Subscribe to:

Subscribe to :: TheGuruReview.net ::

RedHat Goes PaaS With Linux

June 30, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Red Hat has announced the release of OpenShift Enterprise (OSE) 3, a new version of its Platform-as-a-Service offering.

Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)7, Openshift is built on Docker Linux containers with Kubernetes orchestration using technology developed in collaboration with Google.

The news comes in a busy week for Red Hat, which has also announced a new productivity tie-up with Samsung and taken a leading role in the formation of a new alliance known as the Open Container Project to standardise containers.

Users will have access to a wide range of apps via the Red Hat Container Certification Programme. Middleware solutions including Red Hat JBoss Enterprise, Web Server (Tomcat) and JBoss A-MQ messaging are also included.

Included are a number of tools to help developers create and collaborate, with web, command line, and integrated development environment interfaces. Options include direct code-push from GIT and source to image building. There is also flexibility for deployment, rollback and integration.

In addition, a preview of Openshift Dedicated has been released. The public cloud service based on OpenShift 3 will succeed Openshift Online, which already hosts 2.5 million applications online, allowing businesses to quickly build, launch and deploy bespoke apps.

Ashesh Badani, vice president and general manager, OpenShift, Red Hat, said, “This release of OpenShift Enterprise 3 employs open source containers and orchestration practices to change the developer experience and move the platform in the direction of what customers are asking for – a flexible platform for a microservices architecture.

“Our continued upstream work in the Docker and Kubernetes communities enable us to deliver the most updated technology platform for developers and operators, enabling them to remain competitive through quicker innovation.”

To assist users, Red Hat is offering a range of enterprise administrator courses to teach users how to deploy, configure and manage the system, which can result in a Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Platform as a Service – a worthy certificate for any office wall.

OpenShift 3 is available now with bespoke pricing models based of socket and core pairings.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Is The Oculus Ready For Mainstream?

June 23, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

One of the emerging players in the industry is definitely Oculus Rift, a potential leader of the whole Virtual Reality niche.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3 is definitely a good place to show off new tech, and visitors get to see the multi-billion dollar gaming industry jewels at their best. A veritable who is who of the gaming and publishing industry is competing for visitors’ attention and some 50,000 people get to see some of the latest and greatest gaming achievements.

Since Oculus got picked up by Facebook for $2 billion, everyone started to believe that VR is the place to be. Nvidia and AMD, the undisputed leaders of the gaming hardware industry, are investing huge amounts of money and effort to make Virtual Reality a reality, pardon the pun. Oculus needs a lot of GPU performance, the sort of performance you can get from the latest graphics hardware. It will spend every texel that your graphics engine can compute and it will need even more. Oculus needs at least a Radeon R9 290 or Geforce GTX 970 graphics card in order to get you a decent gaming expirience.

This VR need for performance, coupled with demand for 4K panels and gaming rigs, will push graphics hardware development to the next level and there is no doubt that 2016 GPUs will pass the 10 billion transistor barrier.

We got a chance to try the Oculus CV1 Consumer Version that is set to launch in Q1 2016 and we had a whole 7 minutes to play with it. We have to admit that Oculus has a virtually nonexistent public relations department and that we can be happy that we got these seven minutes with the Edge of Nowhere game. You get to chose from a few titles including EVE Valkyrie, Edge of Nowhere, Chronos, AirMech VR, Lucky’s Tale, Herobound: Spirit Champion, VR Sports: Challanage, Esper or Damadged Core. We did tried EVE Valkyrie on both AMD and Nvidia hardware at Crescent Bay demo.

The resolution didn’t change from Crescent Bay last beta Oculus that we got to try so many times. You can see individual pixels and despite the fact that you can look around and see 360 degrees, you would want to get somewhat better resolution.

The second problem was that the Edge of Nowhere game is really hard to play. The Xbox 360 controller is not the greatest tool that will keep you from falling trough the void. It is hard and no, we didn’t get to try the new controller.

My biggest concern is the fact that Virtual Reality glasses are making your slightly dizzy. There are more than a few people who feel really bad after minutes of using Oculus. If 3D glasses at movie theater make you dizzy and uncomfortable, Oculus VR will be your cryptonite. This is going to be a tough nut to crack. Getting into Virtual Reality world and coming out might be a troublesome expirience, too. Every single Oculus demo we got to try since the first one was a few minutes long. We want to see what happens after one or more hours of gameplay. This will be the key thing for the future of Oculus VR (and other VR solutions).

