Microsoft published a couple of step-by-step guides for sys admins. I think I saw some of them on Technet before. This page lists many important guides as Word files. When I skimmed over the titles, I realized that there are quite a few new things to learn for sysops. This reminds me of a remark Bill Gates made some years ago. He said that in the future Windows will be so easy to manage that there will be less need for system administrators.

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At least, this is how I remember it. Then, there was this Zero Administration Initiative in 1996. Now, more than a decade later, what is left of this "zero administration"? In my view, things are getting more complicated every year in Windows administration. Ten years ago, I was able to stay informed easily about everything in detail. Nowadays, I am often only able to scratch the surface.

There are five times more IT professionals working in my department now. This is not only due to the fact that things got more complicated, but also because IT plays a more important role now. I think that any kind of prediction in IT more than a year ahead has a probability of almost 100 percent, to be wrong.

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Some days ago, a German management consultancy predicted that until 2011 about 120,000 IT jobs will be cut down in Germany because of outsourcing, offshoring and efficiency increase. In my opinion such predictions are just wild speculation. Nobody can know what kind of inventions will be made next year that might revolutionize everything we know about IT today. Maybe 300,000 jobs will be cut down; maybe we need 500,000 new IT professionals until 2011. Nobody can foretell that, not even Bill Gates.

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    Joe 17 years ago

    Well, Bill might have been wrong about the ‘zero administration stuff’ (thankfully, my job depends on it!), but at least that whole paperless office thing worked out. Wait a minute. I’m surrounded by paper. Dang it all, that didn’t work either!

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    Jim 17 years ago

    It’s all about making money. The conspiracy theory has always been that as long as MS caters things to admins and markets certification that they then have a core group that then keeps MS products inhouse at their place of work.

    This argument supported Apple’s marketshare as well as they used to market that their systems were simple enough to use to not need as much support. Look at what you have…Macs didn’t get as accepted as techs/admins didn’t want them as they would have to work with something they knew nothing about and if it was simple, jobs might be cut.

    Now we Macs being somewhat more complex with a bigger attraction to techs/geeks. Marketshare now grows.

    Of course on the other side of the fence many never predicted how bad security would get and how the internet would play a role in things. We’re still a bit in the infancy of computers on the internet. Look back at some roadmaps MS had previous to the internet boom and you’ll see that they are just now getting back to some of the features that they were working on back then but stopped to change direction to account for the internet.

    Some day some of this might get easier but I’m with you it’s gotten incredibly tough to keep up on this stuff like I used to be able to and others in my field I know personally say the same thing. It also used to be fun but not so much anymore.

    As for predictions I do think it’s possible if people keeps certain things in perspective by looking at previous examples and move beyond the hype. For instance how long have they been talking about how web-based apps are going to replace native apps? That conversation is so old it’s tiresome. I never saw it back in the mid-90’s and still don’t see it. It might happen someday but still not anytime soon. Simply put there aren’t many with good vision who make these predictions. Typically they’re biased based off of some business model they formulated first without thinking about how to get to point b from a. In my opinion I think we’ll probably see virtualized apps streamed off MS servers first(softgrid anyone?) as a service but that’s my prediction which is based off of what technology there is today and not technology of tomorrow. I don’t get paid for predictions so I have nothing to lose in making that one.

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    Jim, I have never believed in this conspiracy theory. If zero administration really were possible, then I am sure MS would have done it. I am sure CEOs would love it if a secretary could manage the whole Windows network during her coffee break. You’re right, these web based applications are another good example of how long term predictions could fail. Technically, nothing noteworthy has changed since Netscape tried to replace Windows with their Navigator (yeah, i’ve heard of Ajax). But since everyone wants to see this showdown between Google and Microsoft, it became quite trendy again to predict that fat clients are dead. Usually it turns out that this kind of prophecy isn’t based on real data, but on the pipe dreams of people who are unsatisfied with the current situation in one way or another.

    Joe, the paperless office is one of my favorite predictions. I love to predict this already for about 20 years. Guess why! Because I am very unsatisfied with the current situation. 😉

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    e winner 17 years ago

    Microsoft is all of one corporation, so “conspiracy theory” is not applicable. However, there’s no doubt in my mind that Microsoft makes money with deals for various businesses and software publishers to allow access to our PCs while restricting our ability to manage non-MS software and remove MS access-points. Most of the old XP security holes are still there (some under different names, but essentially the same programs and services). What is now missing is total administrative access to these and certain other functions.

    I have Vista Home Basic. Exploring Vista bit by bit and dll by dll using “Administrative Priveleges” I was surprised to find that these “priveleges” allowed me access to almost nothing of importance that isn’t directly managed by a “Control Panel” program, and to not all those that were so managed. Unfortunately, in order to get some non-MS programs (and some older MS programs) to work on my PC, I need access beyond the Control Panel to disengage and re-engage certain supposed “security” functions. To add insult to injury, on certain programs Vista keeps popping up nag screens either asking if I am the Administrator, or telling me out-right that I’m not, when I’m already logged on that I am! when I wanted to report such problems to MS online, they had download some in-house spy-ware which was supposed to provide them all the information; when I activated it, the MS site reported that their own spyware was faulty, and warned that it could be spyware; at any rate, it did nothing but compile information for MS and drop cookies which I was fortunate enough to wipe from my PC before they had a chance to settle.

    What Microsoft wants is total access/ total control of our computers. That’s not “conspiracy theory” – that’s monopoly capitalism. Such control not only forces us to continue spending bucks on “upgrades”, it also keeps users as commodities in the MS access market, which has become essential to the Internet.

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