Build Windows 2011 Windows Server 8 Keynote

OK, yesterday was about aesthetics; today is meat and potatoes.  This is where we learn the back room stuff for Windows 8: the server.

Satya Nadella is the keynote speaker, president of Server and Tools (System Center, etc).  The subjects will be:

  • Windows Server 8
  • Azure
  • Visual Studio

Connected devices & continuous services describes the completion of yesterday’s subject.  PCs are consumers, servers/cloud are providers.  Design points:

  • elastic resources – cloud (public and/or private)
  • composable services – Cloud, e.g. VMM 2012 service templates
  • data as a namespace – to be honest, I guess it’s a SQL or BizTalk thing
  • identity & access – Forefront Identity Manager
  • continuous delivery – triage applications, e.g. OpsMgr 2012 Avicode

We are going to see a series of demos building of a Metro UI app, which then interacts with a cloud service running on Windows Server 8.

Jason Zander comes out to demo a Metro UI turn-based game that interacts via a cloud-based service.  I gotta say, the game looks pretty good for a demo.  Two competing users (one on phone and one on PC) are trying to shoot each other.  It was developed using VS 2010 with some new Azure SDK.  VS 11 is shown.  Looks the same to me, an IT pro Smile but apparently includes Azure SDK.  There is a pretty cool demo of a 3D model viewing/editing.  It’s the sort of thing you expect to see in a Pixar documentary, and we see how a 3D display of layered objects can be debugged from the pixel.

Satya comes back out.    The app platform (backend) is talked about now: .Net 4.5.  I won’t blog much of this dev stuff. 

Now we move onto Windows Server 8:

Application Platform

Symmetry between server and Azure.  IIS is more scalable and multi-tenant, with quality of service guarantees.  Virtualisation and cloud get a boost with a major revamp.  This is moving multi-tenant and cloud, with high availability and scalability getting a reboot.  Mission critical resource hungry services can be virtualised now.  Control by admins has been worked on.

Bryon Surace comes out:

  • Native NIC teaming
  • VHDX extends VHDs to beyond 2040 GB
  • Hyper-V Replica to provide asynchronous replication of running VMs in a consistent manner

New alternative called Storage Spaces in Windows to manage external storage.  There is a new & improved Server Manager (very Metro).  The demo shows a JBOD DASd to the server with 16 SSDs.  A LUN is shown, and a few SMB 2.2 file shares are on that LUN.

File shares have improved performance.  This enables VMs to run on file shares in a supported manner, unlike 2008/R2.  SMB 2.2 multi-channel and RDMA can team NICs for throughput and fault tolerance.    You can get huge network throughput doing this, with almost zero CPU utilisation.  RDMA uses little CPU and provides low latency. 

Hyper-V next.  Live Migration is supported between non-clustered hosts – it’s not HA; that still requires Failover Clustering.  We also get Live Storage Migration to move a VM’s files from one place (host, drive, share) to another. 

Data Platform

Here we go into Azure.  We’re in dev architecture space again.  Identity is the focus this time.  It’s an old subject, still without a complete global solution.  Odds are, if you’re a Windows 8 user, that ID will be Live ID.

There is a new Service Bus in September.  Storage geo-replication between data centres will be possible.  Bing data feeds will be available.

Hybrid Cloud

We get a demo on how to cloud enable your car using “Viper SmartStart” to do remote tracking and debugging of your car.  There is a smartphone app.  We see a live view of presenters daughter in Belleview WA, speeding (allegedly) and gas mileage all over the shop: sports driving maybe Smile  For the coolness factor, the owner of West Coast Customs (custom cars) comes out.  Microsoft are getting him to build an eCar with the latest in tech for the TV show.  They’re tweaking a 2012 Mustang with a 1967 body  Niiiiiiice.  It’ll be on Discovery USA in December.

Holy Crap!

Steve Ballmer surprises us by coming out.  “We have a long way to go still with Windows 8”.  This is good to hear. 500,000 downloads of it last night.  Ireland’s Silicon Republic is quoted.  Feedback in last 24 hours is overwhelmingly positive.  Microsoft’s aims with Windows 8:

  • New hardware form factors: tablet and slate PC
  • Cloud services: old news, but “we’re still early” in cloud services.  Still to evolve and be embraced.
  • New application scenarios
  • New developer opportunities

Windows centred focus on the business:

  • Windows 8 and Windows Live
  • Windows Server and Windows Azure
  • Windows Phone
  • Windows Reimagined

Steve seems delighted with the feedback, even on Server today.

Windows Phone:

  • 30,000 apps and 50,000 registered developers
  • 7.5 Mango just gone live with phones shopping with 500+ new features
  • New phones from variety of makers, including Nokia
  • My note: still a very minor player in units being sold.  I wonder if Mango + Windows 8 can change that?  It has potential.


“It will be Intel plus ARM” to clear up some misinformation.  One will be as important as the other. 

Note: I think Steve gets a pass for 2011 Winking smile

Windows, Windows Phone and XBox are the 3 device categories on platforms: Azure, Office, Bing and Dynamics (I guess there is pressure to sell Dynamics cos of this breakout/callout). 

Developer Opportunity:

  • 350+ million Windows devices this year.  Dwarves iPad and Apple.  What post-PC era?
  • 500 million installed Windows 7 PCs
  • 70%+ servers/Azure rising: I laugh at your fluffy penguin.
  • New commercial opportunities with Azure Marketplace and Windows Store
  • Choice with language, public/private/hybrid cloud: you choose the right one for you or your customer
  • Build apps for phone, cloud, Server: one experience from many devices.
  • Apps, content, servers, sites: choose your product
  • Sell to everyone from individual to the enterprise: cloud (Live to Azure) and apps for home or for LOB.


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