IT managers running to stand still, says Microsoft

Microsoft has launched Windows Server 2008 with a warning that IT managers are currently spending most of their time running to stand still.

IT managers running to stand still, says Microsoft

The head of Microsoft UK claims Server 2008 will help companies make IT a way to drive their business, rather than a mere cost centre. “80% of IT spend is on maintaining existing systems,” said Gordon Frazer, managing director of Microsoft UK at the London launch event. “Only 20% is being applied to IT innovation. We [businesses] need to spend time on thinking how we can flip this around.”

Microsoft claims it will help reduce those maintenance costs by reducing the amount of time IT managers have to spend on security fixes. “Building a secure and trusted platform is priority number one,” said Larry Orecklin, general manager of Microsoft’s server and tools division. “We’ve been able to reduce the patching required [in Server 2008] by up to 60%. Since 2003, We’ve only had four critical vulnerabilities. Compare that to Oracle, it’s had over 250,” Orecklin added, although when challenged on those figures couldn’t immediately clarify their source.

Virtual future

Microsoft spent a great deal of the presentation talking about virtualisation – even though its Hyper-V virtualisation platform for Server 2008 won’t be launched for up to six months.

Orecklin made light of rival VMware’s headstart in the virtualisation arena, claiming that the technology is still in its infancy. “Virtualisation has a tremendous amount of hype in the industry today – with good reason,” he claimed. “But for all the hype, all the talk, less than 5% of servers are virtualised today. It’s early, early days.”

Orecklin admitted that virtualisation would immediately increase complexity for IT managers, but claimed that Microsoft’s management console – dubbed System Center – would provide complete control of virtual machines, from the front-end to the server. “The more you virtualise, management becomes absolutely critical,” he said. “You want a single set of management tools – a single pane of glass to manage your entire infrastructure. That’s what System Center is.”

Orecklin also advised IT managers to use Microsoft’s free set of evaluation tools before heading down the virtualisation path. “It’s important to think about the process improvements that are necessary as well,” he concluded.

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