Microsoft gives Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 the green light
Microsoft has launched the new generation of Windows Server, Windows Server 2008, and the new development environment Visual Studio 2008 with a celebration in Los Angeles. SQL Server 2008 wasn't ready in time for the ceremony, and is now planned to come on to the market in the third quarter of 2008. An advance version can currently be obtained as a free download.
Microsoft is promising that Windows Server 2008 will make network management easier for Windows administrators: Server Manager, a management console, brings all the important adjustments, parameters and monitoring functions together into one place. This means that Server can be easily configured for 17 ready-made roles, including domain controller, file server, terminal server and many more. A slimmed-down version without Windows Desktop can be installed as a Server Core to handle the role of a web server, file server or domain controller. It can be run from the command line or via a network by the Server Manager.
Microsoft is currently supplying its Hyper-V virtualisation system for running multiple independent system instances on one machine, as a beta version only: it has promised customers that the finished product will be delivered within the next six months.
Microsoft has given the network components in Server 2008 a general overhaul, while a new TCP/IP stack and Version 2.0 of the SMB file sharing protocol are aimed at increasing speed in certain scenarios, such as internet traffic involving high latency. Windows Vista, which has been using the same kernel and largely the same code basis as Server 2008 since Service Pack 1, also profits from these improvements.
The Terminal Server can also provide individual applications that appear in their own windows on client PCs: these are hard to distinguish from applications running locally. Users can also connect to Terminal Server via the internet. The new gateway component will allow this with just an HTTPS connection.
The read-only domain controller, RODC, is designed for companies that have branches without secure server rooms. In its basic configuration, the RODC holds no password hash codes on disk but instead passes user log-ins to its superior domain controller at company headquarters. In order to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, servers' hard disks can be completely encrypted with BitLocker, which is already in use in Windows Vista.
Network access protection (NAP) is intended to ensure that only client PCs that meet the security requirements defined by the administrator are allowed to access the network. This means that a client PC can be compelled to update its virus scanner before being granted access to sensitive servers. The new IIS7 Web Server works on the modular principle: an administrator installs only those modules he requires for his web design, thus reducing his exposure to attack.