At the end of 2007, Microsoft released Windows Server 2008. Some of the major new features include but are not limited to the following:
- Network Access Protection (NAP). This feature is also part of Windows Vista and available as an update for Windows XP SP2. It requests a statement of health (SoH) from each connecting machine, and checks the SoH against health policies for the network. If the connecting machine does not meet the network health level, Windows Server quarantines it and, optionally, sends updates to bring it up to required health levels.
- Internet Information Services (IIS) 7. IIS fully integrates with Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), Windows SharePoint Services, and Web Services. IIS is highly componentized, allowing the installation of specific modules, and is managed via an IIS Manager interface.
- Initial Configuration Tasks (ICT). ICT shortens the time between installation and enterprise use by giving administrators a more intuitive interface for the initial configuration of items. ICT absorbs the Post-Setup Security Updates (PSSU) stage that Windows 2003 SP1 introduced. ICT locks down a server until the latest fixes are applied and the firewall is configured.
- Server Manager MMC snap-in. This snap-in gives a single portal to view and administers nearly all information relating to a server’s production health and functionality status.
- Windows PowerShell. This command-line shell and scripting technology will be the standard foundation for most future Microsoft service technologies. Use PowerShell for any task you do via a GUI. Exchange 2007 and System Center are just two of the back office products built on PowerShell.
- Server Core. As Microsoft adds functionality to Windows, the overhead gets higher and more maintenance is necessary. Server Core is an install mode for a Windows Server 2008 that at installation time allows a server to be nominated as a server core installation. As a result, only the services and components needed for the supported server functions are installed.
- Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC). Before Active Directory, a single primary domain controller held a fully writeable copy of the SAM database. One or more backup domain controllers held a read-only copy of the SAM database for fault-tolerance and load-balancing purposes. With Active Directory, all domain controllers have fully writeable copies of the database that are kept synchronized through multimaster replication. With Windows Server 2008, you can designate a domain controller as read-only.
- Terminal Services (TS). Third-party terminal server technologies have the capability to stream remote applications instead of entire sessions. For example, assume that Word is running on a terminal server. Instead of a user having a complete session to run Word, he uses an application window on the terminal server running Word. To the user, Word appears to be running locally but is running on the remote terminal server in a seamless window fashion.
- Windows Deployment Services. Although available as an update for Windows Server 2003 as part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit, WDS allows the network-based deployment of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 images.
- NTFS. NTFS now self-heals in the event of volume corruptions, instead of requiring chkdsk.exe execution. Transactional support added to NTFS allows transacted file system operations and ensures that operations in a transaction are atomic.
- Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6). Windows Server 2008, like Windows Vista, has full support for IPv6.
- Failover clustering. Windows Server 2008 has a completely rewritten failover clustering feature that is easy to configure and maintain, with a wizard-driven process to validate that the hardware configuration is cluster-supported.
Windows Server 2008 runs Windows Vista clients with a number of features exposed. The “utopian” combination is discussed throughout the book, but a few included features are worth mentioning here.
Some additions are client-side rendering of print jobs before sending them to the print server; improved client-side caching of server data, ensuring higher availability of information; and the new Server Message Block (SMB) 2.0, which gives a better performing and more secure communication path between clients and servers.
As with Windows Server 2003, the different versions of Windows Server 2008 have different capabilities and resource constraints.
In addition to the four main versions of Windows Server 2008 (namely Web, Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter), there is an Itanium edition for use in specific roles. Note that the amount of memory supported for the 64-bit editions is more than for the 32-bit editions.