The era of Cloud-based solutions is all about tapping into the best apps as services -- when and where you need them. That’s why Microsoft’s Office 365 for the iPad launch, along with its recent partnership with Salesforce were welcome news for end users.
In our last post we talked about the new features in Exchange 2013, and why it’s time to start planning your upgrade. Now for part two - How to Upgrade to Exchange 2013.
As many of you may already know, support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 will be coming to an end in April 2014. Each product that Microsoft releases has a lifecycle that determines how long it maintains and supports the product. Exchange 2003 mainstream support is already over. And, Exchange Server 2003 extended support ends on April 8, 2014.
Internal IT security personnel at SMBs may have their work cut out for them when it comes to integrating the newest version of Microsoft Office into existing security procedures. According to Microsoft, Office 2013 represents a significant departure from the traditional IT risk management paradigm. According to the company's recently released security overview of the product, Office 2013 presents companies with "a fundamental change from computer-centered identity and authentication to user-centered identity and authentication. This shift enables content, resources, most recently used lists, settings, links to communities, and personalization to roam seamlessly with users as they move from desktop, to tablet, to smartphone, or to a shared or public computer."
A few worrying financial reports just produced by Microsoft suggest at first sight that they may be losing their grip on the desktop. Coming in the same week as their announcement of the latest updates to their Office suite, you might think that the timing could not have focused any more attention on the product line. A closer look at the financial situation however reveals a slightly different story. If you look at their revenue, you’ll see that they have continued to increase at a steady four percent but their results were hit by two items that had been previously announced – one relating to funding upgrades for Windows 8 and the other related to its acquisition of aQuantive as part of its development of online services.
Microsoft has introduced the latest versions of Office 365 in their attempt to move people to cloud computing. You might think that a company who has dominated the desktop so completely over the years would be looking to further consolidate that position. Some had even thought that their latest version of the productivity suite would be somehow streamlined and simplified in how it was delivered. This was prompted by the introduction of the Metro interface in Windows 8. Surely, some have said, Office would not be allowed to be presented as a legacy application. Well, the answer is that it seems to be somewhere in the middle, and this raises interesting questions about Microsoft’s strategies for traditional computers and touch-based computing.
Most Windows 7 users are quite happy with their operating system, believing that Microsoft is a solid IT company that really ‘hit one out of the park this time’. Like any OS, however, Windows 7 tends to bog down over time, taking longer to boot up. Those feeling like their computer is really starting to suck, however, do not have to throw in the towel and buy a new system.
Now that the much-anticipated public preview of Microsoft's Windows 8 has come and gone, industry insiders are expressing strong doubts as to the suitability of the new operating system to provide IT solutions for business users. At issue is the "schizophrenic user interface behavior" present in Windows 8, which makes heavy use of a feature known as the Metro layer. This layer was designed for use on tablet computers but is now being extensively integrated into the Windows 8 experience.
Many small and medium businesses rely on IT solutions such as Microsoft Office products to process daily workflow, yet the Microsoft suite of products does not provide for all of the needs a modern company is likely to experience. For example, Microsoft Office does not yet provide a seamless online/offline interface for working with documents in either location, nor does it provide native clients for many of today's most popular mobile devices. True, there are workaround for some of these challenges, but some companies have elected to migrate away from Microsoft Office entirely due to them, and to the perceived high cost of provisioning all workstations with full licenses for the product suite.
Microsoft has recently released Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) as part of System Center 2012. This tool, positioned as a single, unified management system for virtualized environments, lacks support for outdated versions of Microsoft's virtualization platform but supports all versions of Hyper-V that coordinate with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 with Service Pack 2. It also functions in cooperation with systems using Hyper-V Server 2008 R2.