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1/29/2008
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Microsoft's Muglia On Windows Server 2008, Data Center Trends

Microsoft senior VP Bob Muglia discusses the upcoming launch of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, and other topics.

Microsoft senior VP Bob Muglia has seen a lot in his 20 years at the company, but the leader of Microsoft's server and tools business calls the upcoming launch of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008 his biggest launch to date.

InformationWeek recently sat down with Muglia to talk about the launch, Microsoft's vision of the data center's future, the company's role in the services revolution, competition with Linux, and the idea of Microsoft as a company in flux. Here is an edited version of that conversation, which Muglia led off.




Bob Muglia

Muglia: We're excited about how the data center's going to evolve in [the next five years], how the lifecycle of application development and the connections between different roles within IT can be brought together in a more cohesive way and how much more dynamic the data center environment will be.

The major announcements we're making from a long term perspective are around filling out the portfolio so we have a whole set of tools for the IT professional, which we don't have today. We've introduced Visual Studio Team System to provide more of a complete solution for developers, but there's still more work to do there. We've got a lot more work to do completing the process side from IT's perspective and from management.

We're working on components of gluing things together, the most important of which is modeling. We have a substantive effort underway I think will be transformative to the way people work. [It's] based on the SML standards, but is also innovative. I'm pleased to see how Microsoft has been able to work with other companies and take a lead in developing standardized models for the industry.

The other piece that's important in this is virtualization. We feel good how we'll be able to evolve [virtualization] products into the data center of the future. One of the key things about that is the work that we do around application virtualization and state separation and in the investments we have in our Boston lab, where we acquired Softricity. [That research is] central in our ability to take the virtualized infrastructure in a data center and bring together an operating system image with an application and configuration data.

Today all those things are together, and it's a maintenance nightmare because you've got 3,000 applications, that means you have 3,000 images. The more realistic thing is to take a core set of operating systems and middleware and the individual configuration that will bring those things together on a runtime basis.

It was interesting to see that VMWare announced the acquisition of Thinstall, a competitor of what Softricity was. It'll be interesting to see if VMWare's following our lead now.

InformationWeek: Big picture, what are the key things that should make us care about this set of releases in particular?

Muglia: This set of releases builds that whole virtualization infrastructure and makes major strides forward on the application platform. I think the whole generation coming out together really provides organizations with the next opportunity to get reductions in cost, and improvements in productivity from an app dev perspective.

InformationWeek: What does Microsoft see as major drivers toward corporate data center strategies and how are companies going to be able to address them with this set of products?

Muglia: Virtualization is a key driver, and we've really built [Windows Server] 2008 to run in a virtualized environment. The usage as a percentage of total servers is still quite low, but we think over the next five year period virtualization will be used by the vast majority of servers.

Another key is the flexibility of deployment that exists, in terms of enterprises being able to deploy server images that fit their precise needs, hence Server Core. That's another example of the kinds of stuff we're doing that's well suited to virtualization but also focused on allowing customization.

Another dimension is in productivity of developers, enabling them to quickly develop applications to meet business needs, whether it's on the server side or the new tools for writing server applications, the integrated Ajax developing capability, all those things.

There's also the middleware components that exist like Windows Communication Foundation, where we're being able to write SOA and Web service-based apps. SOA web-based infrastructure is growing; it's becoming a centerpiece. I think it's pretty widely recognized that WCF is a gold standard in the industry.

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