April 12, 2010, 3:24 PM — Microsoft has some new additions to its Windows 2008 Server line, but sadly it needs to have a better naming convention to make it easier to keep track. If you haven't looked at this operating system since it was introduced in February 2008, now is the time to get closer and try it out.
The chart below summarizes the major features that are found in the three versions of the OS: the original, the 2008 R2 version that was released last October, and an upcoming R2 SP1 version that is expected later this month or next.
|2008 Server||2008 Server R2||2008 Server R2 SP1|
|Release date||Feb 2008||Oct 2009||Apr/May 2010 (est.)|
|Web server||IIS 7.0||IIS 7.5 Powershell and WebDAV integration||N/A|
|Virtualization||HyperV (in 64-bit versions only)||Live migration Dynamic storage additions||RemoteFX, Dynamic Memory|
|Additional modules||System Center Configuration Manager 2007||Forefront Unified Access Gateway 2010||N/A|
|Endpoint Protection||Bare bones Network Access Protection||Multiple health validators||N/A|
|Remote Access||N/A||DirectAccess, VPN improvements||N/A|
|Built-in firewall||Basic||Multiple policies mapped to multiple NICs||N/A|
The first version of Windows Server 2008 had notable improvements in its Web server and hypervisor, respectively Internet Information Server (IIS) and HyperV. HyperV was the beginning of including a free hypervisor, just as long as you purchased a 64-bit version of 2008. Microsoft also began using a minimal default installation package, so to provide a more secure way to deploy 2008 without IT admins having to de-install unused features that would present more of a security threat. That practice continues with the newer versions too. What this means is that you can setup a 2008 server that just does one task very quickly, and have more control over what else gets placed on the machine.
There are many noteworthy features in R2, with the most noticeable a pretty new look like the interface in Windows 7 for taskbars and menus. But under the covers, R2 is very different than the first version of Server 2008. In particular, there are enhancements to virtualization and security technologies that are worth taking a closer look.
HyperV now has some competitive features when compared to Citrix and VMware.