TechEd 2012: The key insights for Windows admins (so far)

Microsoft's largest annual conference explores Azure, Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012, and Windows 8

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In a savvy marketing move, Microsoft employee Linda Averett assisted Antoine Leblond, corporate vice president of Windows Web Services, with the demonstrations. She had pictures of her grandchildren on her system for the crowd to see and suggested that users of any age will find Windows 8 easy to work with, especially because you can choose the form you prefer: laptop, tablet, and desktop with or without touchscreen. Averett demonstrated how semantic zoom (a method of presenting and navigating large sets of related data or content in a single view, such as a photo album, app list, or address book) lets users work with their laptops using the same swipe strokes and pinching moves as they use on a tablet.

The coolest demo of the second-day keynote was when Averett took a USB key to boot Windows 8 on an older PC running Windows 7. It's called Windows to Go and will come only with the enterprise version of Windows 8. However, the biggest cheers came in response to the demonstration of Windows 7 running in a VM on a Windows 8 system. Why the cheers? Because Hyper-V is included directly within the client.

System Center 2012
As a Windows admin myself, I've focused on the System Center sessions in this year's TechEd. I saw several great demonstrations on how easy it is to deploy and update software through System Center Configuration Manager. It's much more straightforward than SMS ever was, years back. System Center Endpoint Protection (for virus and malware protection) is built into Configuration Manager, so you can push out the software to clients easily.

Of particular interest in the demonstration: Microsoft had it working with a Mac. The Mac had the System Center client piece and checked in, saw there was a policy that wanted to push Endpoint Protection to it, and installed a Mac version of Endpoint Protection.

More to come, starting with SharePoint
Most of the week is still in front of me. Day two is over, and I'm tired already -- which doesn't bode well for me, considering my own session "Getting SharePoint and Exchange to Play Together" isn't until tomorrow!

There will be plenty on all of these tools as they leave beta and become shipping products throughout the year, so stay tuned for more to come, especially with regard to Windows 8 features.

This article, "TechEd 2012: The key insights for Windows admins (so far)," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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