and Tools Business.
PressPass: The theme for today’s launch is ’Heroes Happen Here.’ Can you explain exactly what you mean by this?
Bob Muglia, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Server and Tools Business
Muglia: Every era has its unsung heroes. The heroes of the information age include the millions of IT professionals and developers who work behind the scenes to build and support the information systems that drive our global economy.
With the launch of Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008, we are delivering a powerful new platform and tools that will transform the way IT professionals and developers build and support IT systems.
IT professionals and developers don’t always consider themselves heroes. While their work seldom earns headlines, it does yield enormous benefits to their organizations and their customers in terms of money saved, efficiencies gained, services improved and new capabilities delivered. This launch celebrates the work they do every day.
PressPass: Can you give us some examples of how the three products you are launching today will affect how IT professionals and developers work?
Muglia: Microsoft spent a good deal of time talking with hundreds of thousands of IT professionals and developers worldwide to better understand the challenges and opportunities they face and what could make them more successful.
What they told us is that while new systems, solutions, applications and devices bring new capabilities, the difficulty of implementing, maintaining and connecting these waves of technology innovation also adds new layers of cost and complexity. Also adding to this complexity are mounting regulatory compliance requirements and security.
Beyond this, an increasingly mobile workforce adds to the pressures on our IT heroes. Employees are becoming more enamored with new communications and collaboration technologies like instant messaging and social networking that allow them flexibility in their work schedules and how they communicate with customers.
Given all of these challenges, it’s critical that IT pros and developers have a platform that automatically aligns computing resources to meet shifting business needs. We call this Dynamic IT. Together, Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 provide the foundation to create dynamic infrastructure and applications that help companies more easily adjust to an enterprise’s changing people, process and technology needs.
With these products, IT pros and developers can step into the IT hero role. They can make it possible for employees to get to their own desktops on any machine, from any location. With the right development tools, they can quickly create and deploy applications that deliver compelling user experiences for end-users. The server products help them create an IT infrastructure that will restore itself instantly following a catastrophic power outage. It’s also become easier to integrate, manage and use the growing volumes of data to gain deeper business insights.
PressPass: Can you walk us through some of the key features of each of the three products you launched today?
Muglia: Sure. Because Windows Server 2008 was developed in tandem with the Windows Vista code base, it has most of that operating system’s advanced management features. It’s also been designed to be the most secure Windows Server ever, with a hardened platform that provides policy-based access to the network and helps ensures sensitive information won’t be compromised. Customers also will also see system-wide performance improvements from an integrated system architecture, including network file sharing, managed quality of service and reduced power consumption.
We are really in the virtualization game in a big way. Windows Server 2008 offers virtualization technology in Hyper-V that will reduce costs, increase hardware utilization, optimize a customer’s infrastructure and improve server availability.
The latest innovations in SQL Server and Visual Studio, as part of the broader Microsoft Application Platform, are helping businesses take their existing infrastructure and applications to another level. SQL Server 2008 includes new capabilities for the most mission-critical applications such as Resource Governor to ensure predictable performance and data compression enhancements that reduce storage requirements and increase query performance. Enhancements to Policy Based Management will help customers enforce and monitor compliance across their enterprises, and reduce the cost of managing the data infrastructure while streamlining development of new applications. It also has built-in BI analysis and reporting tools.
Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 allow developers to build Windows and Office-based applications, dynamic Web sites, and an emerging class of rich interactive applications – all with one toolset. Visual Studio 2008 also includes updates that enable developers to work with data in a unified, integrated way, using Language-Integrated Query (LINQ) and enhanced XML support. Finally, with the new integration between Visual Studio and Expression, developers and designers can collaborate on the same projects.
PressPass: Can you give us some examples of how your customers are already using the three new products to change the way their organizations operate?
Muglia: One example is the First American Corp., which needed to unify 350 globally dispersed business units, each with its own unique IT infrastructure. First American plans to use the scalable hosting, new administration tools, and enhanced security features of Windows Server 2008 and Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0 to further consolidate the company’s IT infrastructure.
