Damir and I just finished up our sessions in Halifax at the CIPS Informatics 2007 conference. The conference continues until Wednesday and I look forward now sitting back and listening to some of the other great speakers they have here.

One of the topics of discussion has been how to get a handle on the increasing pressures that are placed on IT infrastructures. Often the day to day "fire-fighting" takes away from the ability of IT to be proactive. There's too much time spent on just treading water to think much about adding business value in a real, ongoing way. Damir and I talked in our sessions about how IT practitioners can manage their environment in such a way as to free up time for work that actually adds value to the business. However I learned today through the keynote by Dr. Nick Bontis, that the future of the Internet may be in Mandarin and Hindi, so add language lessons to the long list of things to do!

Anyway, if you're interested in keeping up on the latest technologies and are thinking about rolling out Vista, I'd recommend that you download a copy of Virtual Server 2005. Why? Because we've just posted a 30 day evaluation VHD of Vista on the Microsoft download site. For anyone who hasn't used VHDs before, what this means is that you can quickly evaluate software without having to go through the process of installing it. As long as you have Virtual Server, you can create a virtual machine from a VHD file in a matter of minutes.

Click here for information on setting up and using Virtual Server.

Click here for more downloadable VHDs.