Windows Server 2008 Reviewed

Technical Data

For our tests, we used Windows Version 6.0 build 6001 of Windows Server 2008 including the pre-installed "Service Pack 1, v.275". This is the same version of the Service pack that the beta versions for Vista’s SP1 currently use.

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Version6.0 Build 6001
Service PackSP1 v.275
Build NumberRC0.070916-1443

According to Microsoft server division manager Bill Laing, the Standard Version of Windows Server 2008 will support a maximum of 4 GB of RAM in its 32-bit version. The 64-bit version, on the other hand, will be limited to 32 GB.

Patrick O’Rourke, product manager for the server line, has stated that there will be no change regarding the way Microsoft licenses processors. In other words, Microsoft will continue the practice of counting not the cores in use but the sockets in a system. Thus, a quad-core system will be licensed as one processor. That would mean that a two-processor (=socket) license would allow the use of up to eight cores with current processors!

Conclusion - Many Improvements, Still A Few Rough Spots

Microsoft has used the time since the release of Windows Server 2003 very well. The new Server Manager simplifies system administration immensely. Unlike Windows Vista, whose new dialogues still confuse even experienced users, Windows Server 2008 makes the admin feel right at home and in control.

Related tasks and service are grouped together, so that they can be found quickly and easily. Also, the system points out configuration problems at the beginning of an installation of a server task, preventing many rookie mistakes. Services started by mistake are easily identified and stopped, thanks to the new view. Also, the Event Viewer filters the entries in such a way that only relevant information is displayed.

However, it’s not all sunshine, either. Although our test system used a beefy Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 with generous 2 GB of RAM, the Server’s user interface felt sluggish with Windows being drawn very slowly. Most likely, this is due to a lack of driver support - after all, the RC0 is still a work in progress.

Microsoft also gets low marks for failing to include SSH support in the operating system. On Linux servers, working without SSH is simply unthinkable. At least the Redmond company includes its encrypted remote shell WinRS. However, secure FTP is still a missing feature. The FTP client is being treated like an unloved stepchild, to the point where it is not even included in the Server Manager.

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  • FYI GoGrid is offering virtual Servers. They have a free $100 trial when you use the promo code 'GGED'. They are one of the first to offer 2008. EC2 doesn't even offer windows.
  • CopSSH is not free anymore. :(