ED#10 : Microsoft Windows Server 2003 : Sharing, In A Whole New Perspective!
I recently had the opportunity to attend the launch of Microsoft's new Windows Server 2003 in PWTC, KL. Well, yada-yada-yada, there was the usual (read : boring!) "We are the best!" keynote speech. However, I do have to acknowledge that, by the end, Windows Server 2003 impressed me with its features and its "secure by default" architecture. All part of Bill Gate's "Trustworthy Computing" initiative. Let's have a look at some of those features.
I was almost sleeping through the keynote speech when they did a live demo on something called "Shadow Copies of Shared Folders". That woke me up and for a good reason too!
What "Shadow Copies of Shared Folders" does is allow Windows Server 2003 to automatically create shadow copies of shared files. So, whenever someone opens and writes to a "shadow-copied" file, Windows Server 2003 won't actually overwrite the file physically, like what you would expect. Instead, it reclassifies the original file as a shadow copy (a form of backup) and the newly edited file is written to the hard disk as the default file.
So, what is the usefulness of such a feature?
Imagine a workplace environment where it's really common to have files stored on a central server for team members to share. What one would usually do is either to copy the file to a local computer and access it there; or open the file remotely and then save it as a new file locally. Either way, chances are someone will eventually make a mistake and overwrite the shared copy on the server!
When that happens, most users are resigned to shaking with fear and praying that someone else actually made a copy of the original file! But they will no longer need to count on luck with the Shadow Copies feature. All you will need to do then is right click on the file you accidentally wrote over, go to the Previous Version tab and select a restore point! It's as simple as that! :)
Oh... I guess that means we can't use our favourite "Someone overwrote my file, boss!!!" excuse anymore, can we?
To learn more about this feature, head on to http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/techinfo/overview/scr.mspx to check out the official overview! This feature alone was pretty cool, in my humble opinion :)
But they weren't done yet. They then demoed something even more captivating!
With Windows Server 2003, you will be able to deploy the new (and currently beta) SharePoint Service quite easily. SharePoint Team Services is essentially a kind of web portal where a team of people can share information and documents via a simple web interface!
The key thing about this cool service is that it is very easy to deploy and you won't need an IT specialist to run the show. For example, if you want to share a document, you just need to go to the Documents tab (in the web interface), select the file you want and click on the Upload button! SharePoint will then upload the file and make it available to only those with the proper authorization. This sure beats the current oh-so-cryptic shared folders method, right?
The demo also showed this service working very closely with Windows Server 2003's Shadow Copies feature. You can actually choose to retrieve a particular version of a document that has been uploaded to SharePoint! Amazing, isn't it?
And that's not even all! What completely won me over was its tight integration with the upcoming Microsoft Office 2003!
When you open a Word document through the SharePoint Team Service Portal, Microsoft Word 2003 will also display a panel on the right side showing exactly what SharePoint Team Service displays! This allows you to see right away all the other available documents. You can probably also view the different versions of the documents as well as see who else on the team is currently working on the same document (!!!). In fact, it would also be possible to communicate directly with your team members through Microsoft Word 2003's SharePoint Team Service panel!
These two features are sure to bring a whole new perspective to sharing documents and information on the workplace LAN in the very near future!
Read more on Window's SharePoint Team Service Technology here - http://www.microsoft.com/sharepoint/teamservices/default.asp!
From the two cool features I saw during the Windows 2003 Server launch, I think the future of computing is pretty clear.
It's all about connectivity minus the hassle.
Thinking about what you want to do and not how you want to do it is the key objective of the Windows Server 2003's Luna User Interface where almost everything is 'task-oreinted'. The two features above show that Microsoft is working to extend that into the networking aspect.
So, I would like to conclude this editorial by reminding you that this is merely the fruit of my own thoughts. I may be right and I may be wrong. But heck, the future of mass computing looks bright! Very bright indeed! :)
Questions & Comments
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