A change to the Microsoft Client Access License (CAL) bundle is a rare event – the last time it happened was about 10 years ago; so any change to the CAL bundle has to be seen as a significant indicator of Microsoft’s core values. Or so you would think. Assuming that is right, last week’s announcement at the Microsoft Management Summit of changes to the Core and Enterprise CAL bundles need careful analysis. Changes to the CAL are a strategic driver towards new product adoption and represents a clear indication of Microsoft’s long-term goals and aspirations. With that in mind we can infer from this latest change how Microsoft views desktop virtualization.
IT as a Service ...
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BlueStripe has integrated its applications topology views and end-to-end response time monitoring information into Microsoft SCOM. This creates an appealing solution to manage applications performance on a response time basis across virtualization platforms, and across both physical and virtually host applications.
Given all the past ingenuity and accomplishment why is it, in 2011, the mere task of assigning valid licenses to desktop virtualisation should appear an arcane process?
How do different virtualization models impact how you license your desktop services? What are the current licensing models and do they apply in all instances of desktop virtualisation? Do the models impact on provisioning of services be they laptops, thin clients, Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC), or mobile devices?
Is desktop virtualization licensing an intentionally complex process and what other options could there be?
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Attached as a footnote to last week’s big news of Windows 7 SP1 being released to manufacture, Microsoft also announced a new lightweight edition of Windows 7. Windows Thin PC (WinTPC) is in many respects a Windows 7-based update of Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (WinFLP), a lightweight locked down version of Windows XP SP3 that was offered to enterprise customers as an encouragement to get them to migrate away from Windows 2000 without the cost of performing a hardware refresh at the same time.
MultiPoint Server is the Cinderella of the Windows world, locked away in the cellar education sector, kept away from the bright lights of publicity and severely limited in what it could offer. But that could well be changing given Microsoft’s recent efforts to revamp the product. Although not yet quite ready for shipping, Microsoft has been working hard to add value to MultiPoint Server and when it ships in March it looks like Microsoft might have a winner on its hands.
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There is great outrage to Microsoft’s reluctance to play ball and support virtualization of IE. Without an alternative, the solutions offered by Microsoft are expensive, cumbersome and difficult to maintain. Virtualising the application may well allow different browser versions to co-exist – but the user-experience can be cumbersome with links to other applications not always launching the correct browser and users having to know which browser to choose. Unibrows offers an interesting alternative utilising isolation to support the deployment of different controls and centralisation to allow management and control and importantly wrapped up in what sounds like a very appealing cost.
Cloud Computing ...
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On October 22nd, Microsoft announced that it has partnered with Cloud.com to provide integration and support of Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V to the OpenStack project. The announcement caused a great deal of interest here at the Virtualization Practice, as it signals an unexpected willingness on Microsoft’s part to pursue interoperability at the IaaS layer, allowing users to break out of the Hyper-v stack, whilst still retaining Hyper-v at the bottom. The fact this announcement came from Microsoft (not Cloud.com, Rackspace or OpenStack) seems to signal the seriousness of the intent.
Eschewing the virtual desktop for the truly virtual, Microsoft has announced its next generation productivity suite bringing together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service.
VMware may buy SUSE from Novell for a host of reasons, one of the most important of which may be that it gets access to Mono and thereby creates a .NET cloud to compete with Microsoft Azure. Paradoxically, we expect that Microsoft will want this to happen.