On a less critical note, the glasses get to mess up your hair as you can clearly see from the picture above.

Have in mind that virtual reality is the way to get you to Star Trek holodeck and we hope that this will happen sooner rather than later, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Mark Zuckerberg was very smart to buy Oculus, as the company wants you to move to a VR space and make time consuming stuff such as chat more personal. Millennials will be able to chat more on a much more personal level than older generations, who got used to MIRC, ICQ and Skype.

The fact that HTC and Valve are already making Oculus run for its money is great, as every industry needs competition. Some other players are trying to get to this market but we saw a few other smaller players that are trying their best, but they are still not at the level where these big boys are.

Every new technology just needs time to mature, and Virtual reality is no exception. Just give it some time and please don’t expect it to be the best thing since sliced bread.

Courtesy-Fud

Can Oculus Succeed At $599?

June 15, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

We were recently asked what we would want to see with the CV1 Oculus consumer version.

Fudzilla tried every single developer’s version and we tried the last beta, codenamed Crescent Bay, at more than one action. Recently Nvidia had a bunch of demos that we got to experience last week at Computex in Taiwan.

Crescent Bay is good, but we wanted a higher resolution per eye. Unfortunately, the Oculus Consumer version comes with the same OLED based 2160×1200 at 90Hz panel, split over dual displays. This means that you are getting 1080×1200 at 90 Hz per eye. These are the numbers that Atman Binstock, Chief Architect at Oculus Rift shared with the community some months ago.

Another thing that Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey didn’t mention is the retail price of the VR glasses. From what we could find out, the company plans to sell them for $499. The goal is to offer this technology together with PC for $1500 and you can get a decent PC with GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 for that money. Have in mind that the computer components will get even cheaper by Q1 2016 when Oculus plans to ship their glasses. Oculus issued a statement that $1500 will get you a PC with glasses.

The main question remains how they feel after hours or playing. Every single demo we tried was a few minutes long, but what happens after a couple of hours of playing?

And don’t worry the second generation consumer version that we expect to see in the second half of 2016 will probably have better displays and improved tracking sensors too.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Can Mozilla Put VR In The Browzer?

June 11, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Engineers at the Mozzarella Foundation have finally come up with an idea that could make Firefox relevant again.

For ages now Firefox has been losing users almost as it holds on to their memory and while it has made pushes into mobile, the outfit has not really done much cutting edge since it sank Internet Exploder in Europe.

All that is set to change as the Foundation starts putting Virtual Reality under the bonnet of the browser.

Mozilla researchers Vlad Vukicevic and Josh Carpenter have been telling Road to VR about Mozilla’s cunning plans to build building native-feeling immersive VR sites.

“Ultimately, we want users to have a seamless, friction-free experience on the Web, whether browsing existing Web content or new VR content. We also want developers to have a clear path to creating new fully-immersive VR web sites as well as adding VR elements to their current sites. Finally, we want all of this to work on the widest possible range of hardware, as one of the strengths of the Web is its ability to scale from the lowest end mobile phones to the highest end desktops,” they said.

Initially the Web VR has focused on creating content using WebGL, which is a full 3D graphics API. WebGL is powerful, but it’s an API borrowed from the 3D world purely to enable high performance 3D graphics on the Web.

 

WebGL is a good place to get started with VR experiments on the Web, but HTML+CSS are still the languages we use to structure and lay out websites. So for VR Web to take off, it needs to enable Web developers to create VR experiences using these languages they already know.

So there has to been a way to view and interact with HTML and CSS websites in virtual reality and this will mean VR equivalents of scrolling, clicking links, zooming in, etc.
“We will need to determine how to display desktop and mobile sites that were never designed for virtual reality,” they said.

WebVR is currently best supported on desktop browsers like Firefox Nightly, where it is experienced as a temporary mode within a traditional 2D browsing user interface. These interfaces were not designed with virtual reality in mind, and as a consequence we cannot “browse” inside VR.

