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Windows 7: the untold story of how the enterprise gets snubbed

Julie Bort over at Network World interviewed me for a piece on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, specifically how they do or do not interact. My feeling on this is that the Windows 7/R2 “better together” story is a little on the weak side, that Windows 7 is more of a consumer release than a business one, and that Windows Server 2008 R2 is a much stronger value than most people now realize. Cue the headline seen above. :) Anyway…

There is a lot to like about Windows 7 for the consumer. For the enterprise, not so much. While Microsoft has added some fancy new features aimed at the enterprise (see box, below) it seems to have treated the enterprise's needs as an afterthought, contends Windows guru Paul Thurrott in an interview with Microsoft Subnet. Thurrott is editor of the SuperSite for Windows website and author of Windows Vista Secrets SP1 edition. Considering that the bulk of Microsoft's customers are businesses, its neglect here could be described as not smart.

Don't get him wrong, there are cool, eye-popping features in Windows 7 for the enterprise –- unfortunately some are randomly tied to Windows Server 2008 R2 -– which is also in beta. If you want to yank out the VPN and let Windows handle a secure connection to the server (a new feature called DirectAccess), you can. But only if all of your clients and servers are using the latest operating systems from Microsoft. That's a shame in this economy when expensive, large-scale upgrades of the entire operating system infrastructure are not going to fly. (To be fair, enterprises that have opted for Microsoft's Software Assurance deal should be covered for the license fees of an upgrade from WS2008 to R2, but that won't cover the cost of man hours).

On the other hand, the enterprise story for R2 is quite good. It is a compelling new version, despite a name that makes R2 seem as if it’s a minor upgrade when it's not. In this interview, we get Thurrott's under-the-hood view of both of these beta operating systems.

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