When Microsoft released Windows 2000, it was readily taken up by the business world, but mostly ignored by consumers. The alternatives geared toward the typical users were Windows 95, 98, and the unfortunately flawed Millennium. Now, it is rumored that Windows 8 will be our decade’s model of the business-focused operating system.
This Windows release is still a few years away, but some are already speculating based on the little information that’s been announced. A blog post at Ma-Config, a French technology news site, hints at Windows 8’s potential business-friendly features:
Virtual machines (VMs) become key platform components for data centers and Microsoft products such as Win8, System Center, and Azure. On the website of Microsoft Research, we learn that virtualization should be one of the key components of Windows 8. It seems to confirm that Bernard Ourghanlian, technical and security director at Microsoft France, interviewed on the site itrmanager in March 2009. Version 3 Hyper-V is now scheduled run on workstations and Windows 8 only.
This statement raises interesting questions on the potential of Windows 8. Virtualization could change the viability of certain options on the Windows OS.
For one, applications would be isolated and no longer so entwined with the operating system. This could make for a lightweight and high-performance PC since the OS would be local and other applications would be delivered virtually. The security of virtual machines is still debatable, yet Ma-Config’s news post argues that the hypervisor would be secure from attacks when paired with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip.
Virtualization would simplify Windows version upgrades or changes because there is no worry over compatibility. Users could even run other operating systems, such as Linux or Mac OS X alongside Windows 8.
The lighter local load means that the computer startup time will be much shorter. Business end users can have their virtual machines updated while the hardware is turned off, which can save work time. Virtualization would also allow the Windows users to try out applications without having to install and uninstall them.
Also, virtualization may be Windows’s way of making a move in cloud computing. Virtualization could serve as a private cloud data center, while Microsoft’s Azure platform can host sophisticated infrastructures that would be burdensome and expensive to deploy. It could be the end of Windows on-premise servers.
The new focus of virtualization appears to be a development made with businesses in mind. Because of Window’s pervasiveness in the workplace, this may start a revolution of businesses turning to virtualization and cloud computing. Those platforms may become as commonplace as the on-premise business model that’s been here for years.
But take this with a grain of salt. These are speculations made on speculations. Windows 8 is years from release, and Microsoft is notorious for flipping its projects upside down midway through development. Knowing the internet, more vaguely accurate details are sure to follow.