Migrating to Windows Server 2012 after the retirement of Win2k3? Read this first.

Win2k3Organizations should be starting to plan their move off of Windows Server 2003 in anticipation of its end of support on July 14, 2015. As they evaluate their options, a key decision will be identifying the migration destination for applications and workloads.

Microsoft has three target migration destinations: Windows Server 2012, Microsoft Azure, and Office 365. Each target destination will have various licensing implications and costs that need to be examined as part of the overall migration process.

We’ll cover all of these options in a three-part series on licensing considerations for Windows Server 2003 migrations, starting now with Windows Server 2012 — a logical choice if you’re looking to simply upgrade your systems. Read on to learn more about the Windows Server 2012 migration option, including its virtual environment rights and other key licensing considerations. Continue Reading…

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Upcoming SHI webinars: Microsoft Exchange 2013, Licensing 101, and Windows Server and System Center 2012

SHI Microsoft Webinar Series

What’s new in Microsoft Exchange 2013, Windows Server 2012, and System Center 2012? Why should you migrate to any of these products, and how do you license them? Which Microsoft Volume Licensing program is the best option for your organization?

Our Microsoft Spring 2013 Webinar Series will provide the answers to these questions and more. Attendees will learn about new and discontinued product features, supported migration scenarios, and the ins and outs of Microsoft licensing, whether in an on-premise, cloud, or hybrid scenario.

Here is SHI’s March schedule of Microsoft webinars:

  • Exchange 2013. Learn how to increase user productivity, keep your organization safe, and maintain the control you want with the newest version of Exchange. When: March 14 at 2 p.m. EDT
  • Licensing 101. Uncover the ins and outs of Microsoft product licensing for applications, systems, servers, and software-as-a-service. When: March 21 at 2 p.m. EDT
  • Managing your server environment with Windows Server and Systems Center 2012. Learn how organizations of all sizes can cloud optimize their IT. When: March 28 at 2 p.m. EDT

Registration for all three events is open now. “Exchange 2013″ takes place this Thursday, so be sure to sign up soon.

As always, if you can’t make it but have questions on any of these products and/or Microsoft licensing in general, drop us a note in the comments section below.

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Is your Microsoft licensing in compliance? A quick reference guide

This is a big week for Microsoft — the Windows 8 launch today, the release of Microsoft Surface tomorrow. Media and techies have been hyping these new products for months, both for their innovation — some are calling Surface the “PC of the future” — and also for the licensing re-haul associated with them.

Caitlin already touched on the licensing changes inherent with Windows 8, so we won’t be going there today. Instead of looking forward, we thought we’d take a quick look back at how Microsoft got here. Below we’ve compiled a handy table recapping the new Microsoft products launched in 2012 and the licensing models associated with each. Let this serve as a quick reference to make sure your software licensing is in compliance. Continue Reading…

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What’s new in Windows Server 2012 and why does it matter?

The excitement about Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 is definitely hitting the marketplace, because last month I found myself fielding a ton of questions on both. When it came to Windows Server 2012 customers were concerned about the order in which they should perform their updates, the effect it will have on their existing cloud services, and the exclusive use of the Metro interface.

All of those are important issues, but the number one issue for SHI customers is how Windows Server 2012 will affect Windows OS licensing. That’s what I’d like to address today.

Windows Server 2012 will revamp the world of Windows Server OS versions, licensing, and capabilities in an effort to facilitate easy management and integration in highly virtualized public and private clouds. There are three major changes to the volume licensing of Windows Server 2012 that SHI customers need to be aware of:

Continue Reading…

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Top 4 questions customers are asking about the migration to Windows Server 2012

In my last post, I went over how those planning to switch to Windows 8 can best prepare for the conversion. However, in addition to Windows 8, Microsoft will also be gearing up to release Windows Server 2012.

My prediction is that (assuming the server is clear of any last-minute bugs), the two will be released within a month of each other. Some are even saying that they will be released on the exact same day. On June 4, Windows Server 2012 came out of its beta stage, and Microsoft made the first release candidate available for those that want to participate in the evaluation of the release.

But while discussions and previews of Windows 8 have dominated the media spotlight for the past year, Windows Server 2012 hasn’t caught much mainstream interest. However, our IT and enterprise customers have tapped me several times looking for more information on it. So today, I’d like to share the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Windows Server 2012:

1. Should customers planning on moving forward with both Windows Server and Windows 8 install them in any particular order?
The answer is no. They can move piecemeal. They could even upgrade Windows Server first, wait a year, and then go to Windows 8. As long as an older version of Windows is still supported, they can still run it and shouldn’t see any problems.

2. What is the most important thing to watch out for during these updates?
My advice is to treat this as if it were any other update. Do this by making sure that all the applications running on the desktop are going to be compatible.

3. The slogan for Windows Server 2012 is “every app to any cloud.” What effect will Windows Server 2012 have on the private cloud?
Well, it will make the cloud easier to manage for even the smallest of our customers. In fact, it can basically produce a private cloud by itself. There’s definitely going to be symmetry between on-premise installations and any cloud-based solution. I anticipate a seamless interface between those two, whereas before we might have seen more of a login-type scenario. Overall, Windows Server 2012 will provide users with a common identity and management framework, giving enterprises with highly secure and reliable cross-premises adequate connectivity.

4. The Windows 8 previews showed that users will be able to choose between the Metro interface and the traditional Windows interface. Will those options be available on Windows Server 2012?
Judging by the Windows Server 2012 release candidate, it looks like Metro will be the exclusive interface. This might take some additional adaptations on the user’s part.

Of course, there’s a lot more that can be said about this after the product has been evaluated by a significant number of users. In the meantime, if organizations are interested in participating in evaluating the release candidate, they can download the operating system by registering on the Windows Server 2012 website.

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