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March 25, 2003--In this issue:
1. COMMENTARY - Microsoft Management's Message and Future Windows Confusion
2. HOT OFF THE PRESS - Microsoft Limits Hotmail to Stop Spam
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT - Terminal Services Client Blue Screen Bug Fix - SMB Signing Hotfix Flaw - Adult Web Site Pop-Ups? - Windows Installer 2.0 Bug Fix - More Win2K Redirector Problems
4. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Attend March AD & Group Policy Seminars from Quest Software! - Get a Sample Issue of Exchange & Outlook Administrator
5. INSTANT POLL - Results of Previous Poll: RDBMSs - New Instant Poll: Windows Server 2003
6. RESOURCES - Featured Thread: New Win2K Server Setup - Tip: What's the Diskpart Utility?
7. NEW AND IMPROVED - Have Complete Server Access and Control - Turn an XP Machine into a Server - Submit Top Product Ideas
8. CONTACT US - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
* MICROSOFT MANAGEMENT'S MESSAGE AND FUTURE WINDOWS CONFUSION
As I noted last week, the 2003 Microsoft Management Summit (MMS 2003) yielded a management strategy roadmap and presented an interesting look at one of the company's future key management products: Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2004. This week, I take a closer look at these developments and a few other future technologies that will soon begin occupying the thoughts and plans of IT workers who roll out Microsoft products.
Microsoft's Management Strategy In keeping with a product strategy similar to the Microsoft Office suite, the company is working to move its management products into an integrated system called Microsoft System Center, a suite of server products that the company will begin rolling out next year. According to Microsoft, the goal of Microsoft System Center is to provide a comprehensive solution for proactively managing enterprises of all sizes and driving down the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the Windows platform.
In early 2004, Microsoft will introduce the first version of Microsoft System Center, which will include MOM 2004 (which I discuss later) and Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003. These products will include Change and Configuration Management (CCM), asset management, end-to-end application management, IT process orchestration, performance trending, reporting, and capacity planning features. Over time, the company will roll into the suite other products and services that fill in missing bits of functionality.
Microsoft didn't discuss pricing or licensing for the suite at MMS 2003, but the company had previously told me that it would consolidate MOM and SMS, so I don't know whether the products will be sold separately post-Microsoft System Center or whether the next version of the software will include components from each product. One product that was curiously absent from the Microsoft System Center plans is Microsoft Application Center, which comprises the other third of the company's management server trifecta.
MOM 2004 MOM 2004 builds on the current MOM version, adding simpler deployment and configuration tools and a host of customer-requested features, including auto-alert handling, state monitoring, a task-based operator console, broader management pack support, and better reporting tools. MOM 2004 will ship concurrently with four new management packs that will provide instance-aware monitoring, cluster support, and state-based monitoring, as well as a group of prebuilt reports, tasks, views, support advice, and diagnostics. The new reporting tools will support publish/subscribe functionality that will immediately transmit key event and performance concerns to the appropriate people. Naturally, MOM 2004 will integrate with Windows Server 2003, Active Directory (AD), and the Microsoft .NET Framework. In addition, MOM 2004 will work with other Microsoft server products such as BizTalk Server, Exchange Server, and SQL Server.
Longhorn and Blackcomb: The Next Cairo? Microsoft's management plans are pretty straightforward, but what about its upcoming Windows releases? Microsoft will likely release to manufacturing (RTM) Windows 2003 in the days ahead and launch it April 24, although customers will likely be able to obtain it weeks before that date. With a new server release in the can, let's take a short look at Microsoft's plans for future Windows client and server releases.
Before last week, future Windows plans consisted of two projects, code-named Longhorn and Blackcomb. The next client release, Longhorn, would ship in late 2004 and build off Windows XP's task-oriented interface, adding an exciting new 3D UI and a SQL Server-based file system. A year or two later, Microsoft would ship Blackcomb, a server-only update to Windows 2003. At MMS 2003, Senior Vice President Brian Valentine discussed these products during interviews with reporters; however, he revealed more of Microsoft's uncertainty about Longhorn and Blackcomb than he did about their respective timelines.
"There were some bold statements made at certain points about client-only, server-only," Valentine said. "But when you think about it, anytime you do a new client release and that release is either developer/ISV \[Independent Software Vendor\]-focused or rich-scenario-focused (around more common storage and those kinds of things), you need server support if you are going to get \[that release\] deployed in the enterprise." This statement suggests that Longhorn might include a concurrent server release to synchronize the file system work between the client and the server.
But Valentine was even more direct about the need for a Blackcomb client: If the company makes bold changes to the server product, Microsoft would need an accompanying client release to take advantage of those changes, he said. Valentine noted that Longhorn, scheduled for release in late 2004, would probably slip to 2005, with Blackcomb following about 2 years later, in 2007 or 2008.
Valentine's comments apparently raised a hornet's nest of activity at Microsoft, which was besieged by press requests for clarification. "Brian was just thinking out loud," Windows Server Group Product Manager Bob O'Brien told tech reporter Mary Jo Foley. "But there are no plans for a Longhorn Server. That is not on the boards." What could happen, however, is a limited edition Longhorn Server release, similar to the Windows Server releases the company made for the first Itanium. Or, perhaps the company could ship an add-on pack of some sort that would provide Longhorn functionality to Windows 2003.
