Watching and following the Macworld Expo for more than 2 years, the Zune launch event and a few other launch events it was nothing but a matter of information as to when such an event will be taking place in my neighborhood and I shall pause my life for a day. 3 weeks back I got a mail in my inbox that said that Microsoft will be having their launch event of 3 of their major products other than the Windows Desktop OS, namely – Windows Server 2008; Visual Studio (VS) 2008 & MS SQL Server 2008. Being a Microsoft event there was no chance that I was going to miss it and I had my road blocks to overcome inorder to reach the event. My biggest battle was the faith vs loyalty test that i had to diplomatically overcome which I successfully did and finally reached the venue of the event 2 and a half hours before the scheduled time, seems unbelievable but yeah its true i did. (I had to make sure that I did not loose my enthusiasm while traveling with hooligans in the local train)

Ok however enough with the boring stuff, i registered at the venue got my id card and food coupons when i thought of also posting live updates on a forum that I frequent and I did that from my cell phone from within the hall unfortunately no cameras & laptops were allowed add to that the fact that the early morning hang-over caused me to forget the voice recorder that I had setup specially for the event. None the less the guys gave us a bag of goodies which had a notepad and pen which I made good use of.

Steve Ballmer launched Microsoft’s biggest launch campaign in the company’s history on the 27th of Feb – Heroes Happen Here, where the Heroes are the developers who use these softwares and tools to make the magic happen.

First let me put up the live updates that I had made so that you get an idea of how the event went along:

Ok guys im here at the location got my reg. done, posting frm my cell (no lappies allowed) so a sms lingo will b used.

Event starts at 10 am i reachd 2 n a half hr b4 something ppl who know me prsnally wont accept but i don hv 2 bothr abt that, so do look at this thread 4 updates

and yeah no cameras allowd so images frm 6600 an will b put up once i get 2 my desktop

8:50: we are still outside and the parking incharge doing setting with the traffic police, some guys hv got sexy free reebok jackets and Targus travel bags (3, their icards are of a diff color, thr goes my jacket yes its a big WTF!)

jckt mystery solvd, those guys r User Group Leaders (my gues d MSN user grps)

9:31 inside the hall sum dumb chicks in red skirts r shouting HEROES like cheerleadrs n its damn sad bt wth inside the hal and here comes d goodie bag

now this is sad, all v get is a server 08 rc vrsion tht expires on april 7 and visual studio 90 day evaluation WTF!! Worthless sh1t a days sleep wastd 4 this damn

10:07 gaurav kapoor is d host n is on stage n its bgun

10:20 done wid d welcome speech a pretty gud 1, then a useless a dance show now d keynote by ms vp world wide is on stage

12:34 keynote done, tea brk done, hp note done, sql demo done
this just in they r gona show transformers n ya the sql demo didnt undrstand much bt ppl around me were amused n hppy
now its visual stud demo

12:50 vs demo has ppl almost claping, vs looks a killer trust me all devs around me r all eyes n ears

2:00 keynotes over free lunch done and feedback form filled and given y i mentioned tht coz i got 1 gb kingston pendrive in xchange

2:45 movie will bgin transformers

so end of the event wil write a big post on all info n stuff latr in d day
o n i didnt mention othr than free lunch thr was 2 soft drinks, 2 pop corns and 2 tea/cofee per person free so all in all a gr8 softwares, gr8 event, gr8 company

All this I posted via my cell phone – the great Nokia 6600 :)

Now coming to the details of the products and the presentation that was made:

The presentation of the products was started by Microsoft Senior Vice President, Developer Division – S. Somasegar. He started the presentation by first highlighting what was the main focus on during the development of these 3 products:

  • Secure & Trusted Platform
  • Virtualisation
  • Web Development & Productivity
  • Business Intelligence

These were the points on which the whole presentation and demo actually revolved around, showing the new range of products make a developers life easy.

It was quite evident from the presentations of all the products that Microsoft has taken great efforts to automate and fasten the administration work, as in the showed and said during the demos of the products that most work could now be done by just a few clicks as opposed to tedious methods in previous versions. Another aspect was that Microsoft is now working hard on integrating the features of their range of products from MS Office to MS Virtual Earth & Live to provide developers & customers with a great experience during making and using the applications

A slide that showed Microsoft’s 2008 roadmap with regards to these softwares had the following:

  1. Visual Studio 2008
  2. Server 2008
  3. SQL Server 2008
  4. Hyper V for Server
  5. HPC (High Performance Computing) Server
  6. Essential Business Server
  7. Small Business Server
  8. Silverlight 7 – which will bring .Net to the Web

First lets see what said about Windows Server 2008:

Mr. S Somasegar right at the outset wanted to highlight the fact that these products are bankable & trustworthy saying that “You can bet on me” on more than 1 occasion to emphasize his point. He also mentioned that as a move to show customers that their product is tried and tested and worthy to be used they are using Microsoft Server & Microsoft SQL Server in their company for customers to see for themselves – a move he says shows the transparent nature of Microsoft towards its customers with its products. Microsoft has been running on Microsoft Server 2008 for the past 9 months he said.

Next up are some features that he mentioned which stand Server apart from previous Server editions:

  • Network Access Protection
  • Network transfer 40% faster
  • Easier Software Deployment

He said that in Windows Sever 2008 the SPI focuses on:

  1. Compatibility
  2. Performance
  3. Security

The most interesting of the above I found – Network Access Protection (NAP):

I will explain this to you in Soma’s words:

Let’s say that there is a system on your network that is infected, now whenever this system is connected to the network, Windows Server 2008 & Vista SP1 will detect that this machine is infected and will kick this machine out of the network by disabling read/write access to this machine … pretty cooly eh?

This same point was talked about later during the Server Demo and we were told that this part of the Server Policy system that Windows Server 2008 incorporates wherein you set the policies and you can either set a Do Not Allow or Restricted Access to the machine, now this is not only applicable to infected machines but Server Policies can be applied based on a wide range of options.

1 more highlight about Server was that lets say some one installed on all the machines on the network and a patch is released, now 1 the admin can put the patch on the server and all the machines can be updated automatically when ever they are logged onto the network

The plus point of Windows Server 2008 is that it saves 10% power under same load conditions as its previous version, something which was requested by a lot of customers.

IIS 7 was a feature of Server 2008 that was spoken about by Soma and also during the Server Demo. IIS7’s great feature this time around is the Modular Installation method.

Part II to follow …