No Windows Blue In View: MMS 2013 Kicks Off

The Microsoft Management Summit 2013 (MMS 2013) conference commenced in Las Vegas today with a keynote showcasing live demonstrations of how to use Windows Server 2012 for data centre optimisation and BYOD management for the 5000 attendees. But there was one technology that was deliberately nowhere in sight: the promised Windows Blue updates that are expected mid-year.

We know that Window Blue is an official update, though it won't emerge under that name, and that as well as tweaks to the main Windows 8 interface it will also include improvements to the Windows Server line. However, Microsoft consciously avoided talking about any forthcoming features in the opening MMS 2013 keynote. The reason? The company wanted to emphasise features that are actually available for current deployment.

That approach faced its own challenges. "We've lost the Internet in this part of the building and every demo is live," VP Brad Anderson announced as the keynote commenced. With connectivity not fully restored until two hours later, the presenters resorted to using their phones to create temporary hotspots to deliver the demonstrations. Those included using Virtual Machine Manager to model applications; using StorSimple for create cloud-based storage pools; using System Center Advisor to identify potential application bottlenecks; and using Azure Active Directory for document-level control of access policies based on the device being used at the time.

A handful of new products were announced at the opening of the event, including previews of System Center Management Pack for Windows Azure and System Center Advisor Connector for Operations Manager. Windows Azure Backup, which debuted in a trial version last September, has also been expanded into a full paid preview.

As for those official Blue updates? Seems we'll have to wait until TechEd North America in June. "That is where we're going to look in detail at the next wave of innovation" in Microsoft's server line, Anderson said. (Lifehacker will be there for that event, and you can be too if you enter and win our TechEd competiton).

Lifehacker's World Of Servers sees me travelling to conferences around Australia and around the globe in search of fresh insights into how server and infrastructure deployment is changing in the cloud era. This week, I'm in Las Vegas for the Microsoft Management Summit 2013, looking for practical guidance on deploying and managing Windows servers.


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