However you look at it, Microsoft's public flailing over the next versions of its most important product line should be disturbing to anyone rolling out Microsoft technology. If the company is this befuddled in public, how confused is it internally? I'd like to see Microsoft simply state its plans for future Windows versions and then implement those plans. In concert with the recent decision to extend the support lifetime for its various products, providing customers with an even-keeled update strategy is a key component of the maturity and reliability the company simply isn't projecting at this time.
* MICROSOFT LIMITS HOTMAIL TO STOP SPAM Last weekend, Microsoft revealed that the company has limited a feature of its MSN Hotmail service to better combat spam, or junk email. Effective immediately, Hotmail subscribers can send only 100 email messages each day--far more messages than most Hotmail users send. However, that limit will help Microsoft prevent spammers from using the service to spread junk mail. This tactic follows a similar change last year that prevented Hotmail users from sending email messages to more than 50 people at a time. To read the complete story, visit the following URL: http://www.wininformant.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=38408
* TERMINAL SERVICES CLIENT BLUE SCREEN BUG FIX Do your Windows XP Home Edition, XP Professional Edition, and Windows 2000 Server Terminal Services clients crash with a stop code of 0x7F from win32k.sys? Microsoft attributes this system crash to a stack overflow that occurs when the OS closes a large number of nested windows. Given this description, I expect the Terminal Services client crash occurs when a user opens a large number of windows, either before or during a Terminal Services session. If this bug is causing the problem, after the client reboots and establishes another Terminal Services session, it crashes with the same stop code. Microsoft has released a patch that solves the stack overflow problem. The patch contains updated versions of 14 files with release dates of February 14 through March 4. You can get this update only from Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS); cite Microsoft article "Windows Stops Responding with 'Stop Error 0x7F' Error Message" ( http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=814789 ) as the reference.
WEB-EXCLUSIVE ARTICLES: The following items are posted on the Windows & .NET Magazine Web site. For the complete story, use the following link and scroll to the appropriate article. http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=38425
- SMB Signing Hotfix Flaw - Adult Web Site Pop-Ups? - Windows Installer 2.0 Bug Fix - More Win2K Redirector Problems
* ATTEND MARCH AD & GROUP POLICY SEMINARS FROM QUEST SOFTWARE! How do you enhance AD security without slowing down business? Join Quest Software for a half-day seminar: Advanced Active Directory and Group Policy Management--nationwide throughout March. Learn how to plan effectively for migration to AD, simplify management and security using Group Policy and more. Register today, seats are limited! http://www.quest.com/landing/winnetmag_031003.asp
* GET A SAMPLE ISSUE OF EXCHANGE & OUTLOOK ADMINISTRATOR Exchange & Outlook Administrator, the monthly print newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine, gives you the in-depth articles you need to secure, maintain, and troubleshoot your messaging environment. Try an issue of Exchange & Outlook Administrator, and discover for yourself what our expert authors know that you don't. Click here! http://www.exchangeadmin.com/rd.cfm?code=fsei233xup
* RESULTS OF PREVIOUS POLL: RDBMSs The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Which relational database management systems (RDBMSs) are in use at your company?" Here are the results from the 253 votes.
- 39% Microsoft SQL Server - 26% Oracle and SQL Server - 2% DB2 and SQL Server - 17% Oracle, DB2, and SQL Server - 16% Other
* NEW INSTANT POLL: WINDOWS SERVER 2003 The next Instant Poll question is, "When will your organization roll out Windows Server 2003?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Within 6 months of its release, b) In late 2003, c) In 2004, d) In 2005, or e) We have no plans to implement Windows Server 2003. http://www.winnetmag.com/magazine
* FEATURED THREAD: NEW WIN2K SERVER SETUP Shelly's company has installed its first Windows 2000 server with Windows XP Professional Edition workstations. The server and workstations are talking to each other, but the workstations aren't pulling the Group Policy or logon script from the server. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL: http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=54&tid=56367
* TIP: WHAT'S THE DISKPART UTILITY? ( contributed by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com ) Diskpart is similar to the MS-DOS Fdisk utility, which lets you create and view partitions from the command line. However, Diskpart does much more than Fdisk. In addition, the Diskpart UI matches the graphical interface of the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Disk Management snap-in. Diskpart is part of the "Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit" and the "Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Resource Kit." (Microsoft includes Diskpart as a core utility in Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP.) You can download the tool for free from Microsoft's Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/techinfo/reskit/tools/new/diskpart-o.asp . To run Diskpart, type diskpart at the command prompt, then press Enter. Rather than relying on command-line execution, you actually run commands inside the Diskpart environment. When you're finished, type exit to leave the Diskpart environment. For example, the screen might display
C:\Documents and Settings\john>diskpart
Microsoft DiskPart version 1.0 Copyright (C) 1999-2001 Microsoft Corporation. On computer: TRINITY
C:\Documents and Settings\john>
during a Diskpart session.
* HAVE COMPLETE SERVER ACCESS AND CONTROL Altusen launched KVM on the NET, a keyboard/video/mouse (KVM) solution that gives you complete server access and control. KVM on the NET includes advanced encryption technology, password protection, and user filters so that you can manage networks safely from any location by using a LAN, WAN, or the Internet. For pricing, contact Altusen at 949-453-8885 or 866-258-8736. http://www.altusen.com
* TURN AN XP MACHINE INTO A SERVER ThinSoft released WinConnect Server XP, software that can turn a Windows XP machine into a server so that you can have as many as 21 simultaneous remote desktop connections. The software lets multiple RDP-enabled thin-client devices connect to and run Windows applications. For pricing, contact ThinSoft at email@example.com. http://www.thinsoftinc.com
* SUBMIT TOP PRODUCT IDEAS Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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