Windows 8 Features for the Corporate World

Sankaran Ganapathi

Since the preview of Windows 8 was made available to users, the industry had been buzzing with news and rumors about the upcoming operating system edition. Microsoft has stated clearly and often that Windows 8 is far more than an upgraded version of Windows 7. As they say, time will tell.

It seems that Microsoft is positioning Windows 8 to compete in the fast growing tablet market that we talked about last week. Clearly, the success of Windows 8 will depend, to a large extent, on its usability for business users. Of late, Microsoft has revealed some interesting facts about Windows 8, which give an impression that those waiting may indeed appreciate what they see.

Windows 8 will be available in four editions. We will see one for consumers, Windows RT for tablets, a professional work horse and enterprise edition, making it unique from the Microsoft 7 product line. Unfortunately, we don't know how much more it will cost. Pricing has yet to be announced.

We do know that some features in Windows 8 that will definitely appeal business users include:

The BitLocker encryption technology was introduced in Windows Vista for data security. In Windows 7 the feature was further extended. This will be the case with Windows 8 too. In Windows 8, only system administrators will have control over this security feature.

Group Policy and Domain Join are features in Windows that average users usually do not bother to use. However, they matter to IT administrators in charge of network and client computers. Through the Domain Join feature, they can access the Active Directory in Windows 8 Pro and can set rules for security policies and PC management.

A lot is being said about the utility and importance of virtualization technology. With the incorporation of Client Hyper-V, Windows 8 users can create virtual machines. This is the first time that this technology is being implemented in a client edition of a Windows. Previously, one could access this technology only in the Windows Server edition. Client Hyper-V virtualization technology will be far more powerful than Windows XP Mode, a feature found in its predecessors. 

We are also excited to see Booting from VHD. In Windows 8 Pro, this feature enables IT administrators to make virtual drives with which they can test applications and perform elaborate beta tests. This allows smoother transitions and IT department innovations, minimizing down time and maximizing security.

Perhaps the most exciting new feature in Windows 8 is Windows To Go. This enables users to run Windows from external drives. This will be ideal for business users who need their customized desktop and work interface everywhere. like we talked about in the cloud post, this is essentially for most corporate users.

All features mentioned are enticing for corporate IT professionals and the users that rely on them. However, the real success of Windows 8 will depend on synching and sharing features and implementation in Windows 8 devices. Apple has done a nice job of synching its devices through iOS 5. Can Microsoft do the same with Windows 8? This is the big question that Microsoft has yet to answer. If business users find the answer to be a astounding YES! then Microsoft may be able to finally influence the tablet market. But like we said before, that remains to be seen.