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TechEd 2012: Microsoft Focus on Cloud, Windows 8

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Greetings from Orlando, Florida at the 2012 TechEd Conference this week, where the Gemalto security team is based with about 100,000 other IT pros at the conference. Here, all the buzz is around Microsoft’s cloud efforts and Windows 8 and we are getting all of the new technical education on Microsoft’s current and soon-to-be-released suite of products, solutions, tools, and services.

The first day, we heard a lot of about Microsoft and “the era of cloud OS.”  Cloud OS, according to Satya Nadella, the president of Microsoft’s Server & Tools division, is a mix of Microsoft’s Windows Server and Windows Azure cloud service, working together to support large data centers, including private and public clouds. Also along the lines of cloud, Nadella announced the next version of its cloud-based PC and mobile device management solution, Windows Intune.

Nadella said, “With Windows Server 2012 and Windows  Azure, we’ve taken everything we’ve learned from running datacenters and services at global scale and are delivering the next generation of operating systems – the “cloud OS” – to help our customers seize the opportunities of the cloud.”

It seems that through these announcements, Microsoft is trying to give businesses across many markets different options for a gradual move to the cloud without a lot of added costs.  Nadella called it a “platform that enables you to connect with the cloud on your terms.”

The second day of TechEd was very focused on Windows 8, which is expected to be available before the end of 2012.  Antoine Leblond, Microsoft corporate vice president, told the TechEd audience that Windows 8 is better than Windows 7, and that it is “enterprise-ready by design.”  The new Windows 8 Metro interface, designed mostly for touch-based screens used in tablet devices but can also be used with a mouse and keyboard, looked like it was be easy to use and fairly intuitive.

As for Gemalto, we had some news of our own this week.  We launched a new bundled strong authentication solution with nAppliance Networks.  With this solution, the nAppliance hardware security platform will be preloaded with our Gemalto’s Protiva software to create a fully integrated plug-and-play authentication appliance.  It’s an easy way for businesses of any size to deploy a hardened and secure two-factor authentication solution.

What were your thoughts from TechEd?  Do you think the Windows 8 tablet has the power to overtake Apple or Android?  Will you upgrade from Windows 7 when Windows 8 arrives?  Let us know in the comments section below, or tweet us your thoughts @Gemalto_NA.

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