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Analysts argue Windows 8 does not bring a compelling set of features for business users, drawing Vista comparisons

Windows 8 lands on Friday, and with it the big question of whether the consumer-friendly operating system is as good a fit as previous versions of Windows, which were more stodgy and business-minded from an interface perspective.

I. Businesses May Not Want Windows 8

While there have been some opinionated folks decrying the merits of Windows 8 for business users, the greater sentiments of the business community towards the upcoming product remain largely unknown.  Currently an estimated 41 percent of the world's 1.5 billion PCs run Windows XP.  In other words, in the near term, many businesses are still working on their Windows XP to Windows 7 transition plan and have little thoughts on Windows 8 adoption.

Analysts are still busily debating the merits of the upcoming Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) OS product, whose early adoption rates are trailing those of Windows 7

Analyst Michael Cherry told Reuters in a recent briefing, "Some organizations, when they look at Windows 8 Intel tablets, they are going to like them because they are manageable.  When they look at RT they are going to be disappointed, because it's no easier to manage than an iPad."

In other words, x86 tablets -- like those bearing Intel Corp. (INTC) chips -- may bear an advantage for businesses over current tablets, but Windows RT tablets (built with ARM chips) will likely not.

Gartner, Inc. (IT) analyst Michael Silver says he expects Windows 8 to never catch on to the extent of Windows XP or Windows 7, even years down the road.  He comments, "We believe 90 percent of large organizations will not deploy Windows 8 broadly, and at its peak, we expect about 20 percent of PCs in large organizations will run Windows 8."

Windows 8 boxes
Windows 8 boxes on diplay at Wal-Mart [Image Source: The Verge]

Doug Johnson, head of risk management policy at the American Bankers Association, similarly argues to Reuters, "Windows 8 is, frankly, more of a consumer platform than it is a business platform, so it's not something that makes any sense from a business perspective at this juncture.  There is really no additional business functionality that Windows 8 gives you that I see."

II. Does it Matter?

Increasingly Microsoft's revenue stream is driven by licensing software (such as Office and SQL Server 2008), rather than licensing operating systems.  Last year OS sales only accounted for 25 percent of Microsoft's bottom line versus 30 percent five years ago.  

And a large portion of OS revenue -- roughly 40 percent -- comes from bulk licensing agreements with free upgrade provisions.  For that type of licenses, IT departments' decision to adopt or pass on a particular version of Windows makes no difference, as long as the business is using some version of the OS.

In other words, as murky as Windows 8's business fate may be, the impact of those long-term sales on Microsoft's bottom line is even more unclear.  That said, the general air of skepticism from business users is a concern for Microsoft in the long term, and definitely something Microsoft will (or, at least, should) take into acount when crafting Windows 8's successor.

Source: Reuters



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Don't forget about Server 2012.
By n0b0dykn0ws on 10/22/2012 4:31:30 PM , Rating: 4
As an admin I hope we never roll out Server 2012. I can at least understand changing the UI of the desktop world to match those of phones and game systems, but on the server side of things?

Too few benefits, plenty of headaches.




RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Argon18 on 10/22/12, Rating: -1
RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Guspaz on 10/22/2012 7:01:11 PM , Rating: 3
I tried to get Windows connected to an NFS server using the built-in NFS support. After days of trying, I gave up.


By damianrobertjones on 10/23/2012 4:32:03 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By damianrobertjones on 10/23/2012 4:30:41 AM , Rating: 2
In 12 years we've hardly ever had an issue with the Windows Server platform and what issues we have had can be attributed to hardware. Reboot? Other than for Windows update... we don't! Maybe we're lucky


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/23/2012 7:06:41 AM , Rating: 5
Your experience is quite normal for Windows Server. The above poster is parroting some nonsense from the 90s when NT4.0 was the only Windows Server in town.

These days unless you are building some sort of massive database cluster running Oracle or DB2, Windows Server does everything you need and more, without the extra headaches. Windows Server is edging out Linux in many enterprise settings such as web/file/print sharing that traditionally went to a Red Hat box. Linux has never been particularly enterprise or support friendly with the job falling to the stand alone admins to maintain whatever trickery they needed to implement to get it working. Red Hat is really the only Linux distro out there that has a form of legitimacy to it, the others are viewed as the normal flash in the pan that most distros turn out to be.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Ammohunt on 10/23/2012 1:33:56 PM , Rating: 3
I am going to have to disagree completely with you; Smart enterprises that run Linux do not replace Windows functionality with it but rather replace expensive, ageing Unix machines. Windows and Unix/Linux play completely different roles in the Enterprise and Linux/Unix is hands down superior to Windows in those specific roles.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By kleinma on 10/24/2012 5:08:22 PM , Rating: 2
I see what you did there... make a point, and back it up with no facts.. clever.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Ammohunt on 10/24/2012 9:56:45 PM , Rating: 2
12 years of experience gives me a Senior Unix/Linux/Windows Systems Administrator title which means i am the guy companies pay to design and maintain computing environments. In other words I am an expert in my field.


By Xplorer4x4 on 10/31/2012 8:38:29 PM , Rating: 2
Says some guy behind a computer screen...I can claim to be the head of Windows Server development. Maybe I am, maybe I'm not, but how do you know from there? So far, the vague nature of your post sure doesn't convince me you have any experience in the field. You probably do, but "because I say so" won't get you taken very seriously.


By Digimonkey on 10/25/2012 9:08:05 AM , Rating: 2
I'm in a place that runs both Windows and Linux servers about 50/50. I like both platforms and realize each has their weaknesses and strengths. Windows excels when it comes to user and desktop management. I prefer Linux when it comes to web serving and file sharing.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Argon18 on 10/24/2012 10:39:36 PM , Rating: 2
Meh, not quite. Reboots multiple times per week is the norm, even with the latest version of Windows Server.

Secondly, Linux and UNIX does just about everything an enterprise needs, without the hassle and expense of Windows. HP-UX for example, excels at Virtual Machines, and delivers a real value proposition to large businesses, as a single HP-UX license is good for unlimited virtual machines. Microsoft, on the other hand, charges a per-VM OS licensing cost that can be in the $Millions for a large business. No thanks.

Thirdly, Yes RedHat is a major player in the Linux space. But so is SuSE. IBM is huge in Linux, including supporting it on a variety of hardware platforms including AMD64 and IBM POWER.

Yes, the admins support the machines. They're stable enough and intuitive enough that they don't need to spend countless hours and countless headaches on the phone with Microsoft Support services - instead they can do real work and solve real business problems on their own.

Lastly, Microsoft's "big box" approach to software works fine for canned tasks like corporate email, or Windows file & print. Not so good for anything else. The Linux and UNIX command line, with plain text as the data interchange standard, and the tools to pipe input and output between ANY pieces of software is unparalleled in the Windows world. Microsoft has nothing that compares to this. If Exchange doesn't have the specific feature you want, too bad, you can't do it.

FYI, I know what I'm talking about, I just recently migrated over 60 Exchange/Win2003 servers to RHEL and HP-UX virtual machines, saving the company more than $200,000 per year in Microsoft licensing.

Cheers


By NellyFromMA on 10/23/2012 8:50:49 AM , Rating: 2
I second this and administrate over 2 LAN's comprising just over 200 PCs and various customer LANs as well. All MS powered, all running well. So much so I can actually do my real job, software / web development.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Kitten_Mary on 10/22/2012 4:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
> 80 Percent of Businesses Will Never Adopt Windows 8

> I hope we never roll out Server 2012.
> I can at least understand changing the UI of the desktop
> world to match those of phones and game systems

Huh?

I think you got that exactly backwards. SQL Server 2012 is 99% backwards compatible with SQL 2008. If you don't need all that extra features... you simply don't use them.

But you *DO* want all work computers to "match" gaming systems and cell phones????

Huh?

Why in the world would any business on the planet want that?


By PsychoPif on 10/22/2012 4:58:08 PM , Rating: 2
I think you forgot to quote the end of the phrase where he says except work pc...


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Lord 666 on 10/22/2012 10:59:36 PM , Rating: 3
Where does he mention SQL? He only mentioned Server 2012 as in the OS.

My apologies in advance if the OP is a female.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Samus on 10/23/2012 1:36:16 AM , Rating: 2
Considering I still have numerous clients running Server 2003/SQL 2005, the obvious choice when we replace their servers will be Server 2012. It all depends how much of a compelling improvement it is over Server 2008r2. Some clients have found Small Business Server 2011 (which is 95% SBS 2008) a solid choice, especially when you consider it has a very good Exchange arrangement (opposed to SBS 2003/2008 which neutered Exchange) and in Premium has some virtualization and SQL bundled in.

SBS 2011 is very buggy though. I spend 5-6 hours after deployment just straightening out the bogus errors and warnings in Event Viewer. It also eats up a lot more resources which increases power usage, shutdown/hibernation time during a power failure, and disk wear.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Lord 666 on 10/23/2012 2:44:20 AM , Rating: 2
Even more business opportunity for you with the move towards more PS in Server 2012. Few "IT Helpers" want to venture down that path and the ones that do more than likely muck things up. The irony is I am very much looking forward to migrating to SQL 2012 from MySQL, especialy for the BI. Just waiting for the mission-critical software vendor to support it.

Hoping MS releases a "Business Pack" that brings back the classic appearance of both the server and client OS though.


By NellyFromMA on 10/23/2012 8:52:12 AM , Rating: 2
Do yourself a favor and apply 2008 SP1 to SBS 2011. We've seen many domain controllers plagued by sharepoint resource bugginess that can easily be rectified by the SP.

SBS 11 was ok, and no end users experience any down sides, its just very noticable at the console.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By mi1400 on 10/23/2012 1:22:51 AM , Rating: 1
Gartner has been proven wrong in past... Just the DeDupe (WinSXS solution) & HyperV features inside Win8 are sufficient to jump to Win8 and ppl should stop bitching with metro ... Start8,ClassicShell,ViStart,RetroUI are now developed and stable.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By twhittet on 10/23/2012 5:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
Dedupe is the the biggest reason I'm even thinking about server 2012 right now. Need more info on "optimized" backups before jumping on it though.


By n0b0dykn0ws on 10/23/2012 9:48:39 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
But you *DO* want all work computers to "match" gaming systems and cell phones????


I was referring to the consumer world. That's the downside of Microsoft sharing their consumer space with their business space, if one is changed, all are changed.

The one area Windows 8 would benefit businesses is tablets, and in my little corner of the world the people who have tablets don't really need them. They just want to look important during meetings.

quote:
I think you got that exactly backwards. SQL Server 2012 is 99% backwards compatible with SQL 2008. If you don't need all that extra features... you simply don't use them.


I know the features are there. I'm mostly referring to the GUI. It makes no sense for that to be on a server, but if they made it an option on one, it would likely carry over to the other.

My point is that Server 2012 doesn't do enough over 2008 R2 to justify the change.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Schadenfroh on 10/22/2012 5:28:24 PM , Rating: 2
Why would the server version even need a GUI? All my Red Hat derived distros acting as servers are command-line only with no-X.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Pirks on 10/22/2012 6:27:40 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Why would the server version even need a GUI?
you can deploy windows server without gui if you want, it's called server core, dumb lamers like n0b0dykn0ws and argon18 just don't know about it... if they stopped sucking unix cock and learned some basics they would not look so stupid now :)


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By retrospooty on 10/22/2012 6:36:48 PM , Rating: 1
"you can deploy windows server without gui if you want, it's called server core, dumb lamers like n0b0dykn0ws and argon18 just don't know about it... if they stopped sucking unix cock and learned some basics they would not look so stupid now :)"

Dang Pirks... Even when you are right you are still an ass. =)


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Pirks on 10/22/2012 6:56:54 PM , Rating: 2
"oh come on, you gotta admit, this is cool!" (C) http://0.tqn.com/d/create/1/0/7/Z/5/-/syndrome.jpg


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Schadenfroh on 10/23/2012 12:13:19 AM , Rating: 2
Is that an unholy fusion of The Joker with Jay Leno?


