Spotlight on Cost

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-05-11 Print this article Print


Microsoft plans to highlight an internal research study called Spotlight on Cost, which focuses on best practices, and the use of technology for deployment and optimizing for the data center. Microsoft recently released the results of a two-year study of the impact that data center best practices could have on IT operations costs. The study shows that businesses also can realize immediate savings just by operating their existing data centers more efficiently. For example, organizations that adopted certain practices in the areas of e-mail and collaboration management reported IT costs of at least $10,000 per server per year less than those that did not. The study also found that many of the most beneficial practices, such as software imaging or cloning, automated restore and automated deployment processes, are rarely performed today.

Microsoft also will play up its "Ramp Up" program, which is part of the company's Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) suite of programs. The focus of the program is to ensure that customers have the latest and greatest for their own personal skills so we target training and resources to move from skills they know today to help bridge the gap to the latest versions of tools, technologies and frameworks.

A description of the program on Microsoft's Ramp Up site said:

"Ramp Up is a free, online, community-based learning program, with a number of different tracks that will help you build your portfolio of professional development skills. Ramp Up has a solid foundation of premium technical content from subject-matter gurus, and provides easy-to-access content in a variety of forms that guide you in learning the important skills."

Project Ramp Up features tracks on SharePoint for Developers, Visual Studio 2008, Developer Basics of Visual Studio 2005, as well as a track entitled "Java Developer: Learn .NET," among others.

Kawasaki said Microsoft also will be promoting broader use of interoperability across heterogeneous platforms from industry leaders such as IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Sun and others. Indeed, Microsoft will be promoting and playing up its participation in Project Stonehenge, an Apache Software Foundation project to develop a set of sample applications to demonstrate seamless interoperability across multiple underlying platform technologies by using currently defined World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) standard protocols.

"The goal of Stonehenge is to make interoperability easy and simple," Kawasaki said. "Many customers still don't have the training or the documentation they need so they don't try to do the integration. So we're working with Apache and companies like Sun and WSO2 and others to prove that interoperability and the WS-* standards are real."

Also at TechEd, Microsoft will emphasize the use of its Web Platform Installer. The Microsoft Web Platform Installer (Web PI) is a free tool that makes it simple to download, install and keep up-to-date with the latest components of the Microsoft Web Platform, including Internet Information Services (IIS), SQL Server Express, .NET Framework and Visual Web Developer. In addition, Version 2.0 of Web PI, currently in beta, also enables users to install popular open source ASP.NET and PHP Web applications. Web PI has had more than 200,000 downloads.

"Developers are picking up tools for Web development and Web PI is a one-stop shop to pre-install all the Microsoft Web technologies and platforms for you," Kawasaki said. He noted that Web development will be a major focus of the conference. "It will be woven throughout the sessions," he said.

Meanwhile, Kawasaki said Visual Studio 2008 was developed with many of the overarching developer concerns in mind. It delivers more than 250 new features - like Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) testing and offline support. And since the release of Visual Studio 2008, the company has continued to add a lot of new functionality, such as the Client Profile introduced with SP1. In addition the .NET Framework includes enhancements to Microsoft's REST Starter Kit, and more. And BizTalk Server 2009, which was recently released, includes support for all current platform technologies, Kawasaki said. 

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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