There it is

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26 October 2012

So, it’s here and we can’t go back.

There are many dissenting voices around Windows 8. Some have said it will confuse and annoy, others maintain it will move things on a step for Microsoft, while yet more reckon it will be the death knell for the monolithic operating system.

On mature reflection, I am somewhere in between. This is especially so when considering Windows Server 2012, which was made available in September.

 

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It too has the Modern UI from Windows 8, albeit without the consumer bent. The live tile interface is a pretty good idea for a server operating system. Instead of having to open up various container modules to check the status of a running service or application, you can just have a look at a live tile on the UI and see the vital information. In fact, when talking about it in this way, one wonders why it wasn’t on previous server operating systems. The fact is that such features have been there, usually as third party applications such as dashboards or minor views or whatever, but the point is that the consumerisation of IT has impacted upon even the server OS by demanding that enterprise applications, even that server room stuff, be prettier, easier to use and just, well, nicer.

We all are familiar with reality of the beauty derived from form following function. And yet, there is still a certain delight when one sees a decorative turn on a lamppost, a nicely sculpted foot on a table leg, or even graceful swoop to the arm of a chair. Well, a server OS is no different and irrespective of the utility of the tool, the nicer it is to behold and use, the better people are disposed to it.

All of this is qualified of course by the fact that since 2008 R2, the emphasis on role based installation means that there has been less and less emphasis on the GUI to start with, and the improvements in Powershell in particular means that the old command line and script-based controls are more powerful than ever. But when a GUI is necessary, why can’t it be nice and functional? Well, it is now.

And that functionality with beautiful form will likely reinforce the appeal in enterprise of Windows 8 and what it can do. There is not likely to be the adoption cycle that Windows 7 or previous has seen for enterprise, but I would argue that the Windows 8 interface will certainly not be an impediment as some have argued, once people play with it, understand it and find it useful.

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