Greetings from Los Angeles and the 2007 edition of Microsoft’s Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (known on the streets as WinHEC 2007).

This yearly confab brings together the industry’s key PC hardware eco-system players to help define and drive what the future of Windows computing will look like.  The conference has featured great announcements over the years and this year is no exception.

Just about a year ago, Bill Gates used his WinHEC keynote address (May 2006 in Seattle) to highlight a major company milestone — the first time all three major Microsoft product lines (Windows, Windows Server, and Office) reached beta 2 at the same time.

This morning, Bill unveiled another milestone — the official name for Windows Server “Longhorn”.

Drum roll please…

Introducing Windows Server 2008!

As Bill joked, I’m sure this isn’t a big surprise.

We’ve even poked a little fun at ourselves in this great video that provides a peak inside the whole naming process at Microsoft:  What’s in a name?

I had the distinct honor of being the first to demo our next generation Windows Server release under it’s new name.

I have to admit there were two tough acts to follow — both Windows Rally and Windows Home Server had killer demos in Bill’s keynote — but here’s a quick synopsis of what I showed:

Out of the long list of new and enhanced features, I focused on a bunch of security and policy-enforcement technologies of Windows Server 2008.  We took a look at how Windows Server 2008 can help address three common challenges:

  1. Preventing unhealthy (i.e. out of compliance) laptops from connecting to the network
  2. Safeguarding sensitive information
  3. Management device installation

I showed how Network Access Protection works with one of our 802.1X switch partners (HP ProCurve) to automatically limit the network access of my out of compliance laptop.  Then, once my laptop was brought back into compliance, we took a look at how the integration of Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Rights Management Services with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 helps simplify the process of applying persistent protection policies sensitive documents.  We closed with a demo of the new device installation restriction policies which enables IT administrators to define new Group Policy that manages what devices (like USB thumb drives) can be attached and which are blocked.

Checkout the Beta 3 which is available for download at:

Well, time to get back to the great stuff happening here at WinHEC 2007!  I’m really interested in checking out some of the cool new PC form factors around the expo floor.

— Ian Hameroff, Senior Product Manager