Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Great Opportunity to Expand Your Options to SMB Customers

I don’t normally write about specific technology products, but last week Microsoft released to manufacturing a great new product called Windows MultiPoint Server 2011. This product has been revved from the previous version and I think has a great application for those of us serving small businesses. The previous version was only designed for education users – but this version – while still designed with education in mind – has a significant play for us in SMB.

With Windows MultiPoint Server 2011, the licensing and purchase model has been simplified. There are still two versions as before, with similar restrictions:

• Windows MultiPoint 2011 Standard – still cannot join a domain and still has a max of 10 work stations
• Windows MultiPoint 2011 Premium – CAN join a domain as before and can have up to 20 workstations

The most important piece of information to note in the SMB space, is that BOTH of these MultiPoint editions are offered in multiple Microsoft licensing channels. So now you don’t have to be a large school to actually purchase the more useful edition of MultiPoint. And that is where our opportunity comes in.

Imagine going to your small business customer with this solution. You walk in the door and are told they don’t have any money to upgrade their network. Their equipment is 5-7 years old and you have been holding things together with baling wire for the last couple years. They have a dozen XP workstations and a server that has run out of space so it is eating you alive on your managed service program as you have to clean files weekly just to keep it up and running.

The way that conversation normally goes is trying to coax enough funds out of them to replace the server and maybe a critical workstation or two. With Windows MultiPoint 2011 Premium – we now have some real options to help these businesses refresh in a less expensive but very impactful way. We still need to get a new server to do the work – but rather than also have the battle over replacing workstations – we can extend their life with MultiPoint. They become end terminals that don’t need to be upgraded from XP to Win 7. That happens as a MultiPoint client.

But wait, there’s more. The 2011 version of Windows MultiPoint Server has support for thin clients. Here is where I think the big win for Small Business can occur. If you have 12 XP workstations, you can simply obtain 1 copy of MultiPoint Premium and now each of those XP workstations have another 5 years of life but yet, they get a full Windows 7 experience when used as a MultiPoint workstation over the network. And when they finally begin to die – you can replace them with thin client devices rather than buying a new PC. It all runs over the current Ethernet network you have in place. And the real deal – it runs in a virtual session on a Windows server too.

We have been testing Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 in one of our education clients for the past few months. Our engineer has four virtual servers running WMS 2011 and serving thin clients and older desktops and notebooks alike. It has great management features for the teacher or business owner – the ability to shadow users – block activity – really keep track of productivity on the network.

It is essentially a turnkey TS server on steroids. Just show the business owner the console where you can get a thumbnail of each individual workstation. Business owners will love that they can now watch their employees desktops for use of Facebook or selling something on EBay, or other non-productive time wasting tasks on work time.

You owe it to your customers to take a serious look at Windows MultiPoint Server 2011. Combined with the new SBS product line – this will be a killer opportunity for us in the SMB space to refresh our clients to a level of productivity where they can use all the current technology without having to battle with them to buy all new hardware. It is a win for all of us in the mix. Check it out, and let me know what creative ways you come up with to deliver this technology to the marketplace!

Here are some resources for those of you interested in more:

1. The main website just went live today with WMS 2011 content. http://www.microsoft.com/multipoint
2. WMS 2011 Premium Eval is on the download center. This is a 180 day eval. It can convert to full product by entering a key. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=3188a587-3542-4dda-99b3-551cdabe581f
3. WMS 2011 Premium full product is also on technet for technet subscribers. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/securedownloads/default.aspx?PV=42%3a433%3a---%3aen%3ax64
4. And it’s also on MSDN for MSDN subscribers. https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/securedownloads/default.aspx?PV=42:433:---:en:x64

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