Microsoft evangelist sings the IT blues

3 Nov 2004

Microsoft’s platform evangelist and the senior vice-president in charge of the software giant’s US$8bn developer and tools business, Eric Rudder, says he increasingly confident of migrating large corporations away from traditional mainframe and Unix environments. Speaking in Dublin today he also revealed that the first beta versions of the long-awaited Longhorn operating system will be available next summer.

Citing lower total cost of ownership and better performance, Rudder said that the company’s Windows Server technology is gradually eating away at the 40-year-old mainframe’s dominance of the corporate IT market, with the result that successful gains with Windows Server and Windows Small Business Server have overtaken Unix revenue. According to Rudder, in 2004 Microsoft grew its share of the corporate server market to 62pc, while Small Business Server doubled unit growth during the year.

Rudder is also responsible for leading the company’s outreach to the developer community. His team focuses on co-ordinating the overall programming model for the client and server, creating tools for the .Net platform and fostering synergies between Windows and the Windows Server System offerings. Prior to leading the developer and platform evangelism division, Rudder was vice-president of technical strategy working directly with Bill Gates on Microsoft’s technical strategy.

Offering his perspective on the key issues facing chief information officers (CIOs), globally and in Ireland, Rudder said that companies can increase their operational efficiency through more intelligent management of server technology.

Addressing business and government CIOs, Rudder this morning unveiled fresh research on IT trends and expenditure in Ireland from IDC, which declared that the major challenge organisations are facing is to do with maintaining and increasing levels of business. Next up was the issue of costs in general followed by increased competition, up from 13pc this year from 9pc last year. This is a particular concern for the retail/wholesale, transport, telecoms, media, utilities and finance sectors. This is good news for the Government, which has been trying to promote competition within these sectors. The other main challenge is the need for improved security and antivirus protection and this has increased in the past year. This is most strongly felt in the business services sector with a quarter of organisations citing this challenge.

Reaffirming that the concerns of Irish CIOs are no different from those of other CIOs the world over, Rudder continued: “We see companies still wanting to get off the mainframe and we have an alliance with Fujitsu in the form of a mainframe integration effort to help companies integrate Windows Server and get off the mainframe.”

Pointing to new products forthcoming from Microsoft, Rudder said that the company will be bringing out new server management suites covering Exchange and SQL Server. “We are driven by the need by CIOs for increasing management control driven by new compliance rules such as Basel 2 and Sarbanes Oxley.”

He also said that Small Business Server has been a strong success amongst IT managers who want to take a technology that is easy to simplify and apply across a workforce.

Focusing on the development market, Rudder said that the company is continuing to drive newer versions of Visual Studio and is seeking to expand its influence among the developer community by providing slimmer downloadable ‘Express’ versions of Visual Basic tools for secondary and college students and enthusiasts in general.

By John Kennedy