Windows Server 2008 - What is new?

Windows Server 2008 - What is new?

Windows Server 2008 is the newest release of server operating system from Microsoft. Windows Server 2008 was released on February 27, 2008.

After almost five years of break, Windows Server 2008 is the successor to Windows Server 2003.

What is the underlying technology in Windows Server 2008?

Windows Server 2008 is built on the Windows NT 6.0 kernel. Just a note on the side, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista run on the same core. Because Windows Server 2008 is built on the same code base as Windows Vista, they share many aspects of architecture and functionality.

What are the minimum system requirements for Windows Server 2008?

Processor: The minimum operating system requirement is 1 GHz for x86 architecture or 1.4GHz for x64 architecture processors. It is recommended to use a 2 GHz or faster processor on a Windows Server 2008 system.

Memory: 512 MB RAM may limit performance and some features in Windows Server 2008. It is strongly recommended to use at least 4 GB RAM on low utilization 32-bit Standard edition Windows Server 2008 machines. Enterprise and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2008 should be run on 64 GB RAM. If you run Windows Server 2008 on a 64-bit architecture, you should have 32 GB RAM for the Standard edition server and more on Enterprise and Datacenter.

Video, monitor: Luckily, you can still use any old monitor to manage your server. Any SVGA with at least 800 x 600 pixels resolution will be sufficient for Windows Server 2008.

Hard disk space: Basic Windows Server 2008 installation requires around 10 GB space. Adding more features requires more memory, so the recommendation is 40 GB of free hard disk space. Computers with more than 16GB of RAM will require more disk space for paging, hibernation, and dump files.

To install Windows Server 2008, you need also a DVD drive.

What is new in Windows Server 2008?

Windows Server 2008 offers many improvements over Windows Server 2003. We focused on a few that we enjoy the most so far.

Windows Server 2008 What is new and minimum requirements

Windows Server 2008 Core...

A Windows Server 2003 could be downsized by selecting more or less options during the install, but the basic minimum was still huge and was not needed in many cases, for example on a file server, print server, DNS server, domain controller, and on other implementations. There really is no need to have Paint on a DNS server. 

Windows Server 2008 comes with a new installation option called a Server Core. Server Core is a significantly scaled-back installation of the Windows Server 2008 operating system where for example the Windows Explorer and many other features and utilities are not installed. This bare-bones version of the operating system is slim and has only the necessary core that is absolutely needed for server functionality.

Active Directory roles...

Active Directory in Windows Server 2008 has been expanded with identity, certificate, and rights management services. Identity and certificate services allow administrators to manage user accounts and the digital certificates that allow them to access certain services and systems. Federation management services enable enterprises to share credentials with trusted partners and customers. This way, you can for example allow your trusted outsourcing partner to log into your network using his company user name and password.

Terminal Services...

Windows Server 2003 allowed to share the whole desktop for remote connections. Windows Server 2008 goes one step further and allows to share an individual application over a Remote Desktop connection. This feature is called Terminal Services Remote Programs. Terminal Services in Windows Server 2008 supports Remote Desktop Protocol 6.0.

If you wanted to open a Remote Desktop connection to your server in Windows 2003 from a computer out in the world, you had to establish a VPN session first. Windows Server 2008 provides new features called Terminal Services Gateway and Terminal Services Web Access. Terminal Services Gateway allows authorized computers to connect securely to a Terminal Server or Remote Desktop from the Internet using RDP via HTTPS. Additional ports do not need to be opened in the firewall because a RDP is tunneled through HTTPS. Terminal Services Web Access enables administrators to provide access to the Terminal Services Sessions via a Web interface.

Windows Server 2008 System Resource Manager...

Windows Server 2008 integrates the Windows System Resource Manager (WSRM). This functionality can be used to control how much resources a process or a user can use on your server. You can restrict processes' and users' CPU time, number of processors it can be run on, memory, bandwidth, and others.

Read-Only Domain Controller...

Windows Server 2008 allows read-only instances of your domain controller. This is useful in companies where some servers are in locations that are not physically secure enough, and unauthorized access to a domain controller is a real risk. In this case, the Read Only Domain Controller (RODC) holds only a non-writeable copy of Active Directory. All write requests are redirected to a Full Domain Controller which then replicates changes in read-only mode to the RODC.

Group policy objects indexed...

Windows Server 2008 includes the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) built into the operating system, and one very nice feature, that Windows Server 2003 lacks, is that group policy objects are indexed now making any search much easier.

New components...

In addition to all the Windows core improvements, Windows Server 2008 also includes .NET Framework 3.0 and Internet Information Services 7.0.

Power management - be green...

Windows Server 2008 brings a new feature which allows power management settings through group policy. Imagine a corporation with thousands of computers. Having the ability to centrally manage how long user's computer waits before the monitor is turned off, before hard disks go into sleep mode, when screen saver kicks in and other settings can result in great savings. Power management was possible to some degree in Windows Server 2003 as well, but bringing this into group policies provides great flexibility. (See Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System -> Power Management group policy.)

Ability to block device installation...

Windows Server 2008 allows the administrator to centrally restrict devices from being installed on computers. Windows Server 2008 provides the ability to create policy settings to control access to devices such as USB drives, CD-RW drives, DVD-RW drives, and other removable media. This is a great security improvement. (See Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System -> Device Installation group policy.)

Localization of printers...

Windows Server 2008 comes with a neat feature which offers the ability to assign printers based on location in the organization or a geographic location. This Windows Server 2008 new functionality is very useful to mobile users. When a user usually working in one city visits an office in another city, a group policy can update his or her printer for the new location. When the user returns back to his home office, a group policy updates his printer to use his home office printer again. (See Computer Configuration / User Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Deployed Printers group policy.)

Where can I get Windows Server 2008 for FREE?

You can download a free (evaluation) copy of Windows Server 2008 from the Microsoft website. That version does not need any product activation or a product key. It is a evaluation copy. Any edition of Windows Server 2008 may be installed without activation and evaluated for an initial 60 days.

The 60 day evaluation period may be reset three times, extending the original 60 day evaluation period by up to 180 days for a total possible evaluation time of 240 days. After this time, the version will need to uninstall, and your computer will need to be upgraded to a fully-licensed version of Windows Server 2008.

See the Windows Server 2008 page for more details.


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