Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Squeezing IT Dollars Without Squashing Service

Do more with what you have: Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft, talks about smart ways businesses of all sizes can control IT costs in tough economic times.

REDMOND, Wash. — March 30, 2009 — The global business downturn has left many IT decision-makers scrambling to figure out how they can reduce or restrain spending without sacrificing quality of service or falling behind competitors. For most, that means squeezing more value out of their existing IT resources, and limiting new IT purchases to technology that will pay for itself in lower operating costs or increased strategic capabilities.

That’s why Microsoft Corp.’s Server and Tools Business sees its primary mission today as delivering innovative solutions that will help its customers thrive in the new economy. To that end, the company continues to invest in new and enhanced server operating systems, virtualization technologies, security solutions and cloud computing.

Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft.

Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft.

“Rather than decreasing their IT spend in challenging times, some companies are choosing to recalibrate their budgets and invest in technical solutions that deliver savings over the long run,” says Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft. “For example, many of our customers that have virtualized their datacenters are already seeing significant savings resulting from server consolidation, faster resource deployment and IT process automation.”

The virtues of virtualization

Other companies are upgrading to Microsoft’s latest server operating system with enhanced management tools, migrating specific workloads to cloud-based services and adopting systems management best practices as part of a long-term cost-savings strategy, according to Muglia.

With a price that’s about two-thirds less than the leading competitive solution, Microsoft’s virtualization platform proves to be more cost-effective than other options. In addition, Microsoft’s management toolset spans the physical and the virtual worlds, which simplifies the job of maintaining a typically heterogeneous datacenter.

The Slough Borough Council, the governing authority for the Borough of Slough in southeastern England, took advantage of the savings potential of the Microsoft virtualization platform when the borough needed to expand its municipal services but faced datacenter space and power constraints. Converting physical servers to virtual machines solved both the space and power problems, but it also generated significant financial rewards as well. “We’ve achieved hardware savings of $148,000 (U.S.), and we expect to reduce server deployment costs by $23,700 (U.S.) annually, based on rolling out 20 servers a year,” says Chris Wintermute, technical infrastructure manager for Slough Borough Council.

Virtualizing a datacenter also lays the foundation for service-based IT. Since virtualization enables workloads to move between on-site datacenter software and the cloud, IT managers don’t have to choose between running applications in the cloud or on-site; it can be a combination of both. “For example, a business might move an application that’s well-suited for the cloud, such as e-mail, from their datacenter to a hosted cloud service, but they may keep more sensitive applications, such as their payroll system, on-premises,” says Muglia.

Invest Today for Returns Tomorrow

When selecting server software and upgrades, Muglia recommends that IT professionals maintain a long-term view. “The important question isn’t how much you pay for a platform upfront, but what a system will cost your organization year after year, and if the company providing the platform will be there for you in the long run.”

Microsoft infrastructure products generally provide excellent return on investment (ROI). For example, when researchers at consulting agency Capgemini looked at companies and institutions in the financial services, education, retail and high-technology industries that had begun using Windows Server 2008, they found that IT costs were reduced by an average of $124,000 per year. These cost reductions resulted from a wide range of areas, including the recovery of five IT staff hours per server and a 91 percent reduction in downtime. A white paper detailing usage scenarios and providing more data on the impact of deploying Windows Server 2008 is available here.

All in the Family

Microsoft’s server family includes comprehensive, cost-effective solutions for businesses of various sizes, all the way from a small family bagel shop to a university research lab that has to crunch terabytes of data.

Several enhancements to the IT infrastructure family are due out within the next two years, including these:

Windows Server 2008 R2, which will offer new virtualization tools, Web resources and management enhancements that will give customers greater control, increased efficiency and the ability to react to front-line business needs faster than ever before.

Microsoft Forefront, code-named “Stirling,” an integrated security system that makes it easier to manage security capabilities across an enterprise’s IT infrastructure, and will help reduce administrative and support costs.

•Identity Lifecycle Manager “2,” an identity management product that will ease the burden on IT departments and help desks and extend identity-management capabilities to end users.

Visual Studio 2010 and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4, which will make it easier for developers and development teams to build, test and deploy applications.

