What's in a name? Microsoft replaces Windows Server 8 with 2012

Do you really care what Microsoft names its new operating system? I don't either.

Yesterday, I heard from a source at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas that Microsoft now refers to Windows Server "8" as Windows Server 2012. And, if you connect to microsoft.com, you'll find that the 8* is now in quotes, just as mine is in the previous sentence. Interesting? I think so.

Most of us thought that the 8 was going to stick or that they'd name it Windows Server 2013. Using 8 seems hipper and cooler than the date thing. Although, I have done a political front-runner waffle on that topic. I think I like the 8 better now.

But, whatever they decide to call it, it might be the most anticipated operating system since Mac OS X. In fact, that might be a good name for Windows Server: Windows Server X. And, then, they can name the service packs and "R" versions with cool animal names like Apple and Ubuntu are doing. Or, better yet, Microsoft could use different Window names for their new versions.

For example, Awning, Bay, Casement, Double Hung (my favorite), Hopper, Jalousie and Picture. Those names would be great for the Home version of the product because they're Windows types for homes.

And, for the Server operating system, there's Clear glazing (Clear), Spectrally Selective glazing (Spectral or Spectrum) and Reflective glazing (Reflective). My choices for names are in parentheses for each.

Alternatively, Microsoft could use Windows performance ratings to describe new versions: U-Value (UV), Shading Coefficient (Shade), Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (Solar or Heat), Visible Light Transmittance (VLT), Ultraviolet Transmittance (Ultra) and Sound Transmission (Multimedia).

I hope no one has a problem with the abbreviations, after all Microsoft's first business operating system was Windows NT and no one new what that stood for either.

But, clever nomenclature aside, Windows 8/2013/2012/Bay/Shade is going to be a big hit in the data center and on the desktop.

Why?

It isn't because the current operating systems aren't good enough but it's because we're ready for something new, something closer to the hardware and something with a more natural feel. I have embraced the Metro interface for those reasons. I like it because I don't have to go flipping through several menus, or right clicks or other snap-ins to get where I need to be.

When you have a break/fix conference call going, you don't really have the luxury to hunt around for things nor do you have your handy shortcuts on every one of the 500 systems you manage.

I'm ready for an operating system that knows where it is: Tablet, Desktop, Laptop, Server, Enterprise Server or Smartphone.

I'm also ready to see Hyper-V version 3.0 hit the data center. I'd like to see Microsoft's virtualization product live up to the hype. I understand that several companies are now migrating or adding Hyper-V to their list of virtualization and cloud technologies in anticipation of the release.

If Microsoft can really pull off the Hyper-V phenomenon, it could have a major impact on cloud technology. Let me explain that odd statement. If it's really true that Microsoft has resolved Hyper-V's performance issues, licensing hassles and uptime, then it could really shake things up for cloud providers.

In the past, providing Windows servers to customers was an expensive proposition. You had licensing based on the server version and then you had to add in those damn client access licenses (CALs). I really hate CALs. I've always thought that if you purchase a server operating system and analogous desktop operating systems, you should be able to access the server with those desktops. The idea of CALs always irritated me.

CALs will have to be eliminated completely because how can you pay for CALs on a system that might serve hundreds or thousands of random Internet users? It's a real problem.

The other licensing roadblock is Terminal Server Access Licenses. I really hate that one too. I have a server operating system with Terminal Services. I have Windows desktops. I want to use those to connect to Terminal Services but I have to have a license. Wow. No.

Licensing angst is one of the reasons why companies started looking for alternatives like Linux for server systems and desktops. Sorry that I digressed from my original topic, which is the name of Windows' newest versions.

But, it's (licensing) a topic that's related to the release of the new version that's promised to be the solution to all our problems. I hope it is.

Here's the bottom line: I don't care what you name something**. It's really not important to me or anyone else so don't spend a lot of time on it. But, do you know what we'd really like? Simple licensing.

Microsoft licensing has always been such a pain. So much so that almost any company that you would have audited a few years ago would have owed a lot of money in a licensing gap. If you make anything too difficult for people, they won't comply. Don't mix expense with complexity. It's bad when you do that.

All of that said, I think Server "8" has a real chance to make a difference for people who buy it for its virtualization capability, its potential for virtual desktop delivery, its smoother deployment, its multi-server management, its better performance and its efficient interface. I also appreciate its anti-bloat philosophy. Who knew that we could actually upgrade to a new Microsoft operating system that doesn't require four times the CPU, twice the RAM and twice the disk space?

OK, so I'm a little excited about the new version of Windows but I'm no fanboy. Not yet at least. Call it whatever you want--just don't call me late on release day. After all, what's in a name?

*Maybe it was always in quotes but I don't remember it that way.

**OK, I care a little, hence this post.