Microsoft has unleashed 2008 versions of Windows Server, SQL Server and Visual Studio on the computing public and promises that the new products will deliver its vision of "dynamic computing."
Dynamic computing is a restatement of Microsoft's previous pledges to make IT more "agile," a state in which IT professionals undertake less administrative trivia and instead find themselves with the time and freedom to innovate with technology.
The new products are said to deliver on that promise thanks to a host of features, one of which allows a GUI-less install of Windows Server 2008, which is driven by the good old DOS prompt.
Bob Kelly, Microsoft's Vice President of Infrastructure Services, said the development team for that feature has joked that "The wow stops now," a parody of the Windows Vista launch slogan "The wow starts now."
So what's in the new products to make you say "wow?"
Virtualisation is now baked into Windows Server, which Kelly says will be a key future-proofing agent for the operating system as it frees IT departments from the need to consider IT and applications as physical entities. The other key feature he believes will pay off in the short to medium term is the product's ability to enable service oriented architectures.
Martin Gregory, the Microsoft Australia executive responsible for the products said he believes they have been designed to help IT professionals get more done.
"We asked what it is that takes up an IT person's time," he said. "We've tried to put the burden on the technology, not the person."
Microsoft showcased users from Lion Nathan, CargoWise edi and Mincom, plus Tom Townsend, Windows Systems Team Leader from the University of Canberra who said his experiments with the software had seen the University abandon VMware.
Craig Bailey from content management developer Elcom had a similarly upbeat tale to tell, stating that replacing an older operating system with Windows Server 2008 and the new Internet Information Server 7 improved the performance of the company's application by a factor of 16.