“We do not believe Web VR will take off until we can truly surf the Web from inside virtual reality, with the functionality we expect from modern browsers. We have begun this work with our early ‘Hiro’ prototypes, and we have many more ideas!”

It is all looking jolly interesting and we have a soft spot for the Open Saucy Mozilla so we hope it comes off.

Courtesy-TheInq

Windows 10 To Launch Worldwide On July 29th

June 2, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft Corp announced on Monday its new Windows 10 operating system will be launched worldwide on July 29, as a free upgrade for users of the most recent versions of Windows.

The world’s largest software company had earlier said Windows 10 would be released this “summer”.

Touch-friendly Windows 10, which features the return of the Start menu and will run across PCs, tablets and smartphones, is Microsoft’s latest attempt to win over mobile users and features a new browser called ‘Edge’.

It will be offered as a free upgrade to users of Windows 7 and 8.1, a strategy announced in January, designed to capture as many users as possible.

Microsoft also said new PCs and tablets running Windows 10 will go on sale July 29, while Windows 10 for other devices such as smartphones would be available later this year.

 

 

Red Hat’s Fedora 22 Leaves Beta

May 28, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Red Hat’s community arm, has announced the arrival of Fedora 22, the latest version of its open source Linux OS.

Coming in three editions, Fedora Cloud, Fedora Server and Fedora Workstation, the release, which first appeared in beta a month ago, marks the first biannual release since the major upgrade work that proceeded Fedora 21.

As well as the cross-edition basics of the kernel, RPM, systems and Anaconda, there is an updated package manager, with speedier results for DNF and continued command line compatibility with Yum.

The Cloud edition adds Atomic Command, a centralized hub for containers and hosts, with rp-ostree, Cockpit, Docker and Kubernetes all getting the upgrade treatment.

There are also Vagrant boxes for the Cloud edition and Atomic host, making it easier to spin up Fedora Vagrant boxes for development and testing.

The server edition, with its Rolekit Linux daemon, adds support for Database Server Role based on PostgreSQL. The system now defaults to the more efficient XFS file system which means fewer crashes and better recovery without downtime.

The Workstation version has an enhanced UI, with better bug notification, and desktop theming for Gnome. There’s an improved software finder, and enhancements to the remote machine and visualization apps. Plus there’s Vagrant compatibility with no extra runtimes of software needed.

Matthew Miller, Fedora Project leader, commented: “Fedora 22 continues the great groundwork laid by Fedora 21 and the Fedora.next initiative, delivering three unique editions of Fedora 22 while retaining the commitment to open source innovation for which Fedora is known.

“From the usability and developer enhancements in Fedora 22 Workstation to the expansion of Linux container and Docker support within Fedora 22 Cloud, Fedora remains a leader within the Linux vanguard, answering user needs above and beyond the desktop.”

Courtesy-TheInq

Occulus To Develop Virtual Reality Headset For Windows Only

May 19, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Mac and Linux fans you are out of luck. Facebook-owned Oculus Rift, the headset that perhaps more than any other device has ignited public interest in virtual reality, will run almost exclusively on well-appointed Windows PCs, at least in the near future.

The process that most laptops use to output video doesn’t work with the Rift, and  Oculus has temporarily halted development for hardware running Apple and Linux. That’s the takeaway from the spec informationOculus published Friday detailing what type of computer would be compatible with its headset.

Graphics cards need to be equivalent to or more powerful than the AMD Radeon R9 290 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 970, while the processor needs to match or exceed an Intel i5-4590 chip, the virtual-reality headset maker said in a blog post. Systems need at least 8GB of RAM, two USB 3.0 ports and must be able to handle HDMI 1.3 video output. They also need to be running at least Windows 7 with Service Pack 1.

Having common specs will simplify the development process and allow programmers to create apps and games that offer a consistent experience, said Oculus chief architect Atman Binstock in a blog post. This is important, since hardware that isn’t up to par will deliver a negative experience, he said.

The specs will stay consistent, but in theory, the cost of components that support the technology will decrease over time, allowing a broader range of PCs to work with the Rift, Binstock said.

Laptop owners who hoped to use the Rift are out of luck, at least for now. Many laptops have external video outputs connected to an integrated GPU (graphic processing units), said Binstock said. However, in those scenarios the video output is handled by “hardware and software mechanisms that can’t support the Rift,” he added.