•Enhanced versions of SQL Server targeted at business intelligence and high-end data warehousing.

Optimizing the Datacenter

Microsoft recently released the results of a two-year study of the impact that datacenter best practices could have on IT operations costs. The study shows that businesses also can realize immediate savings just by operating their existing datacenters more efficiently. As part of the study, the company commissioned a survey of CIOs and IT managers at 162 organizations regarding six typical server infrastructure workloads: collaboration, data management, identity and access, e-mail, connectivity, and print server management.

The survey found 31 systems-management best practices — such as automated backup, hierarchical storage management and server clustering — that can result in significant savings and improved service levels for businesses of all sizes. For example, organizations that adopted certain practices in the areas of e-mail and collaboration management reported IT costs of at least $10,000 per server per year less than those that did not.

The study also found that many of the most beneficial practices, such as software imaging or cloning, automated restore, and automated deployment processes, are rarely performed today.

“We’ve found dozens of cost-saving best practices that can be put in place at little or no cost with existing IT assets. Yet, surprisingly, many companies are overlooking these opportunities,” says Muglia.

The findings are available in a white paper called “Server Infrastructure Optimization: Best Practices to Reduce IT Operational Costs,” which is available for free download at http://SpotlightOnCost.com.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Layoffs at Microsoft, Google and IBM

Layoffs at Google, Microsoft, IBM and other companies, including midsize businesses are very unfortunate, more bluntly, really suck for the employees, former employees and company.  Laid-off workers have my sympathy.

imageRemaining employees are fortunate to keep their jobs.  There have been many stories on NPR and other news outlets about how employees need to maintain or increase productivity with a smaller work force.  While EBS is not designed to help at company the size of Google or IBM, EBS can help midsize companies, up to 300 PCs or users, significantly decrease costs and increase productivity, especially remote productivity. 

image EBS help more efficiently purchase and manage software licenses and lower total cost of ownership of your IT infrastructure, both hardware and software.  EBS helped many of our customers consolidate their servers by more than 50% and free up their IT professionals to concentrate on other activities, such as line of business application or possibly their other duty as a financial analyst.

imageEBS's Remote Web Workplace can help increase the productivity of your road warriors to your employees who need to securely access their email, files and applications from home.

Read the EBS Case Studies for evidence.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Microsoft Study Shows SMBs Using Technology to Cut Costs, Grow Business

“Microsoft SMB Insight Report” forecasts that a majority of small and midsize businesses will maintain or increase IT spending in 2009.
Microsoft Resources:

2009 “Microsoft SMB Insight Report” (.doc)

Microsoft in Small Business Web site

REDMOND, Wash. — March 25, 2009 — Microsoft Corp. today released a study of the business challenges and technology priorities that small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are facing in the year ahead. The first “Microsoft SMB Insight Report,” which will be published annually, identified virtualization, IT consolidation, business intelligence, software as a service and support of remote workers as the top technology investment priorities for SMBs in 2009.

Based on a five-country survey of more than 600 Microsoft Small Business Specialists, Microsoft found that the major concerns driving SMB technology investments are declining revenue, competition from larger businesses and general economic difficulties. In response, many SMBs are focusing on IT investments that directly benefit their bottom line — either by reducing operating costs, improving employee productivity, or acquiring and retaining customers.

According to Access Markets International (AMI)-Partners Inc., SMBs account for 90 percent of the world’s workforce and more than half of its gross domestic product. Current market conditions are challenging SMBs’ ability to help revitalize the economy, but the “Microsoft SMB Insight Report” forecasts that 55 percent of small and midsize businesses will maintain or increase IT spending year over year through carefully placed investments.

“Small and midsize businesses play a critical role in the world’s economy and are often the first to emerge from periods of economic uncertainty because of their passion, resiliency and innovation,” said Eduardo Rosini, corporate vice president for the Worldwide Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners group at Microsoft. “The ‘Microsoft SMB Insight Report’ identifies areas where technology can play a role in shaping how soon and how aggressively the small and midsize business community reclaims financial stability.”

Investing Wisely in IT

Because SMBs typically lack the resources or technical expertise necessary to evaluate and implement advanced technology solutions, they rely predominantly on the assistance of local technology resources such as Microsoft Small Business Specialists. This community of independent technology experts takes the time to understand the needs of SMB owners and can help identify and implement an IT solution that has the maximum impact on business.