Another example is Big Hammer Data, which is a division of Edgenet and makers of a software service that gives people the ability to see a consumer item in a show room or in a magazine ad and transport a three-dimensional image of it into an image of their own home. This technology, called Edgenet Vision, was created as a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution using the Microsoft Application Platform, including Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition (64-bit) database software running on the Windows Server 2008 operating system. Development was done using Microsoft Visual Studio 2008. Big Hammer’s primary requirement with the development of this groundbreaking technology was enterprise-grade database, operating system and developer tools, which they found in SQL Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008.
Lastly, let me highlight San Diego Zoo, which is a non-profit organization that serves nearly six million visitors each year. The San Diego Zoo is completely changing how people experience the zoo by developing new interactive trip planning and customized facts and trivia based on real data about the animals and exhibits. Developers used the Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition development system to create a new application called iZoofari, which allows visitors to plan their visits more carefully. iZoofari also will offer visitors a chance to post photographs and comments about their experience, creating a community that encourages other people to visit the zoo and fosters repeat visits. Relying on business intelligence capabilities in Microsoft SQL Server 2008, and the reliable production environment in Windows Server 2008, zoo managers can make better decisions on exhibit planning, zoo operations, etc. to further enhance visitor experiences.
PressPass: What role are your software and hardware partners playing in this launch?
Muglia: Our industry partners are excited about this launch, and are confident about the benefits and opportunities the new platform offers both to them and their customers. Over the last two years, more than 1,000 Microsoft software and hardware partners worldwide have been developing solutions based on the new platforms’ features. We’ve provided them with early access to code, training, testing and certification support. About 80 software applications have been certified for Windows Server 2008 so far, and roughly 300 more are considered ready for the new platform. In fact, more than 150 partners have already released, or plan to release, products specifically for Visual Studio 2008 in the coming year. Additionally, more than 40 partners are making announcements about related products and services today, and 80-plus partners are sponsoring and participating in launch events around the world, including, AMD, CA, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, Intel, Quest, SAP and Unisys.
PressPass: How do you see the datacenter evolving over the next five years?
Muglia: The most important trend I see is that toward Dynamic IT, and at Microsoft we're focusing on some key technical innovations that should help our customers and partners realize the full benefits of it.
Virtualization is one of the key enablers of our Dynamic IT initiative. Currently, less than 10 percent of all servers are virtualized. We see a future, five years or so out, in which the vast majority of server services will be run in some form of a virtualized environment.
Another is federated security. We're living in a world where we need to work together with others in many different ways. We need to be able to share identities with our business partners, allowing them to work with our systems for downstream or upstream processing. Customers need to have access, too. And as you begin to think about outsourcing, the need to federate identity with multiple service providers is clearly essential.
So, the concept of IT security has gone beyond locking things down and protecting systems. Going forward, it will be even more important to provide secure access to information to the right parties will be critical for business operations and employee productivity.
Another key enabler of Dynamic IT is the ability to use models and policies to manage system operation and improve application development efficiency. We see models playing a key role in automating systems, driving down infrastructure complexity and costs, and speeding up the time-to-solution.
Reducing complexity in the IT environment is another key tenet of Dynamic IT, and one way we’re striving to help our customers in this area is via a strong commitment to interoperability. This is a major concern, especially for larger enterprises that have a wide variety of heterogeneous systems. So, Microsoft is committed to ensuring that you can share the data that you have on our platforms with other vendors' technologies, and vice versa. We recently announced four new interoperability principles that we believe will drive greater interoperability, opportunity and choice for developers, partners, customers, and competitors.
These examples only hint at the innovations that are coming. Expanding processing power, the dramatic increase in storage capacity on local machines and in datacenters, and the increasing ubiquity of broadband networks will give IT pros new flexibility in how they create and provision computing capabilities. More powerful and intelligent tools will automatically optimize the deployment of computing resources to match real-time business needs.
Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 provide the industry with the fresh thinking that moves us significantly closer to the time when IT pros can quickly and easily create dynamic systems that have seamless access to the information and the computing capabilities that users need, when they need them, on the desired device or form factor. That will truly be heroic.