Microsoft said on Wednesday that it plans to offer a new version of Windows 7 designed specifically for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) customers.
Windows Thin PC (WinTPC) will be released as a beta version on Microsoft’s Connect site according to the company. The first version is expected to be available by the end of March.
Windows Thin PC is a smaller footprint, locked down version of Windows 7 designed for virtualised environments to rebuild their existing PCs as thin clients. “PCs with WinTPC will not require the VDA license that regular thin clients will need to access VDI desktops,” wrote Windows Commercial business General Manager, Gavriella Schuster.
Microsoft is not planning to charge customers for Windows Thin PC. Instead, the company will offer it as part of Microsoft’s Software Assurance offerings for customers. Microsoft’s Software Assurance Licensing allows businesses large and small to spread licence costs over multiple years and receive “free” upgrades to newer versions during the licence period.
Today Bill Laing started off day two of the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference. Bill Laing was part of the team that worked on the Windows Server 2003 development as well as 2003 R2. He started off by stating that with Server 2003 , the server OS was released in 32bit and 64bit flavors. However with Server 2008 R2 it will be strictly supported on the 64bit platform and the Itanium. He also went into a little bit of detail of how the trends have helped shape the new landscape that has brought changes in Server 2008 and now R2. The increased adoption of Multi Core CPU’s , 64bit technology and a focus on power efficiency and virtualization.
A few other things Bill touched on were:
- Enable Data center automation
- Remote Management using Server Manager
- Active Directory Administrative center built on Powershell
- Refactored Server Core 2008 R2, to natively support Powershell
- Remote Server manager supported for Windows 7 and Server 2008
- Group Policy Enhancements
- Identical user experience from work or from internet
- Cost efficient support for Brach offices.
There was also a demonstration about the new role that is in Server 2008 R2 that includes Scanning into the Print Server role. This particular role would essentially allow a user to scan a document on a company scanning station and have it uploaded and displayed on a web portal or even in SharePoint services.
Improvements to the Branch Caching allows little to no bandwidth to be used if a document has been downloaded and cached it can be quickly accessed from other machines within the company without having to wait for the file or document to be downloaded again, a big plus for companies that do not have fast broadband connections.
Another big feature I see being used by corporations is the Direct Access function which allows seamless access to corporate resources regardless if you are within the domain or not. Securely being able to access important files will help many business users.
Data Security improvements have been stepped up through allowing Group Policy to manage bit locker encryption functions which will give IT admins better control over securing their data. Something that was not utilized in 2008.
This was not all that was talked about, there was also a demonstration about the improvements when coupled with SQL Server 2008, a demo load was run on 2 servers – 1 IBM server which housed 192 logical processes and half a terabyte (yes..half a terabyte ) of ram. Also another machine by HP that was run off of 256 Itanium cores to demonstrate the better use of multi core technology and scalability.
Brian Surace, a Senior Program Manager showed a brief demo of some of the improvements to Hyper V in Server 2008 R2. Better support for Linux is integrated now. And now generates a script so it can be integrated into large scale deployments through Powershell and Server Core.
Stay tuned for the 3rd and final day of coverage.
Do you want to join the team that is bringing virtualization into the mainstream? In Windows 7, our team will be responsible for creating, mounting, performing I/O on, and dismounting VHDs (virtual hard disks) natively. Imagine being able to mount a VHD on any Windows machine, do some offline servicing and then boot from that same VHD. Or perhaps, taking an existing VHD you currently use within Virtual Server and boost performance by booting natively from it.
Do you want to have the opportunity to work on a great Core OS team at the heart of Windows? If you have big ideas and want to implement them, if you love writing code, if you love delving into operating system internals, if you want to work on high visibility projects with direct consumer and customer impact and still work in a very technical environment, then you will feel right at home in this team.
Virtualization technology has been a great success with Virtual Server and Hyper-V. With native OS support on the horizon it will become an even greater hit. Our team is making this a reality in Windows 7. Consider the simplicity of backup using a VHD, or the portability of a virtual disk backed by a single file. These are a few reasons why this technology is poised to be one of the greatest features in Windows 7–come help us achieve this goal.
From the looks of things, Windows 7′s features are beginning to look very promising and look to really make the next version of Windows stellar. With the recent talk about Windows 7′s , HomeGroup and better performance Windows 7 definately looks like the OS that Vista was destined to be. Look here as more information becomes available. With this recent development it looks as if VMware and other virtual desktop applications have some definate competition if Microsoft follows through with this. It will also open up new door ways that can change the entire windows experience for years.