As much as many administrators think of Active Directory as one of the key areas to upgrade when a new release of the operating system becomes available, in reality, Active Directory tends to not be the first thing updated. Instead, the real business drivers for migrating to Windows Server 2008 R2 typically come from the built-in application server programs that are available on Windows Server 2008 R2.
Windows Server 2008 R2 comes with several programs and utilities to provide robust networking capabilities. Windows Server 2008 R2 can provide name resolution for the network and enable high availability through clustering and fault tolerance, connectivity for mobile users, web services functions, and dozens of other application server functions.
When convincing management that an upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2 is important, the IT professional needs to sift through the technologies built in to Windows Server 2008 R2 and pick those services that help an organization use technology to achieve its business initiatives. When planning the implementation of Windows Server 2008 R2, a network architect needs to consider which of the server services are desired, how they will be combined on servers, and how they will be made redundant across multiple servers for business continuity failover.
For a small organization, the choice to combine several server functions to a single system or to just a few systems is one of economics. However, an organization might distribute server services to multiple servers to improve performance.
Some of the built-in application server functions in Windows Server 2008 R2 include the following:
. Domain controller—Like in previous versions of the Windows operating system, the domain controller enables users to authenticate to the domain for access to network resources.
. Global catalog server—The global catalog server is a domain controller that also stores a subset of AD DS objects from other domains in the forest. When an internal or external user with appropriate security rights wants to look at a list of Active Directory users in the forest, the global catalog server provides the list.
. DNS server—The domain name system (DNS) maintains a list of network servers and systems and their associated IP addresses, so a DNS server provides information about the devices connected to the network.
. DHCP server—The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) assigns IPv4 and/or IPv6 network addresses to devices on the network. Windows Server 2008 R2 provides the service function to facilitate DHCP addresses to network devices.
. Cluster server—When fault tolerance is important to an organization, clustering provides failover from one system to another. Windows Server 2008 R2 provides the ability to link systems together so that when one system fails, another system takes over.
. Network Policy Server—NPS is the Microsoft implementation of a Remote Authentication Dial-in User Service (RADIUS) server and proxy. NPS performs centralized connection authentication, authorization, and accounting for many types of network access, including wireless and virtual private network (VPN) connections. NPS routes authentication and accounting messages to other RADIUS servers. It also acts as a health evaluation server for Network Access Protection (NAP).
. Remote Desktop server—Instead of having a full desktop or laptop computer for each user on the network, organizations have the option of setting up simple, lowcost thin terminals for users to gain access to network resources. Windows Server 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Services allows a single server to host network system access for dozens of users.
. Remote access server—When a remote user has a desktop or laptop system and needs access to network services, Windows Server 2008 R2 provides remote access services that allow the remote systems to establish a secure remote connection.
. Web server—As more and more technologies become web-aware and are hosted on web servers, Windows Server 2008 R2 provides the technology to host these applications for browser-based access.
. Media server—With information extending beyond text-based word processing documents and spreadsheets into rich media such as video and audio, Windows Server 2008 R2 provides a source for hosting and publishing video and audio content.
. Virtualization server—Windows Server 2008 R2 provides the core capabilities to do server virtualization, providing the capability for an organization to consolidate physical servers into fewer host server systems, thus decreasing the total cost of IT operations.
. Distributed File System (DFS) server—For the past decade, data files have been stored on file servers all around an organization. Windows Server 2008 R2 provides Distributed File Systems that allow an organization to take control of distributed files into a common unified namespace.
These plus several other functions provide robust networking services that help organizations leverage the Windows Server 2008 R2 technologies into solutions that solve business needs.
Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed