I attended a Microsoft road show to day that spoke of Small Business Server 2008 and Essential Server 2008, their inclusions, target market and other nitbits. The roadshow also spoke of the new Live experience, Popfly, and a few other Microsoft technologies, that, while not entirely original or new, were quite impressive.
Microsoft Small Business Server 2008 is aimed at the very small business, between five and twenty five users. It’s all inclusive, giving you file storage, print serving, active directory, exchange and forefront. A premium edition is also available, although aimed at a slightly larger target market which grants an additional server license as well as Microsoft SQL server 2008 Standard Edition. More information can be found here.
The Essentials version of the above software is somewhat more technical and aimed at business that have their own incorporated IT department. Ideally in use by companies that have more than 100 users, Essentials splits some of the server roles, ideally displacing load over four sevrers (or virtual servers). Again, the license is all inclusive, whereas a Premium Edition again provides access to SQL server.
By being more technical, it usually means that the software is more customizable and configurable by avoiding wizards and instead allowing a greater degree of control and flexability to the IT department. Mostly, however, it is very similar to Small Business Server. You can find more information here.
Another big push from the roadshow was the adoption of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Office 2007. I can see why. For a fair sized enterprise, with Software Assurance, the option for Windows Vista Enterprise Edition becomes available, along with the option of Microsofts Desktop Optimization Pack, which sounds very nice and impressive.
Essentially it asissts in the deployment of software, the detection of faults, the prediction of possible hardware faults, the ability to stream applications to workstations such that the user can continue to perform their duty while the technical department fixes the issues in the background. Smart. But I would have to see it to believe it.
The main reason for this post, however, is that my skill base quite obviously needs to be brushed up and that it appears to be becoming increasingly more difficult to stay abreast of the skill edge. It used to be that there were one or two products that you needed to know really well and then a general knowledge of the inner workings of the beige-box would suffice. No longer.
Now there is a need to understand Active Directory from Windows 2000 through 2008, SQL Server, Exchange, Forefront and ISA, Network Design and Deployment. There’s three versions of Windows Server that needs to be understood, four workstation operating systems (five or six if you still have to deal with NT 4.0 or, gods forbid, Windows 95 – and ME is excluded by majority vote). Mind, Vista has so many different versions that it can be quite difficult to properly administer and run the OS all by itself. Then there’s Linux.
That’s just the operating systems, then there’s all the applications and their revisions. Eish. So much to do. It is no wonder that one must have a real passion for IT to keep in this game. It’s more than just knowing how to configure this, or perform that duty, it’s more of some kind of deep fascination of the functionality of the circuitry, the ability to make things just so, the enjoyment of watching a piece of text turn into a piece of code, and seeing that code work on the domain.
You have to love IT to keep in this game and to excel at it. Those that treat IT as just a job, they aren’t the ones that will keep up with the tech, the trends, the knowledge that you, as a business owner, requires. Eventually they will become redundant – you can identify these people as those that say Windows XP isn’t stable, that resist Vista as if it is the coming of the Anti-Christ (although I don’t recommend the move, I’m going to install it on my notebook).
I love IT, it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. But I have let my skills slide somewhat, so it’s time to up them – a lot!
Anyway, I hope this makes up for the missed post yesterday, leave it at it was a bad, bad day.