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1. Commentary
- Tech Tidbits: R2 and SQL Server 2005/Visual Studio 2005

2. Hot Off the Press
- US Supreme Court Rejects Microsoft Appeal Request

3. Peer to Peer
- Featured Blog: Fiddling Around with HTTP Traffic
- Tip: How can I check the health of my Group Policy Objects (GPOs) in Windows Server 2003?

4. New and Improved
- Streamline Your Business Asset Record Keeping

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==== 1. Commentary: Tech Tidbits: R2 and SQL Server 2005/Visual Studio 2005 ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, thurrott@windowsitpro.com


The tech world has been busy lately, so this week, I want to present two different topics, rather than let either one sit on the back burner for another week. Let's get started.

Windows Server 2003 R2 Hits Final Milestone, Ushers in VM Era Last week, Windows Server 2003 R2 ("release 2") entered its final phase of development with the release of its second, and final, release candidate (RC) build, RC1 (the first was called RC0). I've discussed R2 a lot in Windows IT Pro Update already, and Microsoft hasn't added any new features in this final public release (see the URL below for download details). What has changed, however, is that R2 will usher in a new era of virtual machine (VM) licensing from Microsoft. Customers who purchase R2 Enterprise Edition will be able to install that copy of R2 into as many as five VMs--in Microsoft's Virtual Server or VMware's server products--on the same machine. This clarification of VM licensing will save customers money, and, I believe, take VM technology mainstream.

Why is that, you ask? Today, most corporations use VM technology for testing purposes. Developers can test new applications, Web services, and Web applications against known configurations to see how they behave. Administrators can test network and server configuration changes in tightly controlled test environments. And Help desks can maintain a library of VMs to use as a reference when calls come in. Microsoft and VMware, however, see a big future for VM technology. And with R2 Enterprise Edition, I think we're going to see more and more VMs rolled out in production environments. Increasingly, VMs are the perfect environment for legacy OS installations and applications and for systems that are needed only at certain times, such as during peak holiday sales traffic.

In the past, maintaining new OS installations in VMs was expensive because you had to pay for a normal license for each installation, regardless of whether you used it regularly or not. R2 will change that, at least for Enterprise Edition. And when Longhorn Server ships in 2007, the Datacenter Edition of that product will also support unlimited VM installations. That, I believe, will make Longhorn Server Datacenter the ultimate hosting environment for production VMs. There's more--Microsoft is now supporting the use of Microsoft Exchange Server in a VM, for example--but that's a story for another day. In the meantime, if you're looking for an inexpensive way to virtualize your operations, give R2 a look.

Windows Server 2003 R2 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) Software
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/R2/trial/default.mspx

SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 Completed
Microsoft long ago scheduled a big launch event for SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 (and BizTalk 2006) on November 7 in San Francisco. But late last week, the company finalized both SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 and released the products to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Subscriber Downloads. If you have an MSDN membership and want early access to the final code, your time has come.

Both products have been delayed umpteen times and are years late, but developers looking for better performance and productivity would be wise to investigate both products. Visual Studio 2005 is the best version of the development suite yet, although its confusing array of product editions will be sure to frighten more people than a vintage Stephen King book. The basic gist is this: Microsoft has significantly expanded the Visual Studio product line at both the low end and the high end. The company's Express Editions ($49 each) are low-cost versions of the individual Visual Studio products (Visual Basic, Visual C#, and so on), whereas the Team Studio editions are aimed at teams of corporate developers who need to collaborate regularly on enterprise-class solutions. In the middle of all this are the more typical standard and professional editions.

SQL Server 2005 is impressive in its scope. Microsoft has completely rethought the entire three-tier architecture that developers have followed for the past decade and made it possible to run Windows .NET code from directly within SQL Server. This functionality has a few major ramifications, all positive. First, developers can write stored procedures in native .NET languages such as C# or Visual Basic (VB), giving them access to those language's advanced features. (Naturally, T-SQL is still supported as well, and is more appropriate for certain uses.) Second, because SQL Server 2005 natively hosts .NET code, remote data access is less performance-challenged than before.

SQL Server 2005, of course, offers much more than that, including high availability capabilities and data mirroring (in beta form now). But that, too, is a discussion for another day. In the meantime, head over to MSDN if you have a subscription, and take a look at these products. You might be surprised by how much has changed.

