The Tech Ed conference is a major event on the calendar for those working with Microsoft technologies.
Microsoft says more than 2000 Kiwi IT workers and technologists attended the conference at Auckland's Sky City Convention Centre.
During the opening keynote address on Tuesday afternoon, the Redmond-based software company said 2012 will be its largest year measured by product releases. More than 20 new or refreshed products from its gaming, consumer, and enterprise divisions are launching this year.
Computerworld New Zealand reported that on Microsoft's announcement it would launch Windows Server 2012 for the first time at Tech Ed, prompting applause from the crowd. The previous iteration of the server operating system (Server 2008 R2) was released three years ago, and many have waited for new features to address the rise of virtualisation and cloud.
Microsoft has heavily pushed its cloud offerings, Azure and SkyDrive, to enterprise customers over the past two years, so it was not surprising that Windows Server 2012 is also focused on the cloud environment.
"Windows Server 2012 is the world's first genuine cloud OS, which has been built from the ground up to provide one consistent platform across private, hosted and public cloud environments," said Bradley Burrows, Microsoft New Zealand head of Azure and server business group.
Windows Server 2012 incorporates Active Directory mirroring between Azure and Server, and Burrows said integration with System Centre 2012 would give more control to companies wanting to use cloud service providers.
Server 2012 has the same Windows 8 user interface as its upcoming PC counterpart, Windows 8. But the user interface change is only a small part of the overall offering in Server 2012.
Reaction from delegates that Computerworld spoke to after a server-related briefing was positive towards the new features, in particular Hyper-V. One made the comment that working with the touch-centric Windows 8 user interface seemed unnecessary for this type of application, but he thought the live tiles used for monitoring critical server information was appealing.
David Hallett is the chief nerd of Need A Nerd in the Waikato. Need A Nerd can be reached on 0800 633 326 (NEED A NERD). To ask a question email email@example.com and be in with a chance to win Norton 360 Version 6 by Symantec ($129 for three PCs).
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