Windows Server 2008 R2 Features

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** RELEASE DATE UPDATE:  Here is a post by the Microsoft Windows Server team on their blog outlining the exact dates for when Windows Server 2008 R2 will be available for purchase and download.

Here are some notes from a session I attended here at TechEd EMEA 2008 this morning which was presented by Microsoft’s, Iain MacDonald.  These notes are a straight dump from my OneNote notes so the formatting is a little bad in places.

I found it a good, though high level session which gave insight into what we can expect to see in the R2 release of Windows Server 2008.  One interesting point was around the apparent release date of R2, which as we now know we be at the same time the new desktop OS, Windows 7.  Iain informs that the current release roadmap will see R2 available ‘early 2010′.  This conflicts with some of the hints dropped by other presenters that suggested a Q3/Q4 2009 release.  I spoke with Iain after the session and he confirms that the Q1 2010 date is the correct time window.  

W2K8 R2 Much of the new functionality that comes with Windows Server 2008 R2 that has been demonstrated appears, functional albeit with a few errors here and there (which is to be expected).  I can’t help but think that this deployment date is based around the Windows 7 desktop OS being ready and also Microsoft not wanting to be perceived as rushing out too many OS updates/releases in relative close succession.  Though Iain did mention when I queried the dates that there was still quite a bit of work to be done around ensuring the new feature sets are suitable for release.

As Windows Server 2008 R2, and all subsequent releases of Windows server are going to be x64 only this presents a very strong case for rolling out x64 builds of Windows Server 2008 between now and the R2 launch.  As would be expected there won’t be a x86 to x64 upgrade path.

So here are my notes.

Windows Server 7 (W2K8 R2) Vision:

  • Enterprise-Class Foundation: try and ‘skinny’ it down, look at power management.
  • Streamlined Management: Any machine can be managed in the same way.
  • Virtualization and Consolidation.
  • Work Anywhere Infrastructure: Have workers work from anywhere.

Road Map:

2009

  • Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2
  • Windows Storage Server 2008

2010

  • Q1 – Windows server 2008 R2 (x64 only)

Overarching Release Principles:

  1. Strong Emphasis on hardware, driver and application compatibility.
  2. Take advantage of anticipated hardware advances.
    • Multicore, >64 processors, power management
  3. Respond to important developments in the near-term server landscape.
    • Virtualization, power management, server management
  4. Lay the foundation for the next major release of windows.
    • VHD boot, state separation, automation, Saas, componentization and layering
  5. Seek engineering efficiencies via resource alignment with Windows client

Not since Windows 2000 has a desktop and server OS been released at the same time. This will happen again with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 (desktop).

Technology Investment Areas.

Virtualization:

  • Hyper-V 2.0
  • Live Migration
  • Remote Desktop Services

Management

  • Power Management
  • AD Administrative Center – WATCH OUT FOR THIS!
  • PowerShell 2.0
  • Best Practices Analyzer

Web

  • IIS 7.0 & Integrated Extensions
  • .NET on Server Core
  • Configuration Tracing
  • Service-Oriented Architecture

Solid Foundation for Enterprise Workloads

  • Scalability and Reliability
  • >64 Core Support
  • Componentization
  • DHCP Failover
  • DNSSEC

Better Together with Windows 7

  • Direct Access
  • Branch Cache
  • Enhanced Group Policy

Server Core:

  • Servicing burden (eg: patching, etc) is reduced by removing components that are most often serviced:
  • Windows 2000 is ~60% reduction
  • Windows Server 2003 is ~40% reduction
  • Windows Server 2008 to date is ~40% reduction

Additions in 2008 R2:

  • .NET Framework
  • PowerShell 2.0

Virtualization:

  • Live Migration
  • Currently ‘Quick Migration’ in Hyper-V is used.
  • Live-migration of VMs between servers with no loss of service
  • Clustered Shared Volumes facilitates Live Migration
  • Benefits:
    • No dropped network connections
    • Leverages Failover Clustering
    • Enables dynamic IT environment
  • Moving from Quick to Live Migration:
  • Changes to VM’s? No
  • Changes to Storage Infrastructure? No
  • Changes to Network Infrastructure? No
  • Hyper-V 2.0 – Building on the architecture of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V

Integration with new technologies and products

  • >32 logical processors on the host computer
  • Hot Add/Remove Storage – with requiring a reboot
  • Second Level Translation (SLAT): Leverage new processor features to improve performance and reduce load n Windows Hypervisor
  • Boot from VHD: Allows any VHD to work on Physical hardware

Remote Desktop Services:

  • New – TS & VDI
  • Hyper-V support for virtual desktops
  • Single discovery and publishing infrastructure
  • SCVMM Integration and Support
  • Improved – full Fidelity RemoteApp & Desktops
  • RemoteApp & Desktop connections
  • RemoteApp & Desktop & Web Access
  • RD Gateway Security Improvements
  • Improved – User Experience
  • True multiple monitor support

Management:

  • 80% of IT cost is managing existing systems
  • Trends of the future magnify challenges:
  • Move to DataCenters – large scale, virtualization, remote management
  • Outsourcing – lower skilled, high turnover users

PowerShell 2.0:

  • Graphical PowerShell
  • Improved Security
  • Portability
  • New cmdlets

Power Management:

  • Core Parking – reduced multi-core processor power consumption
  • Centralized control of active power policies, to enable servers to "throttle down" during off hours by using DMTF-compliant remote management interfaces
  • SAN’s connected to Windows Server will be able to opt-in to go into a lower power state when they’re not being fully utilized.
  • New Logo Program with Power AQ.

Active Directory Domain Services:

  • New AD Domain Services management console
  • PowerShell integration
  • Recovery of del
    eted objects
  • New AD Recycle Bin
  • Improved process for joining domains
  • Offline domain join
  • Improved management of user accounts and identity svcs
  • Managed service accounts
  • Improved Active Directory Federated Services
  • Authentication assurance

Direct Access:

  • Directly via IPSec or via firewall – via Direct Access Seamless VPN server.

Branch Office Cache:

  • http and SMB downloaded by users in the branch.
  • Users can quickly open files stored in the cache.
  • Frees up network bandwidth for other users.
  • Server not required by the cache – a client for the cache can be used, but a server is better.
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About Simon Seagrave

Simon is a UK based Virtualization, Cloud & IT Technology Evangelist working as a Senior Technology Consultant and vSpecialist for EMC. He loves working in the ever changing IT industry & spends most of his time working with Virtualization, Cloud & other Enterprise IT based technologies, in particular VMware, EMC and HP products.

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