A Whole New World

Microsoft Previews Windows 7, Office 14, Hyper-V and Windows Azure
by: Jerry Liao

The year is about to end but it seems Microsoft is starting the new year ahead of everyone. Just last month, I attended a round table discussion about virtualization with Bill Hilf, Microsoft general manager for Windows Server and platform strategy and Nicky Eala, Microsoft Philippines group lead for server and tools.

Microsoft virtualization offering called Hyper-V enables users to make the best use of your server hardware investments by consolidating multiple server roles as separate virtual machines (VMs) running on a single physical machine and also efficiently run multiple different operating systems—Windows, Linux, and others—in parallel, on a single server, and fully leverage the power of x64 computing. Hyper-V pits Microsoft directly against VMware.

Virtualization is just the tip of the iceberg, there is more to come from Microsoft. I was a bit surprise that Microsoft recently shared the first full public demo of Windows 7, Microsoft latest operating system.

According to Microsoft, Windows 7 will come with new improved navigation, a new taskbar and a streamlined user interface put commonly used resources within easy reach. Sharing data across all PCs and devices will be easier at home, in the office or on the go. Windows 7 and Windows Live will help users stay connected to the people and things they care about, and Internet Explorer 8 will offer a faster, safer and more productive Web experience.

Aside from Windows 7, Microsoft also announced that the next version of Microsoft Office (Office 14) will include Office Web applications that will help improve productivity and enhance the desktop experience by enabling people to access, create, edit, share and collaborate on Office documents across multiple devices. The company showed how anyone can use all of the Web, phone, and PC versions of Office to edit the same rich document, switching among them seamlessly with lossless file compatibility. Office 14 will be compatible with familiar Web browsers from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.

And lastly, Microsoft also offered something for the cloud, cloud computing that is. The foundation of the platform is Windows Azure, a new cloud-based operating system that serves as the development, run-time and environment for the Azure Services Platform.

The Azure Services Platform combines the growing power of the Web-based “cloud” and today’s computers and devices with a suite of services designed to help developers deliver compelling new experiences across the PC, Web and mobile phone or PDA. The new platform extends to developers the ability to rapidly develop and deploy new applications into the cloud, without having to worry about how they will scale up. It gives businesses a new set of choices for how they deploy IT. And consumers benefit through new abilities to see their growing array of digital devices linked together in new and exciting ways.

Microsoft’s new offerings gives us users a glimpse of where computing is heading to in the coming months. A new OS and productivity suite the fully embraces the web, technology that will help companies cut costs, and a platform that will bring flexibility to users.

Despite the ongoing economic crunch, nothing is going to stop innovation. And I can say 2009 will still be an exciting year for the I.T. industry.

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