The “Microsoft SMB Insight Report” reflects the insight of Small Business Specialists from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Brazil. The following are some of Microsoft’s key findings on the technologies most likely to drive growth and profitability for SMBs in 2009:

•Fifty percent of the surveyed Small Business Specialists identified virtualization or IT consolidation through a small or midsize server as the technology most likely to reduce operating costs.

•The Small Business Specialists expect a 20 percentage point increase this year in the number of SMBs that use software as a service.

•More than 50 percent of the Small Business Specialists considered customer relationship management (CRM), virtualization or IT consolidation through a small or midsize server as the best investment for maximizing business growth in a down economy.

•Nearly 40 percent expect an increased interest in business intelligence and identified it as a critical tool for helping improve a customer’s experience and increase loyalty.

•More than half of the surveyed Small Business Specialists anticipate an increase in the number of SMB remote workers, and nearly 60 percent expect that the shift to more remote workers also will lead to bigger roles and more responsibilities for those individuals working remotely.

“Historically, we have seen that SMBs have responded to economic contractions by intensifying their use of IT, both to cut costs and to defend and enhance their customer relationships,” said Steve Reynolds, managing director for AMI-Partners. “If SMBs respond to the current crisis as they have in the past, we can expect that a sizable number of smaller businesses will invest in IT now to lower operating costs, boost employee productivity and increase connectedness to customers so as to reap the benefits in the years ahead.”

A complete version of the 2009 “Microsoft SMB Insight Report” is available at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/smb/docs/Microsoft2009SMBInsightsReport.doc

About Microsoft in Small Business

Microsoft offers a broad range of business solutions to help small and midsize businesses (SMBs) maximize productivity and expand business capabilities. Microsoft’s partner program includes more than 640,000 local technology experts, including nearly 20,000 Small Business Specialists. Microsoft also provides a variety of financing, flexible licensing programs and other resources to help SMBs grow their businesses and respond to changes in the market.

More information on Microsoft Small Business Specialists and other SMB resources is available at the Microsoft Small Business Center at http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness.

Virtual Machines for Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (internal use only)

From the WSSG lab:

"We have been busy creating a set of virtual machines for Windows Essential Business Server 2008 for use by the field and other interested internal folks.  These VMs are available today along with a comprehensive setup document that you can use to have EBS up and running in a fraction of the time a full install would take.  I would like to highly encourage your feedback on the use and setup of this environment, we have worked hard to make this as valuable a tool as possible and want to make sure we have met that goal."

Visit the Internal EBS Product Management blog for a link to the internal Windows SharePoint site for the VMs.

100 environmental checks. Free, no strings, no changes to your network.

As IT infrastructure becomes more complex, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) can increase:

–Existing environment has different versions of various technologies,
time consuming to manage

–Achieving interoperability between new IT components with best practices requires integration and time

–Upgrade costs increase due to the requirements of new IT components and their licensesimageThe Preparation Wizard is a free tool that runs about 100 environmental checks, not changing your network, and provides data and documentation links to address the issues found. We recommend running this tool in your environment to address issues and implement best practices even if you decide not to install Windows EBS.

Read more and download for free.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

APAC SMBs to increase IT spend in 2009

By Vivian Yeo, ZDNet Asia
Thursday, January 29, 2009 01:48 PM

"Despite challenging economic times, IT and telecom (IT&T) expenditure by small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the Asia-Pacific region will reach US$153 billion in 2009, according to a new report."

Read the rest of this brief article here on ZDNet Asia.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Calculate a Customer's Big Easy partner subsidy offer (US and Canada only): Up to $1055 in the U.S.

This is a great deal for customers and partners, don't miss out on getting more for your money.

Microsoft is offering the Big Easy 3.0 in the United States until June 26, 2009 and the Big Easy 2.0 in Canada until March 31, 2009, a Partner Subsidy when you purchase EBS under Open Value licensing.  Since I am not a lawyer and this is just my blog, please see the terms & conditions here for the US and here for Canada.


