With the release of Windows 7 just around the corner, I’ve been asked by my local networking club to provide a list of essential facts for their newsletter designed to help business decision makers get up to speed with Microsoft’s latest operating system. Here’s a rundown of my favourite Windows 7 tips for businesses:
1. The worldwide release date for Windows 7 is October 22nd 2009.
2. After release, if you buy Windows 7 Professional with a new PC, you can exercise the right to downgrade to Windows XP* or Windows Vista, and then upgrade to Windows 7 at a later date without paying for an additional licence.
3. Benefits for businesses include: Better search, Faster performance, an Improved User Interface and Advanced networking support.
4. Windows 7 Professional includes a feature called ‘Windows XP Mode’, which provides near-perfect application compatibility for no extra cost - ideal for companies who have legacy applications.
5. Windows 7 Professional is the ideal version for most Small Businesses. This version can be run in a network environment with a server, and includes improved backup functionality, remote access and encryption.
6. In general, if your PC can run Windows Vista, it can run Windows 7. But if you’re not running Windows Vista, or are just not sure if your system is ready to run Windows 7, you can now check using the ‘Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor’ tool from the Microsoft Web Site.
* PCs purchased before 23rd April 2011 with Windows 7 Professional preinstalled can be downgraded to Windows XP Professional or Windows Vista Business. After this date, PCs can be downgraded to Windows Vista Business only.
Utilising the channel of VARs and OEMs (such as Peak Support) Windows Server 2008 Foundation will be released (preinstalled) on Servers in 50 countries today, with a full rollout worldwide expected for the ‘version 2’ edition.
At launch, these are the HP Servers that support the new OS:
* ML110 g5
* ML115 g5
* ML310 g5p
* DL120 g5
* DL320 g5p
These are all certified by HP to run Server 2008 Foundation, which is currently available in the UK only via an HP ROK (Reseller Option KIt).
There are also a few limitations to the product, including:
* 15 user maximum - no sharing of CALs allowed.
* Not upgradable to SBS 2008 (upgrade to Server 2008 Std. only)
* 8Gb maximum limit for RAM (512Mb minimum)
* Virtualisation not supported (no Hyper-V and not licensable as a guest in a VM)
* 64-bit only and only one single physical processor (multi-core and hyper-threaded are OK)
Most of these restrictions are understandable, as Microsoft still have to sell the regular version of Server 2008. Hats off to them, though, for listening to the SME community and coming up with a great offering for micro businesses.
An upgrade path to SBS would have been nice, but maybe there’s a reason why they didn’t include it - I’d love to find out why. (Answers on a postcard!)
As part of a tour around the UK SBS User Groups, the pair are looking for SBSCs to sign up to the BT Affiliate Programme.
It did feel rather like being sat on the ‘Dragons’ side of an episode of ‘Dragons Den’, whereby the unassuming duo felt the combined wrath of half a dozen SBSCs with plenty of first-hand experience of BT’s infamous customer service. Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, the pair put in a spirited performance, punctuated only briefly by a platter of sandwiches and some strange-tasting brown liquid which claimed to be coffee.
General concern seemed to centre around the following areas:
* Commission structure not as favourable as existing collaborative partners (e.g. ISPs)
* ‘One-way’ referrals, members not getting leads back from BT as they would with their regular partners
* Low barrier to entry could potentially damage the BT Affiliate Programme brand, and by association may impact the Partner’s reputation.
However, it was clear that some of the negative feeling was based around past experiences with BT rather than as a reflection of the Affiliate Programme itself.
In response to the above criticism, Tim made it clear that the Programme was in its infancy, and that the compensation is continually being reviewed, as well as the range of products and services being made available on the platform.
It was an interesting and lively discussion, and I’m grateful that Tim and David made it up to Solihull. In my view, the Affiliate Programme as it stands today doesn’t really seem like a great fit for SBSC, but hopefully some of the feedback they received will help them shape the programme to make it more viable in future.
This enters the market at the smaller end of the SME sector. Aimed at new and SOHO businesses, this is great news for those looking for a cost effective LOB application, or general purpose file/print server.
As a stripped down version of Windows Server 2008 (as opposed to SBS 2008) it loses the Exchange and Virtualisation functionality, however, it can still be used as a domain controller, terminal server or web server. There’s also the added benefit of not having to purchase extra Client Access Licenses for the box either.
It’s only going to be available to those businesses under 15 users, and only via OEM Server Providers, such as Peak Support Services, but the simplicity factor (and hopefully low cost) may prove very tempting for startups and companies looking for their first server.