Microsoft Windows Server 2008 is the long-awaited update to Microsoft’s Windows Server family of products. The 2008 Windows Server platform will eventually replace Microsoft Windows Server 2003 as the core server platform in the majority of enterprises that run Microsoft’s server software.
Windows Server 2008 is due to be released on February 27 along with SQL Server 2008, the latest version of the Microsoft SQL Server database, and application development platform Visual Studio 2008.
The arrival of Windows Server 2008 marks the company’s largest enterprise launch in its history, and Microsoft said it expects there to be at least 80 software applications certified for Windows Server 2008 by the end of February, and roughly 300 more that are considered ready for the new platform.
Windows Server 2008 is essentially the main pillar of the Microsoft stack, with the server operating system being built to interoperate with the Windows Vista desktop operating system.
It also shares a number of Windows Vista’s advanced management and security features, such as integrated Network Access Protection (NAP) and Group Policy.
Other features are an integrated system architecture, network file sharing, managed quality of service and reduced power consumption, and virtualisation technology, which allows users to run multiple instances of applications to reduce costs, and make better use of their hardware.
At its most basic installation, Windows Server 2008 allows users to carry out file and print operations, directory services through Active Directory, web server functions and virtualisation.
However, most users who adopt Microsoft Windows Server 2008 are expected to use the server operating system as a core plank of their IT system, integrating it into their database, communications, and business applications.
Early adopters who have started using Windows Server 2008 have said the operating system offered them improved network administration and IT management. But despite the new improvements, analysts expect most IT directors to delay upgrading until 2009.
Irrespective of when users plan to make the move to Windows Server 2008, both Microsoft and the analysts advise all organisations to take a measured approach to migration.
They urge users to talk to their application vendors and test their software fully to ensure that it is compatible; run Microsoft’s free compatibility tools; and check their hardware carefully.
Recent Computer Weekly stories on Microsoft Windows Server 2008
Microsoft Windows Server 2008: Official websites
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 blogs
Technet Windows Server blog