Using the the Big Easy Calculator on the U.S.'s Estimate Your Subsidy, I calculated a $755 Partner Subsidy for EBS alone and $1055 Partner Subsidy for EBS with another product group.


Partner Subsidy Funds Utilization (U.S.)

The partner subsidy funds received as part of this promotion may be used used with any Registered, Certified or Gold Certified Partner active in the Microsoft Partner Program who is selected by the Qualified Organization ("Selected Partner") for implementation of the Qualified Organization’s Microsoft solution including software, hardware and services.

Partners can be selected at http://pinpoint.microsoft.com

Partner Subsidy Dollars Utilization (Canada)

Partner subsidy dollars received as part of this promotion must be used to pay for purchases of services or products from a partner who is a member of the Microsoft Partner Program and who is selected by the Qualified Organization ("Selected Partner"). Partners can be selected at: http://www.microsoftincentives.ca/BigEasy

There are a bunch of additional incentives listed here.

While I was just in New Orleans about a week ago, it is not this Big Easy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Line of Business Application Customers are demanding EBS

We are hearing about midsize customers, 300 or fewer PCs OR users, approaching their partners and wanting to install EBS before upgrading their line of business application, e.g. Microsoft Dynamics.

imageMidsize customers with line of business applications are likely to have a disparate network infrastructure.  They may have legacy operating systems ready to retire and extra servers ready for consolidation.  The initial installation or upgrade of a line of business application is a great opportunity for Windows Essential Business Server (EBS) 2008 to consolidate disparate infrastructure, implement hundreds of pages of best practices, increase productivity of both the IT professional and end users (yes, end users), lower costs, and install a reliable, predictable platform for the LOB.

imageWho doesn't want to increase productivity with their current head count and resources?  When business is booming, cost cutting is not always the top priority, but EBS helps lower total cost of ownership while increasing productivity, and hence a competitive edge.

image How does EBS help customers?  There is a bunch of customer evidence here.  EBS helps the IT professional not fight as many fires and proactively manage their infrastructure and better support the end-users.  End-users can become more productive not only with a reliable network infrastructure, decreasing downtime, but also becoming a better mobile enabled workforce with Exchange 2007 and Remote Web Workplace.


Find out more about the products integrated into EBS here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

100 network health checks for free, no strings attached


You can download this tool for free here without any obligation to purchase Windows EBS.  This tool does not change your network, only helping to identify  network problems and opportunities to implement better practices.  Links to relevant, yes relevant, KB articles are provided for the errors identified.

IT Pros, this is a simple way to possibly improve your network.

Partners, this is a great tool to evaluate your current and potential customers' networks.

Customers and partners at Convergence 2009 couldn't wait to run this on their won networks.

Why provide this as a free tool?  This tool showcases some of the fundamental best practices included in Windows EBS.

Read more and download here.

Localized Microsoft SharePoint and SQL Server Add-ins for Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Packages Released!

On March 13th, 2009, we uploaded the localized RTM version of Extensibility Add-ins for Microsoft SharePoint and SQL Server to download center for international EBS customers.

These localized packages will help our international customers get better user experiences and enjoy the values of both add-ins in their mother tongue languages. These came out with lots of cross functionality team efforts from Windows Internationalization team, Development team, Test team, UA team, UX team, Build team, Release team, SharePoint team, SQL Server Management Pack team and PM team.

Thank you very much and Congratulations on all the hard work from everyone involved in these projects.

Public download link for SharePoint Add-in: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=34FD138A-F3E9-4EA0-AE60-DAD4B8DAB7EC&displaylang=en

Public download link for SQL Server Add-in: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=2f7bf5a4-ef2a-4acc-9238-77530da8dc3b&displaylang=en

You can select your preferred localized version here:


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sun and IBM in merger talks, takover


Wow!  If Sun and IBM merge, there would be only one major competitor to them in the Unix server market, HP. Sun + IBM = 62% Unix server market and 45% overall server market.  IBM takeover Sun, hmm, can they merge cultures?


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

First EBS Canadian Case Study - Toronto Grace Health Centre

This EBS case study, in conjunction with the recent EBS and Which Server to Choose article in the Midmarket Momentum Magazine, are meant to be sales resources to show our customers & partners a real-life Canadian example of the “before and after picture” of EBS.

