• More control: Windows Server 2008 empowers IT professionals with greater control and management over servers and network infrastructure with enhanced scripting and task-automation capabilities. Improved self-diagnostics and remote control tools create field-serviceable platforms that also may be supported across the network or via the Internet. These features are described in some detail in the section entitled “Benefits of Windows Server 2008” in the Microsoft Product Overview at www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/evaluation/overview.mspx.
• Greater flexibility: Windows Server 2008 supports custom modifications to better adapt to ever-changing business needs. Enhanced flexibility for mobile users, integrated virtualization (which means that one server can look and act like a bunch of servers, as far as its users are concerned), centralized application access, and new deployment options create a workable platform to suit a variety of enterprise networking scenarios.
You can create a custom installation image, or several, based on a core set of necessary applications and configurations and then roll it out to an entire enterprise in a completely automated, unattended fashion to expedite upgrades and new installations.
• Better tools and utilities: The new Windows PowerShell command line interpreter and scripting language facilitates more administrative control and productivity and better monitoring and analysis of system performance with its new Reliability and Performance Monitor. Plus, you can manage and secure multiple server types using the new Server Manager console, which provides centralized access to common administrative tools. PowerShell functionality is beyond the scope of this book and remains in beta status at the time of this writing, so we don’t include material on this subject. See www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/powershell.mspx for more details on PowerShell.
• Increased protection: Windows Server 2008 delivers improved security features that increase platform protection, reduce attack surfaces, and provide a firm foundation on which to construct and operate a business. The very core, or kernel, of the operating system is now better protected against various forms of attack. Windows Service Hardening makes Internet-facing services more resilient to Internet attacks, and a variety of access protections and cryptography services strengthen the Windows system.
• New and improved TCP/IP features: Windows Server 2008 includes many changes and enhancements to the Next Generation TCP/IP stack, such as IPv6 enhancements and policy-based Quality of Service (QoS) for enterprise networks. The Next Generation TCP/IP stack is a total redesign of traditional network stack functionality for both IPv4 and IPv6 protocol versions. Receive window auto-tuning, neighbor reachability, dead gateway detection, black hole router detection, routing compartments, and explicit congestion notification are just a few of its newly added and updated capabilities.
• Self-healing NT File System (NTFS): In the past, file system errors often required that a disk volume be taken offline for service, which clearly impacted business flow. A new feature and added benefit of the Windows Server 2008 platform is its inclusion of a real-time recovery or self-healing process for the NTFS storage format. That way, businesses can remain operational even in the face of file-system-related issues.
• Server Message Block version 2 (SMB2): The de facto standard for network file systems in the Windows realm is SMB, now revamped to handle scalable increases in server workloads more expeditiously.
• Windows Server virtualization: Windows Server 2008 provides a builtin virtualization capability to enable multiple separate operating system instances operating at the same time, using the same hardware. Users see multiple servers, each with their own data sets, services, and access controls, but IT departments can manage multiple virtual servers on a single set of server hardware.
• Server Core: A new installation option for Windows Server 2008 includes a stripped-down, graphical interface-free server platform that contains only those components and subsystems necessary for a high-availability server that requires fewer updates and less servicing. Envision a cluster of low-overhead, virtualized, highly optimized server operating systems running stripped-down core roles like DHCP or DNS in protected environments, completely autonomous, managed only by a single terminal, and you’ve got the right idea.
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