Microsoft Demos Integration Of Windows Server, SQL, Visual Studio

Windows Server operating system

The theme of Ballmer's keynote address was integration, but it was the move by a fictitious coffee company to integrate a recent application and set up the infrastructure for a promotion campaign that demonstrated just how Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, and the upcoming SQL Server 2008 can work together.

Windows Server 2008 was officially released on Wednesday. Wednesday also saw the release of the final CTP (community technical preview) of SQL Server 2008, scheduled to be launched officially in the second half of this year. Visual Studio 2008 was released late last year.

In the first of three demonstrations that enabled Ballmer to temporarily step off the stage and refresh his vocal chords, the fictitious company, Fourth Coffee, needed a way to integrate multiple servers and applications from a company it acquired.

That was a cue to bring in a Microsoft employee who showed how Hyper-V, the new hypervisor-based server virtualization software that is expected to ship as part of Windows Server 2008 within the next six months, can be used to configure virtual servers to replace the physical servers Fourth Coffee expected as a result of the acquisition.

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The employee also demonstrated the use of Windows Failover Cluster Manager to add the new virtual server as a node to the company's server cluster. At that point, a warning popped up that the new node put the cluster out of quorum, which happens when less than half the nodes in a cluster are on line. However, the employee used the Configuration Cluster Quorum Wizard to take care of the problem.

The result, the employee said, is the industry's first out-of-the-box cluster configuration with zero points of failure.

Once the virtual server was configured and put in the cluster, the employee used Microsoft's Virtual Machine Manager to add the necessary management. That application can be used to manage virtual servers, and to convert physical servers to virtual ones, the employee said.

To configure a new Web server, the employee used Microsoft's new Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0. IIS 7.0 allows the configuration of a Web server to be shared to multiple other Web servers.

To prepare the new Web server to work with SQL Server 2008, the employee then used the Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor tool to look at CPU utilization, followed by the new Resource Governor to dynamically move some resources from one Web server to another to account for the new server's higher workload.

The employee then ran the new server against Fourth Coffee's policies to ensure it is properly secured.

In the second demonstration, Fourth Coffee wanted to modify a Web site to include a new promotion. A second Microsoft employee walked the audience through a demonstration of Visual Studio Team System 2008, starting with a new split window design that allowed developers to see both the source code and the final design on the same screen. It also updated the design as the code was changed to let the developer see the results of changes in the source code right away.

The employee also demonstrated a new Styles window within Visual Studio which lets developers see the properties of the different style in order to make changes quickly.

Also shown was LINQ, or Language Integrated Query, which lets developers access and modify source code, including the ability to auto insert linked code and automatically handle the code syntax.

The employee also showed Expression Blend, which enables the Web designer to design how a Website looks and then pass the information to the Web developer.

Fourth Coffee also wanted to tie its Web presence to its business needs. That was demonstrated by a third Microsoft employee who showed the Business Intelligence Dashboard, which pulled information from a variety of databases.

The data was used to generate a Windows Excel report based on data from the SQL Server database about how each of its stores was performing, as well as a map of the local area generated by Microsoft Visual Earth with green coffee cups indicating good-performing locations and one red coffee cup that showed a problem office.

The employee then changed the look of the report using Microsoft Report Designer, and used SQL Server to mine data and generate an Excel spreadsheet to show various metrics of the local stores which helped identify a shortage of coffee cups as the reason for a slowdown in service at the red-flagged store.