Reviewing a laptop’s spec would not reveal this information, and Oculus is working on a method “to identify the right systems,” Binstock said.

 

Microsoft Expans Sneak Peek Of Windows 10

May 6, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft rolled out a broader-based public preview of Office 2016 for Windows, expanding on the March sneak peek that was available only to subscribers of select business-grade Office 365 plans.

The new desktop suite includes Access, Excel, Lync, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher and Word. It can be downloaded and installed by any consumer, whether they currently have an Office edition or Office 365 subscription or not, and by business workers whose companies subscribe to an eligible Office 365 plan that has Pro Plus as part of the deal.

The latter range from Office 365 Enterprise’s E3 and E4 plans and Office 365 Education’s E3 and E4, to Office 365 Government’s E3 and E4. Some plans, such as Office 365 Business, are not eligible for this preview but will be opened to the beta later, Microsoft said.

“Since March, we’ve shared some glimpses of what’s to come in Office 2016,” Jared Spataro, the Office marketing group’s general manager, said in a blogpost. “Today, we’d like to give a more holistic view of what customers at home and work can expect in the next release.”

The March preview Spataro referred to was available only to a subset of Office 365 subscribers, and followed the release of a broader-based preview of Office 2016 for Mac weeks earlier. Because the latter was open to anyone two months before the Windows version’s audience was expanded today, it looks likely that Office 2016 for OS X will debut in final form before the Windows edition.

Microsoft said that Office 2016 for Windows would ship in the fall, the same timetable executives had shared earlier.

In a FAQ, Microsoft listed the requirements for running the preview, which include Windows 7 and later, and reminded potential testers that they had to uninstall Office 2013 before shifting to the preview. The two editions cannot be run side by side, as can the beta of Office 2016 on the Mac with the older Office 2011.

As is Microsoft’s practice for previews, support for Office 2016 remains self-serve, primarily at a peer-to-peer discussion forum.

Microsoft has not yet revealed the pricing of Office 2016 — on either Windows or OS X — nor its retail strategy for selling the suite outside Office 365 subscriptions.

 

 

 

Dell Working On 120Gbs Deep Packet Inspection Firewall

April 27, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Dell’s security division has announced that it is working on a next-generation Firewall (NGFW) that it claims is the first to deliver deep packet inspection (DPI) speeds of up to 120Gbps.

The company will demonstrate these speeds at the RSA conference in San Francisco this week, and said that the NGFW cluster enables an “easy migration path” for the future growth of enterprise networks.

Dubbed a “firewall sandwich” of high DPI performance, better security efficiency and N+1 resiliency, the NGFW architecture is also said to lower the cost of demanding data centre operations.

“SSL decryption and inspection are critical NGFW capabilities required to effectively uncover malware deeply hidden inside encrypted web sessions and provide deeper perimeter network security,” said Dell.

“In this network design, the Dell SuperMassive NGFW with onboard SSL decryption can be incrementally deployed and horizontally scaled infinitely to address SSL performance loss and increase SSL decryption and inspection performance.”

The company will show off the technology at RSA in collaboration with Array Networks and Spirent Communication to give a demo of a highly-resilient, scalable, ‘Open Firewall Sandwich’ layer 3 architecture.

Dell will be joined by Ixia in demonstrating a network-based model for scaling the NGFW with DPI speeds of above 100Gbps.

Dell also unveiled several updates to the SecureWorks offering, which it claims will help firms increase network security and grow their business.

Updates include improved services in Dell Secure Mobile Access (SMA) solutions to increase mobile productivity for remote workers while protecting critical data from cyber threats.

The new SMA 11.2 release adds secure access to more resources using a standard HTML 5 browser, which Dell said allows easier access for most smartphone, tablet and laptop users while reducing reliance on Java and ActiveX components.

The new release adds HTML 5 browser access to Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp ICA support.

Dell said that new SMA 6200 and 7200 appliances also offer increased scalability. The SMA 6200 entry-level platform supports up to 2,000 concurrent users, while the SMA 7200 mid-range platform supports up to 10,000 concurrent users.

The SMA updates arrive six months after Dell revealed the SuperMassive 9800 firewall, which it claimed would protect against high-profile bugs such as Shellshock and Heartbleed.

