Microsoft wants to add Billions of Clients to your Network

That’s the news from Microsoft last week during the Embedded Systems Conference in San José, California. Windows 7 Embedded Standard 7 is now in the RTM stage. This means a whole lot more devices will be available for network connectivity. According to an article on The Register, IT professionals will be ‘blessed’ with the ‘opportunity’ to connect and mannage these devices.

“For an IT professional, it’s now becoming critical that you think through how to be able to manage, provision, monitor, and provide security to [embedded] devices just like you do today with a laptop or a PC,” says Kevin Dallas, GM of Microsft’s embedded unit. “That’s the radical change that is starting to happen, and that’s the future that we’re building to.”

Dallas’ suggestion that you add embedded devices to your worry list is due to the fact that Windows Embedded Standard 7 is in essence a “componentized” version of Windows 7 that can provide all the internet connectivity of that operating system. And when your share of billions of internet-capable embedded devices start to communicate with your company’s servers, you’ll be the one who’ll be told to manage them.

Estimates are that their will be around 15 billion embedded devices by 2015 and 40 billion by the year 2020. Windows 7 Embedded is actually Windows 7 broken down into a couple hundred components that vendors can pick and choose from to create custom solutions. This includes network and SQL connectivity.

“All the benefits of Windows 7 in the PC, laptop, netbook, and server arena can now be extended into the specialized devices space, into the embedded space.”

The good news, from Dallas’ point of view, is that since Windows Embedded Standard 7 is at heart Windows 7, all of the Microsoft back-end services that IT pros now use will be available to manage embedded devices.

“These devices need to connect seamlessly to back-end services. These services can range from management, to System Center, be able to participate in an Active Directory so you can set policies, you can push out software updates,” Dallas said.

I hope Microsoft really focuses on security with Windows Embedded 7. Some nefarious groups may be salivating at the chance of multiple new targets on your network running a componentized version of an operating system. Especially with the fact that Internet Explorer was recently hacked in two minutes at a security conference. I am curious too how the units will get Windows updates and security patches….

But if they do it right, Windows 7 Embedded clients will have a much smaller attack surface and be more secure than a standard pc. Time will tell. For more information see The Register.


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