PDC: Microsoft Previews Windows Server 2008 R2
Microsoft on Tuesday showed off a pre-beta version of Windows Server 2008 R2 at its Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles. The company is also promoting the upcoming release (also known as "Windows 7 Server
") on its various blogs and Web sites.
While Microsoft isn't talking specific dates yet (the live version is expected
to debut in late 2009/early 2010), it is talking features -- including
confirming that Windows Server 2008 R2 will be 64-bit only.
"32-bit is done," wrote Technical Product Manager Oliver Rist on
a Windows Server blog
post. "Frankly it was high time. Customers have been unable to purchase
a 32-bit server CPU for over two years now, and the advancements in CPU architectures
really dictated that we squeeze as much performance out of customers' hardware
purchases as possible. The move to 64-bit is a first step."
Redmond is also playing up the new virtualization tools it will include in
R2, particularly Live Migration, which it calls a "marquee" feature.
"Think physical host migrations of running VMs happening in milliseconds
-- no service or user connection interruptions," Rist wrote. "With
Live Migration, data centers can truly go virtual and largely divorce management
considerations between software and hardware, and all managed from inside a
single OS frame."
Other virtualization-related features Redmond expects to include is a new version
of Hyper-V -- "think mucho better management [and] beefier resources for
VMs," Rist wrote -- plus the addition of a "true" Virtual Desktop
Infrastructure (VDI) to Terminal Services. According to Rist, this will allow
IT pros to deploy virtual desktops and applications "with such tight integration,
most users will be unable to tell the difference between centrally hosted apps
and those installed locally," Rist commented.
Another focus of Windows Server 2008 R2 will be what Microsoft is calling
"streamlined management" -- with new "role-specific" server
management UIs, a new graphic interface for PowerShell, plus an Active Directory
Domain Services console and improved Group Policy tools.
IIS 7.0 is also getting tweaked for the upcoming release, offering "new PowerShell management support" and "new failover clustering updates," according to Rist.
Rist called another new feature, Direct Access (DA), the "sleeper feature"
of the release. Working with the upcoming Windows 7 client OS (also previewed
at PDC this week), DA will make remote computing "invisible" from
the client perspective.
"Using technologies like SSTP and IPv6 combined with way-easy management
UIs in Windows Server 2008 R2, admins can build remote computing policies that
let users plug into any network, anywhere and see their local network resources
-- completely secure, no clunky VPN required," Rist wrote. "As long
as there's an outward network connection, DA takes care of everything in the
background and automatically."
More information about Windows Server 2008 R2 can be found on Microsoft's Web
Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital projects at the company, including launching and running the group's popular virtual summit and Coffee talk series . She an experienced tech journalist (20 years), and before her current position, was the editorial director of the group's sites. A few years ago she gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web browser technology would impact online advertising for publishers. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.