Quotes from the case study:

The centre has since reduced help desk calls by 23 per cent, maintenance time by 30 per cent, and is now more focused on strategic initiatives.

“One of the biggest improvements is the overall insight we have into the system. Essential Business Server provides us with an up-do-date status of the entire network, which gives me the advance knowledge I need to determine what has to be done and how long it will take to fix,” says Tong

With it, organizations like TGHC can use the Microsoft® Hyper-V™ technology in Windows Server 2008… “Virtualization enables organizations to consolidate the workloads of multiple servers onto a smaller number of fully utilized servers, which can reduce hardware, energy, and management costs – a true benefit for organizations like TGHC that face tight budgets,” says LoPatriello.

This case study addresses these benefits: Cost Savings, Centralized Management, Secure Data, Remote Access, and Innovative Platform.

Toronto Grace Health Centre (TGHC) is a 119-bed facility operated by The Salvation Army and located in the downtown core. Over the course of its 150-year history, it has served as a rescue home and maternity facility. Today, TGHC specializes in patients with chronic diseases who require complex continuing care or long-term rehabilitation.

Read the article.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Still at Convergnce in New Orleans

My schedule is flexible on Thursday and Friday
morning at Convergence in New Orleans. Please let me know if you'd like to me to discuss the product or positioning the product. I will start posting again regularly next week, so feel free to let me know if there are topics you want me to blog about. I have a bunch myself, but I want to meet your nedds and interes

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ask us questions face-to-face

I apologize for not recently posting.  I am out of office (OOF), not laid off.   I am taking this opportunity to promote Windows EBS at Convergence next week in new Orleans.  Do you have questions about EBS?  Do you you want to understand how EBS can help you increase productivity while decreasing costs?  Do you want to ask a customer, the head manger for development, or me questions?  Come to our sessions.


EBS has four sessions at Convergence 2009 in New Orleans during the second week of March:

ST07 - Lower TCO and Increase Productivity with Windows Essential Business Server 2008 and Microsoft Dynamics AX

Learn how Windows EBS 2008 helps midsize businesses lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and increase productivity of both end-users and IT Professionals.  Measured results from current customers will be featured.  Greater reduction of TCO and increase in productivity with the Microsoft Dynamics Administration Console Add-in for Windows Essential Business Server will also be discuss along with a roadmap of additional Microsoft Add-ins for Windows EBS 2008.  Hear from a current EBS 2008 and Microsoft Dynamics AX customer and see a live demo of Remote Web Workplace, the EBS unified Administration Console and the Microsoft Dynamics Add-in.  

Chris Grillone, me; John Elmer, Rodgers & Hammerstein 
3/10/2009 3:30PM-4:30PM Rm. 276

ST09 - Technologies to Drive Costs Out of Midsize Environments

In this session we'll be looking at what EBS can do to drive costs out of midsize environments. We'll show how with EBS and its component products we can automate many of the costly operational tasks that consume much of the time for midsize business. Workplace, the EBS unified Administration Console and the Microsoft Dynamics Add-in.  

Chris Grillone, me; Eric Watson, Group Product Manager (from dev); John Elmer, Rodgers & Hammerstein  
3/11/2009 2:30PM-3:30PM Rm. 276

ST08 - Lower TCO & Increase Productivity with Windows Essential Business Server 2008 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Learn how Windows EBS 2008 helps midsize businesses lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and increase productivity of both end-users and IT Professionals.  Measured results from current customers will be featured.  Greater reduction of TCO and increase in productivity with the Microsoft Dynamics Administration Console Add-in for Windows Essential Business Server will also be discuss along with a roadmap of additional Microsoft Add-ins for Windows EBS 2008.  See a live demo of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Add-in.

Chris Grillone; Sergei Dreizin (CRM Add-in Program Manager)
3/11/2009 9:00AM-10:00AM Rm. 276

IDST02 - Features and Technologies in Windows Essential Business Server (EBS) 2008

Interactive discussion with product manger and product group manager.  Ask questions, no presentation.

Chris Grillone; Eric Watson
3/10/2009 5:00PM-6:00PM Rm. 350