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Pirks on 10/23/2012 1:53:21 AM , Rating: 2
By n0b0dykn0ws on 10/23/2012 9:42:46 AM , Rating: 2
You're right... to an extent. Core is great if you primarily need the built-in Windows Server features supported under Core. But I don't do AD work, I support application servers, and most of the business applications my systems host don't have a command line installer, and can't be configured through the command line.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Jaybus on 10/23/2012 12:36:33 PM , Rating: 2
Most of my VMs run without X, but the HA cluster nodes run with X in order to take advantage of the Virtual Machine Manager, Logical Volume Management, etc. gui tools.

That said, RHEL 6 was out for about a year before we upgraded from RHEL 5. I wouldn't upgrade any OS, Linux or Windows, as an early adopter. There are always bugs and security flaws with any new OS release. I wouldn't expect there will be much Server 2012 rollout activity for many months, and if Windows 8 is ever adopted by businesses, it won't be popular for at least a year. It is way too early to tell how Windows 8 will do in the business world, one way or the other.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By retrospooty on 10/22/2012 6:13:31 PM , Rating: 3
as a network admin for a mid size company of 500 users, I can tell you we will never roll out Windows 8 on the desktop, but I have already rolled out 4 servers running 2012. 1 brand new and 3 upgraded from Server 2008... Of course these are all 4 VM hosts, so there really isnt any compatibility issues, and Hyper V 3 from server 2012 is just brilliant to use. A huge upgrade from Hyper V 2 on Server 2008.

As a VM host, server 2012 is awesome, but I would have to think long and hard before using for an actual app server. Maybe in a few years, but definitely not sooner.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Pirks on 10/22/2012 6:39:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I would have to think long and hard before using for an actual app server
why? any concrete reasons? or... just being afraid of new platforms in general?


By retrospooty on 10/22/2012 11:11:50 PM , Rating: 2
Running apps and what not on a new OS at home is fun. Doing it on a new OS at work with 100's of users depending on you for uptime is reckless. When new OS's come out bugs happen, it just isnt something you do.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By damianrobertjones on 10/23/2012 4:35:43 AM , Rating: 2
Surely you have a site licence and so can change straight to Windows 8 and Office 2013? If you don't then that's MADNESS.

As it stands we've got around 120 ish computers here and we WILL be updating to Windows 8.

Why? Why not? Via GP I should be able to lock down the modern UI and roll out new 'apps' if (at all) required. The four test 'subjects' are working away just as they did before with no issues and the charms took them less than one demonstration to understand.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By JediJeb on 10/23/2012 6:45:48 PM , Rating: 2
This may work in large offices like law offices and such but it a nightmare in a laboratory environment like we have. For us to roll out an across the board OS update would probably require several million dollars in equipment purchases to cover maybe 20 computers. That is because those computers are attached to equipment costing anywhere from $50k to $250k each with proprietary software some of which right now only will run on WinNT, or W2K or XPsp2. We just spend $150k upgrading some equipment to get away from WinNT because we feared that losing 400mhz PII machine could cost us a lot of down time. The equipment still worked great and had many years of life left in it, but was ham-stringed by the software not being compatible with anything other the WinNT4. (Yes we even tried it on W2K and XP to no avail). Agilent even has some of the newer software set so that if it detects sp3 on XP it will refuse to install.

For some places the fast onward and upward march of OS and processor development just does not make financial sense to try to keep up with.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Jeffk464 on 10/24/2012 12:00:34 AM , Rating: 2
You could still run the old software on newer hardware couldn't you?


By damianrobertjones on 10/23/2012 4:29:27 AM , Rating: 2
As an admin I WILL roll out Server 2012 as the UI change has hardly changed how anything happens at all. It's not drastic, it's not a crazy change and in all honesty, it's easy to use.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By NellyFromMA on 10/23/2012 8:47:48 AM , Rating: 2
Have you actually seen or tried Server 2012?


By n0b0dykn0ws on 10/23/2012 9:50:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yes.


By piroroadkill on 10/25/2012 8:26:37 AM , Rating: 2
Total nonsense. Have you even tried Server 2012 or looked into the new features? It's so much better than 2008 R2, I could barely list the important new features in here.

You have to completely forget about the metro crap for a second. Server 2012 has an extremely compelling feature set, that any sysadmin worth anything would find interesting.


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