Saturday, March 24, 2012

Windows Server 8 beta Review

Microsoft released Windows server 8 beta this
month first week
They were infact talking about this from last year....

Great, but being a system admin i really wonder why OS vendors especially MS building new Operating systems every time, while I plan certification & tryto learn maximum possible features of existing version?. i am not yet tried many features of windows server 2008 R2 itself except in some LAB training sessions.

Whatever,2 weeks back i could test windows server 8 beta & I was thinking to write a review here.

Microsoft is trying to emphasize more on cloud & virtualization as they were trying from windows server 2008 onwards.

It changed a lot in looks and thus they made me searching for our start button a lot, which is not there..
But you can access most of your required tools from top-right "tools" option. moreover they emphasize more on server manager as in win 2008 versions Wherein you can simply add desired roles & features.

Appearance had changed to a Tile based interface & Microsoft call it as Metro-style interface. I think an end user may enjoy it but a server admin better look for more useful features instead of a new user interface.

This may be aiming metro apps since everyone nowadays interested in Apps ( Apple ,Google etc)

Below are my understanding on Windows Server 8 after the testing & from articles I went through.

Prerequisites for beta:- X64 bit 1.4 GHz CPU/Min 512 MB RAM
/Min 32 GB HDD /DVD/ Display:SVGA 800X600 or higher. Obviously we should have better configuration than this for better performance especially HDD & RAM. Note:- it doesn’t support Itanium

Maximum Resource Support:- Logical CPU- max. 640, Max RAM – 4TB, Max Cluster Nodes - 63

Installation Options :-
2 options, Server Core & GUI

More Useful features I felt.
Active Directory level changes: –
- Recycle bin for Active directory can be accessed via GUI now,
- Multiple Password policies also easy to build - (both had quite complex steps in windows 2008 R2 ).
- It supports to clone DC to a virtual machine easily,

Native NIC Teaming: -
Earlier, NIC Teaming was done using corresponding vendor software , now MS provide native tool to do same, even it support us to create NIC team using 2 NICs from different vendors ( unforeseen issues yet to be discovered ) but good idea.

Hyper-V level changes:-
- Increased RAM(1TB/VM) & Hard disk ( 64 TB/VM) capacity for Virtual Machines,
- live migration is native itself now ,& it dosent require MSVMM ( Virtual Machine Manager) to configure ,zero downtime for migrations as per MS.

DHCP level changes:-
provides fail-over reliability without cluster

Powershell level improvements:-
Of course New powershell cmdlets & thus more automation possibilities,
-Windows Powershell Webaccess to manage your server from anywhere using a browser.
-it provides a powershell history viewer

Enhancements in Failover cluster :-
Cluster Aware Updating(CAU) Self-Updating Mode to let administrators to configure the CAU feature & ensure no downtime.

Other features:
- IIS ( Internet Information Services )8.

- Azure Cloud integration & supports 3rd party developers can create,host compatible applications.

- Resilient File System (ReFS):- provides better data availability, integrity , more file length & auto repair data correction etc.thus advantages over NTFS.

-MS Online backup service: -MS cloud backup service feature, it enables on request basis & an account get generates, agent need to be enabled in client to utilize this feature.

-Metro Style interface & remote desktop

-SMB 2.2 & SMB Encryption: reduces vulnerability of SMB usage , easy to do from File & storage tool.

-Volume activation service: simplifies the software license management

-Windows Biometric framework

- Improved Server Manager
-provides multi server management in better way

- IP Address Management -Provides network discovery,DNS,DHCP Monitoring, Auditing etc.

-Improved Task Manager

- Offloaded data Transfer
reduces data transfer time if file in same storage

- New AD Functional level as usual – Windows 8
- AD Administrative center has been improved & Active directory installation wizard replaced by a section in server manager.

- I heard a better blue screen page also if any crash & same provides some useful information.

- Queries can be saved in event viewer

As per Microsoft demos earlier, it has 300 or more new or improved features,

As heard from newsletters, Expected release date is later this year – probably in October 2012, else they may have to wait for Xmas holidays to finish itseems…

Anyway, Now consider it as a warning bell sysadmins to plan their migration to windows 7 environment at least since Windows XP support ends in April 2014.

Its Obvious that Microsoft is aiming for lead role in Cloud &Virtualization through this release, Lets wait & see….


  1. Replies
    1. Still windows is more popular OS ..... :) It can be a strong competitor for VMWare anyways

    2. I agree with looking to cloud and

  2. by the way don't get excited about "It supports to clone DC to a virtual machine easily", its only supported on MS Hyper-V at least till few months back when I talked to a MS in TEC 2011. He mentioned that they are talking to VMware to enable VM-Generation ID in their hyper-visor as well. Hopefully will be supported in VMware as well pretty soon.

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