Windows 8 Server: Will New Task Manager Ease IT Headaches?
Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 Blog, once again, unveils secrets of the Windows 8 development process. This time, the blog focuses more on Task Manager — and its implications for IT administrators and partners who need to maintain the operating system. Apparently, the Windows 8 Team has devised a way to manage multiple logical CPUs, which is especially important in a server environment. Here’s how a simple GUI update could change a VAR or IT admin’s day…
If you don’t managed servers, you might not realize servers often are hosts to hundreds upon hundreds of logical CPUs. When you hit control-alt-delete at home on your own PC, you probably look at anywhere between one to six CPUs. They’re represented by little green graphs with zig-zagging peaks and valleys of usage. But viewing six of these is far easier than viewing, say, 250 of them. Graphs are no longer ideal ways of managing that much information at a glance.
The Windows 8 Team has detailed an alternative approach, which uses an orange heat-graphic style of CPU usage on the new Task Manager for Windows 8. The darker/brighter the orange, the higher the CPU consumption. But when it comes to hundreds of CPUs, that style still needs some tweaking.
Indeed, Windows 8 Task Manager for servers now offers a boxed grid of CPUs, all of which show their usage percentage in the center, and go from white to cool blue depending on usage. Blue is an incredibly smart color to use, because psychologically, it’s easier on the eyes and a more calming color to deal with than facing a wall of red glowing CPUs. The Windows 8 Team also built in the ability to hover over a CPU with the cursor, and get the CPU’s processor ID and node number, which can then make handling processes and delegating processes to other logical CPU and nodes much simpler.
The tangible benefits to this update are obvious, but will this small tweak make life easier for IT administrators and IT service providers? That remains to be seen. I suspect the multitude of small GUI and usability tweaks like this one could potentially make Windows 8 the best version of Windows for desktops and servers alike. And that’s saying a lot, considering I spend tend to praise Apple, rather than Microsoft, for usability.