Windows Server 2008 R2 previewed

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 site here.



About the Author

Becky Nagel is the executive editor of the 1105 Redmond Media Group's Web sites, including Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com, RedDevNews.com and VisualStudioMagazine.com, among others.

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