Touted at the time as the most powerful in the SuperMassive 9000 line-up, the 9800 offered Dell’s Reassembly-Free DPI single-pass threat prevention engine, and advanced DPI with speeds up to 20Gbps. That’s a whopping 100Gbps less than the speed it is about to go for at RSA.

Courtesy-TheInq

Microsoft Strips Down Nano-Server

April 22, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft is going great guns in the server market having recently announced the Nano Server, a “minimal footprint” Windows Server, and Hyper-V containers, which provide virtual machine isolation capabilities to containers.

Nano Server is even more stripped-down than Windows Server Core with the GUI stack, 32 bit support (WOW64), MSI and a number of default Server Core components all being put in the dustbin.

You can’t do local logons, Remote Desktop and WMI and PowerShell are the only tools available to manage the creature.
Microsoft is also working on better remote tooling and is coming up with a set of management tools for the nano. It is planning work on PowerShell’s Desired State Configuration, file transfers and script authoring and debugging.

Cutting all this stuff out has made it more efficient, secure and availability. Redmond said that the Nano Server has 93 percent lower VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) size.

It also gets 92 percent fewer critical bulletins and requires 80 percent fewer reboots than a typical Windows Server. It is also a bit quicker to setup: from bare metal to running Nano Server takes 3 minutes.

Hyper-V containers also will offer the system a fair bit of isolation that was only available to “dedicated physical or virtual machines”.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Microsoft Giving Up On ‘Do Not Track’?

April 7, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft is pulling back on its commitment to the fading “Do Not Track” (DNT) standard, saying that it would no longer automatically switch on the signal in its browsers.

“DNT will not be the default state in Windows Express Settings moving forward, but we will provide customers with clear information on how to turn this feature on in the browser settings should they wish to do so,” said Brendon Lynch, the firm’s chief privacy officer, in a blog post Friday.

“Windows Express” is Microsoft’s label for the setup process after first turning on a new PC or after the installation of an upgrade.

Do Not Track signals whether a user wants online advertisers and websites to track his or her movements, and was modeled after the Do Not Call list that telemarketers are supposed to abide by. All five major browsers — Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer (IE), Opera and Safari — can send a DNT request.

“This change will apply when customers set up a new PC for the first time, as well as when they upgrade from a previous version of Windows or Internet Explorer,” added Lynch.

His comments implied that when users of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 upgrade to Windows 10 later this year, the DNT setting in IE11 and Project Spartan — the new browser that will be named the default — will be left as off.

Lynch cited new emphasis in the DNT standard for the change.

The standard’s latest draft states, “The basic principle is that a tracking preference expression is only transmitted when it reflects a deliberate choice by the user. In the absence of user choice, there is no tracking preference expressed.”

“We are updating our approach to DNT to eliminate any misunderstanding about whether our chosen implementation will comply with the W3C [World Wide Web Consortium] standard,” said Lynch.

 

 

 

Did AMD Commit Fraud?

April 6, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD must face claims that it committed securities fraud by hiding problems with the bungled 2011 launch of Llano that eventually led to a $100 million write-down, a US court has decided.

According to Techeye US District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers said plaintiffs had a case that AMD officials misled them by stating in the spring of 2011 and will have to face a full trial.

The lawsuit was over the Llano chip, which AMD had claimed was “the most impressive processor in history.”

AMD originally said that the product launch would happen in the fourth quarter of 2010, sales of the Llano were delayed because of problems at the company’s chip manufacturing plant.

The then Chief Financial Officer Thomas Seifert told analysts on an April 2011 conference call that problems with chip production for the Llano were in the past, and that the company would have ample product for a launch in the second quarter.

Press officers for AMD continued to insist that there were no problems with supply, concealing the fact that it was only shipping Llanos to top-tier computer manufacturers because it did not have enough chips.

By the time AMD ramped up Llano shipments in late 2011, no one wanted them any more, leading to an inventory glut.
AMD disclosed in October 2012 that it was writing down $100 million of Llano inventory as not shiftable.

Shares fell nearly 74 percent from a peak of $8.35 in March 2012 to a low of $2.18 in October 2012 when the market learned the extent of the problems with the Llano launch.

