I’ve now installed Windows 2008 Enterprise x64 onto a really nice HP ProLiant DL580 G5 (4x 2.9GHz Quad Core CPU’s with 12GB RAM, and 8x 146GB hard drives in a RAID-5 array) server.
My experience so far has been really great. Windows 2008 appears to have been well thought out and well designed.
Some stand out new features that I love in Windows Server 2008 includes:
Ability to extend or shrink a partition on the fly
This is a very cool feature with Windows Server 2008. It lets you shrink and expand a hard drive partition on the fly without the need for a 3rd party application. You can even expand and shrink the operating system partition on the fly without the need for a reboot. This is a very exciting development for me as I’m always adding more disks to the RAID array, and it’s now easy to extend the partition out.
Bare metal backup and recovery (without the need to go offline for backup)
For me this is a really exciting development. This feature allows you to take a full disk image (using Volume Shadow Copies), and can save it to either a network drive or an external USB disk. Previously to get a similar type of bare metal backup you would have had to use something like Ghost, however these products usually required the server to be offline to be able to get the image. With Windows Server 2008 this feature can be run on the fly, and can also update the original backup taken incrementally. In the event you need to recover the server (for example the OS partition is corrupted), you can boot off the Windows DVD, and then enter the Recovery console and elect to restore one or more partitions from the backup image. I don’t view this as part of our daily backup routine, but I do view this as part of our disaster recovery solution, and will take updated snapshots once a week or so.
Whilst I haven’t dabbled with this yet, Windows Server 2008 comes with many features to save power such as the ability to fine tune how much power the hardware components are using
Terminal Services remote Apps
Windows Server 2008 has some very exciting new terminal services capabilities. The big one for me is that you can enable a specific application to be able to be run remotely, and then the on the client side, you place a short-cut to the application on the terminal services server and it will be run just like it was installed on the client. But without the need to be in a full terminal services session (full desktop console)
Read Only Domain Controller (RODC)
Windows Server 2008 also has the ability to be a Read Only Domain Controller (or RODC). This is great for environments where you might not be able to fully guarantee the server’s security (physically). This means that the RODC cannot be written to or updated from an Active Directory perspective (only read from).
Windows High Performance Computing (HPC) Server 2008
For the first time ever – Microsoft is releasing a High Performance Computing (HPC) version of its operating system. The HPC bits actually sit on top of a vanilla installation of Windows Server 2008 (64-bit only).This version is intended to compete in the high end of town, and be run on a 64-bit environment natively and can scale up to thousands of CPU cores. It is a purpose built operating system for clustering and has better systems management, job scheduling, networking interfaces and storage capabilities over the vanilla version of Windows 2008 Server.
Just a warning for all of you who are thinking about deploying Windows Server 2008 into your environment – Make sure you check with all of your 3rd party software suppliers to make sure they fully support your new environment. I’ve had massive issues with our anti-virus products as well as our 3rd party backup applications. Luckily the products I am using are supported, so they are working with me on a fix.
Anyway – That’s all from me on Windows Server 2008 – A quick sum up in 2 words: I LOVE IT.