3. Window Server 2008 R2 SP1 will support USB redirection
The added support for generic USB redirection should allow for the redirection of virtually any USB device transparently over RDP, with no client drivers needed. Webcams, headsets, even mobile devices should all work through the redirected connections. The USB redirection capability connects in via RemoteFX and is likely to be of greatest interest in VDI contexts.
Note: A public beta of Server 2008 R2 SP1 will be released somewhere toward the end of July, with the hope for a full release by year end.
4. Windows InTune has potential -- when it becomes fully baked
Not everything at TechEd was about soon-to-be-here enhancements. There's been a bevy of cool discussions at the technical reviewers workshop that I look forward to seeing become fleshed out as they are released or slip into public betas. One item that caught my interest was Windows InTune, a cloud-based management solution that seems geared more for the consultant role -- as well as for those of us who have to support our family's desktops and notebooks around the world. Built on Silverlight, it lets you connect PCs to your InTunes subscription so that you can manage these systems' updates, ensuring malware detection is in place. Its dashboard shows the systems' status and lets you manage issues remotely.
The only negative is that the tools do not let you connect to and control the systems with a click; you need another method to do that, and InTune omits that essential feature. Also, servers aren't supported, which I found frustrating because consultants might have a place with 20 systems and a single server or several servers that they would want to manage through the same service. So they can use InTune for the 20 systems, but not for the servers? I imagine that support will change soon. This is all still in beta, so we will see how it evolves.
5. Microsoft is all-in on the cloud, with the AppFabric release
Personally, I've never liked the term "cloud," but I'm seeing the value in it after Bob Muglia, Microsoft's president of the Server and Tools Business, expounded upon it in his keynote on Monday morning. Microsoft is putting all of its interests into cloud computing, and as Muglia said in his keynote, Microsoft wants to help businesses make the transition and take their IT investments forward into the cloud.
In harmony with all the cloud talk, Microsoft released its AppFabric technology, which is a set of integrated technologies that make it easier to build, scale, and manage Web and composite applications that run on Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). It's available for free to customers with licenses for Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard and Enterprise editions.
A ton more to talk about
There is a lot more happening at TechEd that I haven't had a chance to touch upon yet: Windows Phone 7, Communications Server 14, and Exchange Server 2010 SP1, for starters. It will take the remainder of the summer to hit everything one at a time. Stay tuned!
This article, "Microsoft's server road map: Top 5 developments coming soon," 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.