Courtesy-Fud

Windows 7 Continues To Gain User Share Of PC Market

April 3, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Windows 7 last month powered nearly two-thirds of all personal computers running a version of Microsoft’s OS, according to recently released data from researchers.

Net Applications’ monthly user share tracking — an estimate of the percentage of all systems that rely on a specific operating system — pegged Windows 7 at 63.7% of all Windows PCs in March.

That was a 2.6 percentage point jump from February.

The climb of Windows 7′s user share has been remarkable. An older operating system — Windows 7 debuted in 2009 — typically loses share when a successor appears on the scene. Even in the dark days of Windows Vista, the OS tagged as a flop for Microsoft, Vista stole share from the then-overwhelmingly-dominant Windows XP.

Instead, Windows 7 has gained significant user share since the October 2012 launch of Windows 8. In the intervening 29 months, Windows 7′s share of all Windows PCs has climbed nearly 15 percentage points, representing an increase of almost a third.

Notable, too, has been Windows 8/8.1′s stagnation: In the last four months, Microsoft’s latest OS has grown by just six-tenths of a percentage point, reaching 15.4% of all Windows PCs in March. In the same span, Windows 7′s share of all Windows machines jumped 2.2 points.

Microsoft would prefer that Windows 7 not repeat Windows XP’s trajectory. The 2001 OS still powered more than 30% of all Windows PCs in April 2014, when free support ceased.

However, analysts have already predicted that Windows 7 will reprise XP’s late-to-leave behavior. Net Applications’ data suggests that their forecasts are on the money.

 

 

 

 

Intel Shows Off The Xeon SoC

March 16, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel has announced details of its first Xeon system on chip (SoC) which will become the new the Xeon D 1500 processor family.

Although it is being touted as a server, storage and compute applications chip at the “network edge”, word on the street is that it could be under the bonnet of robots during the next apocalypse.

The Xeon D SoCs use the more useful bits of the E3 and Atom SoCs along with 14nm Broadwell core architecture. The Xeon D chip is expected to bring 3.4x better performance per watt than previous Xeon chips.

Lisa Spelman, Intel’s general manager for the Data Centre Products Group, lifted the kimono on the eight-core 2GHz Xeon D 1540 and the four-core 2.2GHz Xeon D 1520, both running at 45W. It also features integrated I/O and networking to slot into microservers and appliances for networking and storage, the firm said.

The chips are also being touted for industrial automation and may see life powering robots on factory floors. Since simple robots can run on basic, low-power processors, there’s no reason why faster chips can’t be plugged into advanced robots for more complex tasks, according to Intel.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Doubling Price For Those Who Still Want XP Support

February 20, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft will double the per-PC price of support for enterprises still holding onto Windows XP systems when the anniversary of the aged OS’s retirement rolls around in April, according to a licensing expert familiar with the situation.

The per-PC price for what Microsoft calls “custom support agreements” (CSAs) will increase to $400, the expert said after requesting anonymity.

CSAs provide critical security updates for an operating system that’s been officially retired, as Windows XP was on April 8, 2014. CSAs are negotiated on a company-by-company basis and also require that an organization has adopted a top-tier support plan, dubbed Premier Support, offered by Microsoft.

The CSA failsafe lets companies pay for security patches beyond the normal support lifespan while they finish their migrations to newer editions of Windows. Most enterprises have shifted — and are continuing to do so — to Windows 7 rather than adopt Windows 8.1.

Last year, just days before Microsoft retired Windows XP, the company slashed the price of CSAs to $200-per-device with a cap of $250,000.

Because a CSA is an annual-only program — and Microsoft limits each organization to just three years of post-retirement support — agreements must be renewed each year. The first renewals come due in less than two months.

Ideally, companies that signed up for a CSA last year will have retired large numbers of Windows XP machines in the interim. If a firm reduced the number of Windows XP PCs by half, it will pay the same as last year if it renews the agreement at the higher per-device price.

It’s difficult to gauge the persistence of Windows XP in commercial settings, but the operating system, which debuted in 2001, continues to appear in analytics firms’ tracking.

According to U.S.-based Net Applications, for example, the global user share of XP stood at 20.7% of all Windows-powered PCs in January, representing more than 300 million machines. Meanwhile, Irish metrics company StatCounter pegged XP’s usage share at 12% for January.