4 Things to Do Once You’ve Migrated Away from Windows XP

4 Things to Do Once You've Migrated Away from Windows XP

You’ve completed your migration away from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8 — now what? One thing we know for sure: the industry has evolved and it isn’t reasonable to expect we will stay on this version of the OS for the next ten years. It was a good run. Let’s move on.

You’ll know an IT project is complete when another one is starting
A new model of OS updates calls for regular and consistent updates. No more waiting for service packs. No more waiting for R2. The updates will be regular and rich. We will want them. Our users will demand them. A new system of devices from tablets, to the Microsoft Surface, to our trusty iOS devices to stuff that hasn’t even been thought up yet will capture the imagination of our users and deliver heartburn to the IT manager. Deep breaths. The features available to our new spectrum of devices are changing…frequently…and our users will no longer tolerate a decade of treading water. We need to supply a better desktop experience.

The emergence of the consumerization of IT and BYOD philosophies has led to a proliferation of devices, and these enable capabilities that simply weren’t possible with XP. This means new ideas are required to keep some control and sanity. That is, however, unless you are have been awarded a gigantic budget increase and a ton of extra head count to help you manage the new stuff that is rolling our week after week.

If you have a huge budget increase and a slew of new people to hire in IT to help you, stop reading. Good job. You are in great shape. SneakerNet will serve you, and your ridiculously growing budget will serve you well for the foreseeable future. Nice work. Well played.

For the rest of us, with slashed budgets and shrinking staff counts, let’s see what we can do.

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Top 10 Changes You’ll See in Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2012 is set to launch in September, and Microsoft is stepping up its virtualization game by launching its aggressive Switch to Hyper-V campaign.

With this campaign announcement, Microsoft is leveraging its portfolio strength of enterprise software to facilitate agile cloud deployments. At the 2012 Microsoft World Partner Conference, Satya Nadella, President of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business had three compelling stats to share with the audience:

  1. 73% of companies currently are using or are planning to use private clouds.
  2. Every five years, corporate data grows by 10X the amount.
  3. Microsoft Server 2012 is a “no-brainer” for cloud storage and can copy 10GB of data in 10 seconds.

Top 10 changes you’ll see in Windows Server 2012 include:

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System Center 2012, ActiveSync, And The BYOD Revolution

Systems Center 2012, ActiveSync and BYOD

A great deal has changed since 2008 and the onset of the client computing “revolution”. The Consumerization of IT appears to be here to stay and the options and connectedness of our environment continue to increase exponentially. Back in 2008, Facebook (only) had 63 million uses – it’s projected they’ll hit 1 billion worldwide by August. In 2008, Twitter was only a year and a half old. In 2012 there are more than 140 million active users generating over 340 millions tweets daily. In four years, we’ve seen a veritable avalanche of changes and choices that have completely shifted the landscape of IT considerations and opportunities in the enterprise.

It was back in Q1 of 2008 when Apple announced it had licensed Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) from Microsoft for its iOS products (specifically the iPhone). Read this short post for a quick walk down memory lane. Since then, iOS has completely changed the view of what it means to have, manage, use, interact with, secure, provide, decline, buy, sell, and consume mobile information. Although iOS has led the charge, there is still more innovation going on by all major manufacturers, and Microsoft is doing their part to help their customers get ready for BYOD.

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System Center 2012 – New Changes for SPLA Partners

Recent changes to Microsoft System Center means good news for our SPLA Partners. Microsoft announced a simplified licensing structure that provides more flexibility, particularly for  those with highly virtualized environments.

What’s new?  On the server front, there are now only two editions each with the same feature functionality; Standard and Datacenter.  Pricing has yet to be announced, but rest assured Datacenter will cost a bit more than standard.  Standard will only allow the management of 1 OSE per processor vs. Datacenter which will allow unlimited OSEs (as long as each physical processor is reported).  This is a processor based licensing structure, and all SAL licenses for the server components will be removed for the new model.

There are 3 SKUs for Subscriber Access Licenses (SAL); System Center Configuration Manager (includes virtual machine manager), System Center Client Manger Suite (includes Service Manager, Operations Manager, Data Protection Manager, and Orchestrator), and System Center Endpoint Protection 2012.

More information to come as we get closer to general availability (mid-year 2012).  

For additional information and training support, view:

More to Come!

Licensing System Center 2012: It’s really that easy!

There’s no question that System Center is Microsoft’s flagship product that supports the management of virtual and physical IT environments. Unfortunately, up until now, the Licensing for System Center has been a difficult thorn to manage despite the benefits.  Good news for System Center customers this week. With recent changes announced by Microsoft to the licensing model for System Center 2012, things just got easier.

In the past, users of the System Center products have been required to license multiple components individually for different pieces of the solution. A license for the server; a license for the servers being managed and a license for all the clients being managed. This is all further complicated by the fact that System Center is a bundle of more than five technologies.

The products involved could be any of the following: Data Protection Manager, Configuration Manager, Operations Manager, Service Manager, Virtual Machine Manager. The end result means many sku’s to choose from.  As if that’s not complicated enough, a variety of different bundles also exist (Enrollment for Core Infrastructure, Server Management Suite Datacenter, Server Management Suite Enterprise, System Center Essentials). These bundles often make using the different technologies under the System Center brand a very cost effective solution but knowing how to properly assess the licensing requirements  is a daunting and overwhelming task.  Microsoft took notice and made things simpler.

  • There are no longer any standalone management licenses.  They will now be sold through one of two suites for managing servers: Standard or Datacenter.
  • Everything you need to run System Center is included with each of these suites (yes, even SQL). 
  • Server Management Suite Datacenter (SMSD) and Server Management Suite Standard (SMSS) will be licensed per physical processor.  Each license will cover 2 physical processors.
  • SMSD will allow for the management of unlimited virtual OSEs.  SMSS will allow for the management of 2 virtual OSEs. The real distinction therefore becomes whether you want to manage a physical environment or a virtual one.

And it’s really that simple. There are of course implications to those who’ve already invested in these a la carte options for purchasing System Center. For customers invested in Software Assurance (SA) rest assured that there is a migration path that exists. The below table describes at a high-level what to expect.


The rest is history.

Microsoft System Center 2012 Update

Softchoice is pleased to present some helpful resources for our clients that help navigate the recent changes announced for System Center 2012.  The good news is that licensing just got easier. Stay tuned for additional information and resources on this site including a Softchoice slideshare as well as a blog post written by one of our internal Microsoft experts. Access the System Center 2012 Datasheet and the System Center 2012 FAQ for an overview. Stay tuned to The Navigator for additional info and resources to follow soon.