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Windows Server 2008 Reviewed

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October 25, 2007 12:24:42 PM

Microsoft will release Windows 2008 Server as the direct successor to Windows 2003 Server in the spring of next year. The new server OS, code named Longhorn, shares the same kernel with Windows Vista and incorporates many additions compared to its predecessor.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/10/25/windows_server_2008_reviewed/index.html
October 25, 2007 1:14:12 PM

so how much does this cost? and what incentives is microsoft giving to people using Windows 2k and 2k3 server?
October 25, 2007 4:47:46 PM

There is an error in the article about Windows Server Virtualization. WSV is NOT based on Virtual Server. WSV is a completely different architecture.

Virtual Server runs on top of Windows Server. The Windows Server Virualization Hypervisor runs below the OS in CPU ring -1.
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October 25, 2007 7:43:51 PM

A very good overview of the highlights on Server 2008. My compliments to the author.

It is unfortunate that SSH is not included in Server 2008, but IPSec is. Imho, IPSec is as good as SSH, can cover secure transmissions and FTP issues.

Although SSH can be easier to implement, as long as both sides of the communication support IPSec, the communications can be secured like SSH.

I too wish FTP was improved on Server 2008, and I like what is going on with IIS v7, the admin screens, and the virtualization. This OS (coupled with the right underlying hardware) will be a "must have" upgrade from 2003.
October 25, 2007 7:45:55 PM

I have worked quite a bit with Windows Server 2003 and I know that the graphics drivers are not installed automatically, and consequently the UI is almost unusable. I have manually installed graphics drivers for Windows XP on Server 2003 and the UI is no longer sluggish. I would assume the same is true for Windows Server 2008. I would speculate that installing the Vista graphics driver on the Server 2008 machine would eliminate this problem.
October 25, 2007 11:35:56 PM

good article.

Im curious to know how the virtuilzation technology compares to other virtulization products out there.

And also the cost of this thing. standard $500-ish server software? or will it be worse?
October 26, 2007 12:08:03 AM

I agree, TH should review comparison between win2008 VM and VMWARE server.
October 26, 2007 7:14:11 AM

Regarding sluggish graphics. I took a shot at running the AMD's Vista installer for Catalyst 7.10 and it flawlessly installed the fully functional driver and control panel.

All in all, the Server 2008 experience relative to Server 2003 is everything the Vista experience relative to XP SHOULD have been. Namely, improvements far outnumber arbitrary and unnecessary changes. It is a relief to see "+" and "-" for expand/collapse treeview instead of the ridiculous and hard to hit symbols in Vista.

Still though, network shares from XP systems refuse to get gigabit speed which is my dealbreaker for using Vista.
October 26, 2007 2:49:45 PM

I Installed 2008 server about a month ago, I had the same sort of install experience as the article author - very smooth.

The problems started when I tried to integrate it into my 2003 domain, weird incompatabilities like the new IIS group/user not being properly created in the AD, and problems installing some apps.(OSS for instance). Coupled with the lack of online resources (because it's soo new), it made some problems insurmountable.

SSH integration would be nice... I use Bitvise WinSSHD (great product) since Windows servers don't have built in SSH support.
October 26, 2007 3:50:13 PM

Good article. Nice to see what is going on in the Windows server world.

BTW, as far as the slow redraw and no default drivers, I actually see this as quite a good thing. The last thing I want running on a production server is the newest whiz-bang drivers from gaming companies. A simple VESA framebuffer driver will draw stuff on the screen just fine. All I would need is very basic GUI support for the management console.

And that's if I was sitting at the actual machine (which is unlikely). If I am using some remote tool (not sure what it would be on Windows), the video driver is just a drain on system resources, even if a small one. Having the compatibility with Vista drivers is definitely a plus, but needing to manually install them is even better.
October 26, 2007 7:21:19 PM

I run all my servers headless anyway - so who cares what video drivers are installed. :) 
October 27, 2007 3:04:39 PM

Thanks for the review

In your next review of Windows Server 2008- it would be VERY helpful if you set up the server using Windows 2003 R2 SP2 and tested file transfer performance and searching from Vista and XP and maybe some mac machines - large files, small files - groups of large files, groups of small files. Then ran the same test on the same server with Windows Server 2008 installed.

All the bells and whistles in the world won't get me to upgrade - performance matters.


What kills me in all the Vista reviews - some simple benchmarks of file copies - to the same hard drive on the same machine, to a second hard drive on the same machine and to and from a server (comparing performance to XP would be great)
October 27, 2007 8:17:49 PM

Does anyone know if MS got around to fixing the Terminal Server Licensing in 2008?

In 2000 you had to license TS CALs "Per Client PC" so if 1 power user had 4 machines, you had to pay for each of them. The counterpoint to that was 2000 Pro and XP Pro got "free" licenses when they were issued a license.

In 2003 they added a Per User licensing mode for TS CALs, but apparently someone dropped the ball and they never finished the code. So if you set your TS Servers to Per User licensing mode and you had a 2003 TS CAL Server that was just Activated (Seperate from OS Activation) then all your TS Servers would let people in all day long and never use a single license. Whole big enough to drive a truck through in my opinion, but neither SP1 nor SP2 (Havent confirmed the SP2 one myself) never bothered to fix this.

So I am curious:
Does 2008 have Per User TS Licensing mode?
Does it actually work and issue CALs or is it broken like 2003?

Thanks!
October 27, 2007 8:20:55 PM

PS: I was a bit surprised to see NO Mention of the TS Features added to 2008 above 2003. Every revision since NT4 TSE Microsoft has added features to TS eating into Citrix's Market. Just wondering what all they added this time? Load Balancing? Application Publishing? Web Front End?
October 28, 2007 2:51:14 PM

pretty good round up...but yeah i agree, there was no mention of TS, there is a lot of new stuff with TS: application publishing through MSI or RDP files as well as a web interface, much like Citrix, the new TS Gateway which uses NAP (Network Access Protection which should have also been mentioned)

there is also a load balancer for TS, you can define a percentage of the load on each server in your farm, ex. 25%, and session directory is still there, much improved, now called session broker which can be used with an NLB solution or DNS round-robin

just like the windows virtualization feature, in RC0 the users can also install the windows streaming media server role, this is available as a packaged download from microsoft.com

regarding vmware vs. ms wvs, i would like to see a standoff between the two as well, once of course wvs is completed, because right now it's only a preview release, however this of course needs to be tested on a server that has the v-chip in order for hypervisor to fully work, and it's worth to mention that wvs can only be installed on x64 platform servers with x64 o/s, not 32bit, allowing both x64 and x86 guest o/s installs

regarding the licensing comment, you should read up on it on their website i guess...there are a lot of docs for rc0 on ms.com, i'm just not aware of the licensing stuff though

also, the mention of the GUI being just like Vista, RC0 actually no longer has the sidebar on it, it used to be there in beta 3, but no longer available...
October 29, 2007 5:52:07 AM

In response to:

cruiseoveride said:
so how much does this cost? and what incentives is microsoft giving to people using Windows 2k and 2k3 server?


From passed releases, Microsoft doesn't give incentives for people using Win2k and 2k3. They have not provided upgrade licensing since they went to the software assurance method, in 2000 if i recall correctly.

So if you bought a server license 2000 or 2003 with Software Assurance(SA) and kept it up-to-date, you get Server 2008 free.





November 13, 2007 6:06:20 PM

There is a tiny mistake in the article. You don't need to enter the product key before Server2008 starts copying your files to the hard drive.
November 21, 2007 12:29:40 PM

Could be it depends on your method of installing... I just installed new copies of 2008 on two machines... one started from setup under 2003 Server, one started from the boot disk. From the boot disk I believe you're right, but I seem to recall that when I ran setup under 2003 I did have to enter the key before it started the install.
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