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1. Commentary
- Microsoft Makes its First Midmarket Move

2. Hot Off the Press
- Exclusive: Longhorn Beta 1 Schedule

3. Peer to Peer
- Featured Thread: Deny Access to this Computer from the Network
- Tip: What options exist for tracking Active Directory (AD) changes?

4. New and Improved
- Monitor Crucial Resources

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==== 1. Commentary: Microsoft Makes its First Midmarket Move ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, thurrott@windowsitpro.com


Midsized businesses are a curious lot. They're not the largest business market by size or revenue, but they do represent a sizable market and, I suspect, a sizable percentage of Windows IT Pro Magazine readers. Microsoft uses various methods to measure its business customers. To determine what constitutes a midsized business (or what we might call a midmarket company), the software giant counts connected PCs. Twenty-five or fewer connected PCs constitutes a small business. Five hundred or more PCs represents an enterprise or corporate customer. The midmarket sector encompasses businesses between those two sizes.

How many customers does Microsoft have in each segment? According to the company, it has at least 40 million small business customers, 1.2 million midsized businesses, and 18,000 enterprise customers worldwide.

There's another important way in which these market segments differentiate themselves. Small businesses, naturally, don't have much of an IT staff and often outsource server maintenance. Midsized companies have a small cadre of IT staff, but they're often busy troubleshooting problems and don't have much time to plan or deploy technology upgrades. On the high-end, enterprises not only have competent and professional IT staff, they usually have specialized experts, with certain people focusing on particular technologies, such as databases or email.

Most of you are probably aware that Microsoft makes a Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 product for small businesses. This product bundles Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft ISA Server 2004, and, in the high-end version, Microsoft SQL Server 2000, into a cohesive, easy-to-install-and-manage package. Microsoft has opened up new revenue possibilities for its partners by making SBS easy to remotely manage as well.

For the enterprise, Microsoft offers a full suite of products, including a variety of niche products that meet specific high-end customer needs. Unlike the SBS bundle, however, these products don't offer any hand-holding technology and must be integrated manually by well-trained IT staff.

Last week, Microsoft announced a software bundle that seeks to do for midsized businesses what SBS does for small businesses. However, Microsoft's midmarket moves don't include a new product suite with enhanced managements tools, as SBS does. Instead, Microsoft is basically sweetening the deal on a variety of Windows Server System software by offering the products bundled at a 20 percent discount. The company is also providing guidance for migrating, deploying, and maintaining these products.

The bundle is a good deal, I guess, assuming you want (or need) all these products. Here's what you get in the product bundle, which is called Windows Server System for Medium Businesses: Three copies of Windows 2003 Standard Edition, one copy of Exchange 2003 Standard Edition, one copy of Microsoft Operations Management (MOM) 2005 Workgroup Edition, and 50 combined CALs for Windows and Exchange. The cost? About $6400 in the United States or 20 percent off the regular Open License pricing of the individual products. Furthermore, businesses can also purchase as many as 250 of these new combined CALs for $76 each or 20 percent off the typical cost of individual Windows and Exchange CALs. This, too, is a good deal.

Microsoft isn't just dropping prices, however. The biggest problem facing midsized businesses today, perhaps, is that the small IT staff found in most of these businesses is often overrun with troubleshooting problems and can't proactively plan for future upgrades. They reboot crashed servers and fix problems with users' desktops. They patch software and maintain legacy systems such as Windows NT 4.0 and Exchange 5.5. In short, their work days are often hellish, and lower pricing isn't going to be enough to get these people to upgrade.

Fortunately, Microsoft has a lot of prescriptive guidance that can help. It can help you examine your infrastructure and decide where to start and which products to install and deploy first. This information, unfortunately, is currently found only in a new TechNet Web site called the Midsize Business IT Center (See the URL below), and, if you can believe this, in an upcoming Microsoft Press book called "Windows Server System Deployment Guide for Midsized Businesses." I hope that a future generation of this software will integrate the prescriptive guidance directly into the products so that they can intelligently assist IT staff with deployments.

That type of help, alas, is probably years away. So, although midsized businesses can't yet benefit from the wonderful management tools Microsoft offers with SBS, they can at least save some money and, with a little effort, plan a smart migration strategy. They can also start taking advantage of a service that small businesses have been enjoying for years: Midsized businesses can outsource certain IT management tasks to service-oriented Microsoft partners, who can remotely monitor their infrastructures for them. I'll be interested to see a year from now how many midsized businesses decide to go this route.

Regardless, this is just the first small step in what I hope will be a multiphase attack on the problems that midsized businesses face. It can't happen quickly enough.

Midsize Business IT Center
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itsolutions/midsizebusiness/default.mspx?

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==== 2. Hot Off the Press ====
by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

Exclusive: Longhorn Beta 1 Schedule
According to my sources at Microsoft, the software giant has set its sights on July 27 as the release date for Longhorn Beta 1, although that date obviously could slip if the company is unable to hit internal bug requirements. The current escrow build for Longhorn Beta 1 is 5101, a few builds older than build 5103, the current internal build in the beta 1 fork.
http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=47013

==== Events and Resources ====
(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro: http://www.windowsitpro.com/events )

Identify the Key Security Considerations for Wireless Mobility
Wireless and mobile technologies are enabling enterprises to gain competitive advantage through accelerated responsiveness and increased productivity. In this free Web seminar, you'll receive a checklist of risks to factor in when considering your wireless mobility technology evaluations and design. Sign up today and learn all you need to know about firewall security, transmission security, OTA management, management of third-party security applications, and more!
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New Cities Added--SQL Server 2005 Roadshow in a City Near You
Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server 2005. SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve your database computing environment. Attend and receive a 1-year membership to PASS and 1-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now!
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Integrate Your Compliance System With Backup and Recovery
Discover the issues involved with integrating your compliance system with backup and recovery, including backup schedules, pros and cons of outsourcing backup media storage and management, the DR implications of backing up compliance data, the possibility of using alternative backup methods to provide backup and compliance in a single system, and more. You'll learn what to watch out for when combining the two functions and how to assess whether your backup/restore mechanisms are equal to the challenge.
http://www.windowsitpro.com/seminars/backupandrecovery/index.cfm?code=0713emailannc

Influencers 2005: Thriving In The Face Of Regulation: How to Accommodate the New Corporate Governance Regime and Achieve Optimum Financial Performance
Join Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the SEC, Arnold Hanish, and Scott Mitchell as they discuss the most important management challenge facing businesses today--Wednesday, July 20 at 11:00 a.m. EDT. Register here:
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==== Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll:
The voting has closed in Windows IT Pro's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "How many hours do you work in a typical week?" Here are the results from the 335 votes:
- 20% Up to 40 hours
- 49% 41-50 hours
- 24% 51-60 hours
- 5% 61-70 hours
- 3% More than 70 hours

(Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.)

New Instant Poll:
The next Instant Poll question is, "What size company do you work for?" Go to the Windows IT Pro home page and submit your vote for a) Less than 25 connected PCs, b) 25 to 500 connected PCs, or c) More than 500 connected PCs.
http://www.windowsitpro.com/magazine

==== 4. Peer to Peer ====

Featured Thread: Deny Access to this Computer from the Network
Forum reader al68 writes that he created a user account and every time the PC reboots, the user name reappears in the "Deny Access to this computer from the network" list. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:
http://forums.windowsitpro.com/web/forum/messageview.aspx?catid=96&threadid=42287&enterthread=y

Tip: What options exist for tracking Active Directory (AD) changes?
by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com

Find the answer at the following URL: http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=46990

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==== 4. New and Improved ====
by Angie Brew, products@windowsitpro.com

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