Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2008 was officially launched today.
Whether IT admins follow along with Microsoft's reasoning is, of course, another matter. But Server 2008 certainly contains desirable features in its own right. Server Core is a new installation option that enables Windows Server 2008 to be deployed in a cut-down mode to serve one of eight specific server roles: file, print, DNS, DHCP, Active Directory, LDAP, virtualization, and web (IIS); there is also a ninth streaming media server role that is an optional download.

Server Core mode omits much of the GUI and interactive parts of the OS, as well as those services not essential to the chosen role. Management of Server Core systems will be remote, typically through MMC. In this first version of the functionality, some of those roles may be a little too cut-down; the web server mode lacks .NET (and hence ASP.NET), and since ASP.NET is one of IIS's major features, its omission may prove a little hard to stomach. The other options are more appealing, and they should be very welcome for administrators looking to streamline resource usage and cut down attack surface area.

Hyper-V, the new virtualization platform, isn't actually finished yet; it's still in beta, with a final release expected within 180 days. It's also an optional feature; you can save about $28 from the license fee by opting to eschew it, and it'll be available to purchase—for about $28—if you wish to add it to a non-Hyper-V version later on. Hyper-V uses the virtualization features on Intel and AMD processors (64-bit only) to, in principle, provide high-performance reliable virtualization.

The version of Windows 2008 server I played with looks very promising.


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