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

US Supreme Court Rejects Microsoft Appeal Request
The US Supreme Court yesterday declined a request by Microsoft that it hear the software giant's appeal of the Eolas Web browser patent infringement case. The high court gave no reason for its refusal. You can read the entire story at the following URL:
http://www.windowsitpro.com/Article/ArticleID/48317/48317.html

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

What Does It Mean to Be Compliant?
We've all heard about legal and regulatory requirements, but there are other types of compliance that might also affect you--specifically email compliance. In this free Web seminar, you'll get insights into compliance and policy issues that you need to know about, as well as suggestions on what to look for when implementing your compliance strategy, and more. Register today!
http://www.windowsitpro.com/go/seminars/compliance/?partnerref=1102emailannc

Get Ready for the SQL Server 2005 Roadshow in Europe - 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. Receive a one-year membership to PASS and one-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now.
http://www.windowsitpro.com/roadshows/sqlservereurope/index.cfm?code=1102emailannc

Get the Maximum Return on Software Investments by Optimizing Every Dollar Spent on Software
Inaccurate information about software usage causes many organizations to either overspend and buy licenses they don't use, or underspend and deny some end users access to the software they need. Attend this free Web seminar and get a 5-step plan for quickly implementing a license management program today!
http://www.windowsitpro.com/go/seminars/softwarelicense/?partnerref=1102emailannc

Accelerate Time to Recovery with Minimal Data Loss
Learn how to meet RPO (Recovery Point Objectives) and RTO (Recovery Time Objectives) with a continuous, or real-time backup system. In this free, on-demand Web seminar, you'll discover how to roll back data to any point in time – not just to the last snapshot or backup!
http://www.windowsitpro.com/seminars/continuousbackup/index.cfm?code=1102emailannc

Exploit the Opportunities of a Wireless Fleet
With the endless array of mobile and wireless devices and applications, it's hard to decide what you can do with the devices beyond providing mobile email access. It's even tougher to know how to keep it all secure. Join industry guru Randy Franklin Smith in this free Web seminar and discover what you should do to leverage your mobile and wireless infrastructure, how to pick devices that are right for you, and more!
http://www.windowsitpro.com/go/seminars/mobileandwireless/?partnerref=1102emailannc

Virtualization for the Enterprise, November 29-December 1, 2005
This conference addresses current and cutting-edge topics concerning the integration of virtualized applications throughout the enterprise. Featuring experiences and case studies from: Gap, Inc., CNA Insurance, Subaru Automotive, and Yahoo!
Sign up today at: www.ark-group.com

==== Featured White Paper ====

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Managing desktop software configurations doesn't have to be a manual process resulting in unplanned costs, deployment delays, and client confusion. In this free whitepaper, you'll learn how to manage the software package preparation process and increase your desktop reliability, user satisfaction, and IT cost effectiveness. Download your copy now and discover the value of standardizing the software packaging process. http://www.windowsitpro.com/go/whitepapers/macrovision/softwarepkgbest?code=1102emailannc

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Understanding regulatory compliance can be a daunting task. Learn security best practices that you can implement to help your company become compliant with these regulations. Download the free Global Knowledge white paper, "Simple Steps to Help Make Your Exchange Infrastructure Compliant".
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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, "Will you be upgrading to Microsoft Exchange 2003 SP2?" Here are the results from the 107 votes:
- 16% Yes, primarily for the mobility features
- 19% Yes, primarily for the antispam features
- 23% Yes, primarily for the mailbox changes
- 36% We don't use Exchange 2003
- 7% We use Exchange 2003 but aren't going to upgrade to SP2

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

New Instant Poll:
The next Instant Poll question is, "Will you be attending a SQL Server 2005 launch event?" Go to the Windows IT Pro home page and submit your vote for a) Yes, b) No, c) I don't know.
http://www.windowsitpro.com/magazine

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

Featured Blog: Fiddling Around with HTTP Traffic
Check out the latest posting to the Security Matters blog at the following URL:
http://www.windowsitpro.com/Article/ArticleID/48280/48280.html

Tip: How can I check the health of my Group Policy Objects (GPOs) in Windows Server 2003?
by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com

Find the answer here:
http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=48306

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

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The Windows IT Security Newsletter
We've expanded our content to include even more fundamentals on building and maintaining a secure enterprise. Each issue features in-depth product coverage of the best security tools available, including expert advice on the best way to implement various security components. Plus, paid subscribers now get online access to our entire online security article database (more than 1900 articles). Order now:
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==== 5. New and Improved ====
by Trisha Pendley, products@windowsitpro.com

Streamline Your Business Asset Record Keeping
Liberty Street Software recently released AssetManage 2005. This multiuser Windows application allows you to track business expenses, create inventories for multiple locations, and attach images, documents and hyperlinks to each asset. Equipment, furniture, computers, vehicles, and other assets can be organized for depreciation, tax, and insurance purposes. AssetManage 2005 includes a selection of predefined reports, or you can create your own reports with the integrated report designer. All standard barcode formats are supported and can be printed on reports and labels. AssetManage 2005 runs under Windows XP/2000/NT4/98.
http://www.AssetManageSoftware.com

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows IT Pro What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to mailto:whatshot@windowsitpro.com.

==== Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- letters@windowsitpro.com About technical questions -- http://www.windowsitpro.com/forums About product news -- products@windowsitpro.com About your subscription -- windowsitproupdate@windowsitpro.com About sponsoring UPDATE -- salesopps@windowsitpro.com

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