Allchin: Vista to Gain Enterprise Strength

Microsoft's group vice president of platforms, Jim Allchin, details the new enterprise-level features geared toward the IT professional.

Windows Vista will bring many enterprise-level features designed specifically for the IT professional, from enhanced security and monitoring to new diagnostic tools and far fewer reboots.

It will also introduce a new event log that has been totally revamped and which will give IT professionals well-organized views that can be aggregated together.

They will also be able to mark an event and run a task as soon as that event fires, Jim Allchin, Microsofts group vice president of platforms, told eWEEK in an interview at the Professional Developers Conference last week.

"Take Windows SuperFetch, which enhances the virtual memory system and optimizes the system based on its user history," he said.

Vista will allow memory to be automatically added to the system when a device like a USB flash memory extension is inserted.

The data will not be lost if the stick is removed, Allchin said, adding that users will get better performance if there is a USB 2.0 connection to the flash versus a USB 1.0, because performance drops if the port is slower.

"SuperFetch lets us optimize memory so that even though we are adding more code to the system [through new features], the performance is actually better."

But John Kretz, the president of Enlightened Point Consulting Group LLC, in Phoenix, is not impressed with what he has seen thus far. "Windows Vista doesnt show me much so far. I think a vast majority of users, both business and personal, will be just fine with Windows XP, and that has to be painful for Microsoft."

While Vista was being designed as a product for both enterprises and consumers, corporate customers could use group policy to turn off some of the more consumer-type features that they did not want their staff using, Allchin said.

"IT professionals are going to love the base infrastructure improvements we are doing more than virtually anything else, in my opinion, as there are so many core features that will save them money. The new deployment model and better imaging capabilities will also save customers money," Allchin said.

Some Microsoft partners and beta testers, like Carl Bass, the chief operating officer at Autodesk Inc., in San Rafael, Calif., are impressed with what they have seen in Vista.

The new Vista design environment "not only provides a very rich 3-D user experience, it has a great tool set of cool graphics that will allow our users to more fully bring their ideas to life. Together, this new UI and graphics capability will allow us to continue to deliver product innovation to our users for years to come," he said.

Asked about plans within Microsoft to increase the number of Windows versions that will be offered when Vista ships, Allchin said there are already a lot of versions, adding that some stuff might be moved around without necessarily increasing the number of versions.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about the enterprise version of the upcoming Windows Vista and a premium version of Office 12.

"Do we have enough features to do that? I dont know. Were out asking people now about that and were still getting feedback, so its too early to say. Theres a very high probability that things might change and we might move features around. We are also still developing and we could hit a roadblock on one of those features. There are also many features that we have not yet talked about, as its still very early," Allchin said.

Asked by eWEEK what the feedback so far had been about the different versions, he said that initially there had been skepticism, but this had morphed into positive feedback over time.

Some of Microsofts partners are also questioning how some of the products could be distributed, and Microsoft is still thinking about this, he said.

With regard to the feedback Microsoft had been receiving since the first Vista beta was released in late July, Allchin said a lot of testers had been trying to figure out how to turn on Aero Glass, which delivers the full-fidelity user experience on the desktop, including support for 3D graphics and animation.

"In some cases their machine and the graphics just doesnt support it. We are pushing ahead, hard, in terms of what we expect the PCs of the future to have around graphics power, and we will fall back so that you still get a good operational experience, but you may not have translucency and the like. Theres nothing we can really do about that," he said.

Allchin also made clear that WinFS, the Windows File System, will not be included in Vista when it ships.

WinFS was cut from Vista a year ago and will be made available some time after both the Vista client and server releases ship in 2006 and 2007, respectively.

When Microsoft released the first WinFS community technology preview late last month, many thought its development was ahead of schedule and speculated that it could find its way back into Vista.

But Allchin put that talk to rest.

"WinFS is not going to be part of Vista. We have the preview out there, and we are taking feedback. People will notice a dramatic change from the last time they saw it. We have revamped the way the schemas and APIs work, but it still has many more milestones to go," he said.

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