Subject: General Tech | July 2, 2013 - 10:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows server, technet, microsoft, IT, evaluation software, enterprise
In a surprising announcement, Microsoft stated that it will be retiring the TechNet software evaluation subscription service. The TechNet service gave IT professionals and enthusiasts the ability to evaluate its software products before committing to buying licenses and doing a full roll out on production machines. It also provided support and information labs to subscribers.
Fortunately, it is not being shut down immediately. Microsoft will cease offering new subscriptions on August 31, 2013.
Therefore, if you are interested in renewing an existing subscription or buying a new TechNet subscription, you have a little under two months to purchase one. Microsoft will stop selling subscriptions on August 31, 2013. If you are purchasing the subscription as a renewal to an existing one, you must buy the subscription before August 31, 2013 but do not need to activate it immediately. You will need to activate your purchased TechNet sub by September 30, 2013.
Further, TechNet subscribers will retain access to all of their traditional benefits until either the end of the subscription or September 30, 2014 (whichever comes first, depending on when you activate your subscription). After that point, users will lose access to the subscriber's portal which gives out downloads and keys.
It should be noted that the TechNet website itself is not going away, at least not for awhile. The paid benefits are being discontinued, however.
According to Microsoft, the company is discontinuing its services as a result of a combination of factors that includes a transition towards free evaluation software as opposed to putting evaluation copies behind a pay-wall. Microsoft also mentioned piracy and concerns with those subscribers abusing the system and selling keys (ie. on eBay), but that it was not the primary motivator in favor of shutting down TechNet.
Retiring TechNet is a bit surprising, but Microsoft has been moving in the direction of offering more free trials and evaluations in the past few years. Windows 7 and 8 enjoyed quite a few free testing software releases at various development stages. The company also offers up trials its Azure cloud computing platform and electronic/sample labs of its server software. TechNet did have the benefit of licenses that did not expire after 90 days (or thereabouts), as well as providing access to multiple copies of software, downloadable ISOs, and a catalog of all its software SKUs in a centralized place.
Considering MSDN and its various spark subscriptions are still alive and well, canceling TechNet seems like an odd choice, but at least Microsoft is giving IT departments and enthusiasts advanced warning and up to a year to prepare to transition to one of the other (unfortunately more expensive) subscription services or see if the company's free offerings are "good enough" by next year.
More information can be found on the official TechNet website.
What do you think about Microsoft's decision to axe paid TechNet subscriptions?
Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2012 - 09:37 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: HyperV, microsoft, windows server, WS2012, vmware, virtualization
Today is launch day for WS2012, the first new Microsoft server OS many years and it brings with it a host of changes. While advertisers talk about 'the Cloud', server admins are into virtualization and that is a big part of the update to WS2012, with Hyper-V arriving an integral feature of the new server OS and highlights Microsoft's next target. They've demonstrated the robustness of their virtualization implementation by running Bing and TechNet on Hyper-V, something very important for a relatively new piece of enterprise software to accomplish. The specifications are impressive, from the amount of CPUs and addressable memory which can be granted to a VM, to the virtual Level-2 switches which can be created. Of course it is not all virtuality, a new ReFS disk format and built in file deduplication make this a much more impressive upgrade than the previous Server 2003 to Server 2008. Read more and catch some movies at The Register.
"In 1985, Commodore held the UK launch of the Amiga 1000 at the World of Commodore Show at the Novotel in Hammersmith. Twenty-seven years later, Microsoft used the same venue to host the Technical Launch of Windows Server 2012."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- My six days with Windows 8 @ The Tech Report
- Intro to the Paravirtualization Spectrum With Xen (Part 2) @ Linux.com
- Flash slash at OCZ: New CEO cuts nearly 200 jobs, 150 products @ The Register
- Apple patches security flaws in Safari @ The Inquirer
- Elpida says acquisition by Micron approved by Tokyo court @ DigiTimes
- 3D Printing vs Patents and Gun Controls @ Benchmark Reviews
- D-Link DIR-865L @ Hardware.info
- Touring Microsoft, Sony and Apple Stores on Windows 8’s Launch Day @ TechSpot
- Rapture Game Studios @ LanOC Reviews
- Bjorn3D/Kingston – Get Ready For The Holidays
Subject: General Tech | July 6, 2012 - 10:12 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows server, windows pricing, windows, virtual machines, software, server, operating system, enterprise
Earlier this week we covered the pricing for Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 consumer-grade operating system. Now, the company has released pricing information for the enterprise side of things, mainly for its non-OEM SKUs of Windows Server 2012. With Server 2012, Microsoft has simplified its lineup with four versions – one of which is only for OEMs.
Live Migration will allow virtualized storage to be moved in and out of server instances in real time without restarts.
The three versions that businesses can purchase and install themselves includes Datacenter, Standard, and Essentials. The lowest-tier version is called Foundation and will the version that comes pre-installed from OEMs. The Datacenter version has the most features and is the most lenient on the licensing by allowing businesses the full Windows Server 2012 functionality as well as unlimited virtual server instances. You’ll have to pay for those features, however as the Datacenter SKU is priced at $4,809. On the low end is Essentials which strips out licensed use of virtual instances of Server 2012 and also limites the number of user accounts that can access the server to 25. It will cost $425, which isn’t terribly expensive but is obviously aimed at small businesses. Interestingly, Microsoft states that Essentials has a simplified interface that is “pre-configured” for running cloud services. In the middle of those two extremes is Windows Server 2012 Standard which will run $882 USD and allows two virtualized instances as well as the full Windows Server functionality.
While Microsoft has not released pricing for its OEM-only Foundation version, they have announced that it will be limited to a max of 15 user accounts and no virtualization rights. The table below details the above information in a simplified table, courtesy Microsoft.
|Edition||Feature Comparison||Licensing Model||Pricing (USD)|
|Datacenter||Unlimited virtual instances, full Windows functionality||Processor + CAL||$4,809|
|Standard||Two virtual instances, full Windows functionality||Processor + CAL||$882|
|Essentials||No virtualization rights, Simple interface pre-configured for cloud services||Server (25 user account limit)||$425|
|Foundation||No virtualization rights, general purpose server functionality||Server (15 user account limit)||Not Listed|
As Martin Brinkman explains, the top-two tiers are based on a processor licensing model which means that each version is allowed to run on up to two physical processors. The Datacenter version takes that a step further by allowing an unlimited number of virtual machines on those two physical processors while Standard allows two virtual machines on a system with up to two physical processors. To figure out how many licenses you will need to purchase, you can get by with half the number of physical processors. At around five Windows Server 2012 Standard licenses, it starts to become more economical to go with the Datacenter version if you will mostly be spinning up virtualized servers.
Interestingly, Windows Home Server is missing from the above list, and it looks like that is not a mistake. Microsoft has stated in its licensing FAQ (PDF) that it expects home and small business users to move to the Essentials ($425) version for their home server needs. Not exactly the answer that many users are going to want to hear. For those not wanting to spend that much, Microsoft is keeping Windows Home Server 2011 alive until the end of next year (12-31-13), and you will be able to buy Home Server 2011 in an OEM machine until 2025. Fortunately, a system builder version of Windows Home Server 2011 can be found for around $50 and it can support up to 10 users. On the other hand, it won’t have the neat Windows 8-based server features. It will be up to you to decide whether the $400+ price for Essentials is worth it for you home/small business needs.
Just as Microsoft has released a Consumer Preview version of Windows 8, you can download a Release Candidate of Windows Server 2012 to see what the new features are and if they are worth the money. More information on the pricing and various versions can be found here. What do you think of the new Windows Server SKUs?
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