New Anti-Piracy Tools Will Delay Enterprise Adoption of Vista

Many enterprises will not be allowed to use the new tools until they are available for existing production servers like Windows Server 2003, which isn't expected until some six months after Vista is released.

The new anti-piracy and validation tools that Microsoft plans to ship starting with Windows Vista and Longhorn Server will help ensure that there will be little corporate uptake of these operating systems in 2007, according to analysts.

That is because when Windows Vista is released to manufacturing in the next month, it will include the volume-license KMS (key management service), which will also be available for the beta of Windows Server Longhorn.

The same applies to Microsofts Volume Activation Management tool, which will help with proxy activation. That tool can be run on a single machine that talks to all the machines in, say, a lab, and harvests the hardware identity data from them.

The single proxy machine talks to Microsoft, gets the activation identities back for all the machines, and then shoots this out to those machines and activates them. Customers can also use this method to activate their entire organization.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about the moves Microsoft has made to combat Vista piracy.

But the problem is that many enterprises are not allowed to run client or beta server software in production environments, so they will not be able to use these new tools until they are made available for existing production servers like Windows Server 2003, which is expected some six months after Vista is released to manufacturing.

"Those who are affected by this will have to get a waiver from their IT organization, use MAK [Multiple Activation Keys] or even OEM-activated machines," Thomas Lindeman, senior product manager for Microsofts Software Protection Platform, told eWEEK.

"That has been the roughest thing we have gone through with this new platform and the new technologies, and we just couldnt get that worked on in time," he said.

But the consequence of the delay in getting the tool out for existing production servers will be a delay in the testing of Vista and Longhorn Server and the rollout of those technologies by enterprises, analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group told eWEEK Oct. 4.

/zimages/4/28571.gifIs mandatory Windows validation a security risk? Click here to read more.

"The issue here is that KMS is what manages this, and you will have to run it on a Vista desktop machine or a beta of the Vista server. The proxy will not run on an existing Windows production server, like Windows Server 2003, at launch, only on the beta Windows Longhorn server," he said.

"Most IT folks dont deploy beta servers in production—some do, but they are clearly in a tiny minority. This does help assure that we are unlikely to get much corporate take-up in early 2007 outside of tests and early-adopter customers," Enderle said.

Next Page: Most enterprise are looking to a 2008 Vista rollout.