when I met Bill Gates …

Well ok … so I didn’t actually get to meet him .. but I did see him talk, and mighty exciting it was too (unless you are one of those anti-software / anti-capitalist / anti-success people who don’t like him).
I had the fantastic opportunity of going to the Microsoft Windows Server & Tools Pre-Launch Event in London (Park Lane Hilton), which was only available to Microsoft Gold Partners (so a thumbs up there to my employers!) and very swanky and posh (but a thumbs down to the caterers … who on earth serves steak and chicken from a buffet but doesn’t provide any tables or chairs ??? ever tried to use a knife & fork while holding your own plate ??).
Well, Bill Gates, the big man himself, was giving one of they key-note speechs about “The Miracle of Software”. Basically talking about how software has evolved to enrich people’s lives and what software design should be about (i.e. empowering people). It was all quite nice and they had a Q&A session afterwards (although quite blatantly pre-planned questions).
Some of the other speakers had some interesting things to say, mostly the buzz-words were “Hardware Optimisation” and “Virtualisation” around the Windows Server 2008 “Hyper-V” technology …  which has led us here to a bit of a conundrum …
You see … it is a little known fact that the next version of SharePoint (a.k.a. Office 14) will only run on 64-bit!!!
Now … this isn’t such a problem for the production environments, I can’t even think of a non-64-bit CPU that is still being bought for production hardware these days … but when you go into the development lifecycle things get a bit more tricky!
You see … at the moment (and I hope this changes) you cannot run 64-bit Virtual Machines on any Virtual Server environment (not even if your host OS is 64-bit). The only piece of technology making this possible is the new “Hyper-V” which is part of the Windows Server 2008 kernel. This is also ONLY possible if you are running a CPU that is BOTH 64-bit and has “Hardware Assisted Virtualisation” (HAV).
That all sounded fine and dandy .. but then I got back to the office and looked at the hefty workstation on my desk … no HAV and definately no Hyper-V either.
So now we have a bit of a conundrum … do I upgrade to a HAV compatible CPU? (i.e. one of the new “Quad Core” Intel Xeon processors) so that I can potentially run 64-bit virtual machines (and hence develop new SharePoint environments)?
BUT … if Windows Server 2008 remains the ONLY platform for 64-bit virtualisation that means I will need a Server 2008 OS to do all my development in (not really suitable for a workstation).
Well .. I’ve spoken to my Infrastructure Manager and come to a plan. All the dev.team are getting brand new Quad-Core Xeon with 4GB RAM workstations.
IF Microsoft don’t release a “workstation” virtualisation platform that can run 64-bit VMs then we are going to convert them all into Servers and buy crappy “terminal” workstations .. and every developer can have their own personal “server” to work in.
IF Microsoft DO release said software … then hurray ! for we’ll have the hardware capable of supporting it.
hmmm .. I wonder if I can convince them to get me 30″ widescreen monitors too ???? …..