Windows Server 2008 R2

Can you say virtualization? How about “better together”? Do you care about Hyper-V or Windows 7 integration right now? If the answer to either question is yes (and in my experience that’s not always actually the case) then you will want to check out R2. One of the biggest new features in R2 is one that VMware has had for about 5 or so years in Live Migration, the ability to move a virtual machine, while it’s running (assuming the application in use supports the ability to do so and that you’re using Clustered Shared Volumes). This includes failover in Cluster Node Connectivity Fault Tolerance. SC VMM, or System Center Virtual Machine Manager in 2008 R2 is more useful than ever in that you can get a dashboard of what you have in motion and move guests between hosts from a single console. You can also more rapidly provision virtual machines with Channels and saved hardware profile templates. Microsoft also fine tuned their application publishing environment, RemoteApp, their terminal services proxy, now called Remote Desktop Services Gateway) and and tweaked RDP to include a number of new Windows 7 like features. While all of this new stuff is great to have, Microsoft is still not going to give VMware much of a run for their money as ESX jumped a whole new level forward with vSphere. Having said that, Hyper-V becomes more mature with each release and is now fully integrated into Windows Server. R2 also supports remotely connecting to another servers Server Manager console, which will likely reduce the number of times you’re establishing Remote Desktop connections to hosts. It also has a Best Practices Analyzer for each service and a new rev of PowerShell (along with a number of PowerShell commandlets wrapped in GUIs). But Charles, you said Windows 7? Sure I did. R2 adds DirectAccess and BranchCache, two new ways to have remote accessibility for remote clients (rather than using a VPN) and remote workers respectively. Windows Deployment Services also got a bit of a feature boost, namely to ease the migration path into Windows 7. There’s also some new AD stuff. Authentication Assurance for Active Directory Federated Services allows for certificate mapping to OUs. djoin.exe can leverage an xml answer file for joining a client into Active Directory while it’s offline. In addition to exe’s there’s also a number (more than 75) of new commandlets for PowerShell. There’s also a recycle bin for those objects you really didn’t mean to delete and finally, a Active Directory Administrative Center, which is pretty much a commandlet wrapper that provides for task-based support administration (I’m on the fence about this one still). IIS 7.5 is also pretty notable. It has new tie-ins for the newly mentioned next release of SQL Server and an automator-like task generator (another wrapper around PowerShell). Not that I’ve been able to test but apparently I can now use 256 logical processors and 32 with Hyper-V). There’s also new failover options (which I haven’t fully explored so I’ll not go into further detail on those yet), an unattended installation feature and more granularly defined cluster node behaviors in this latest generation of IIS. PS – Terminal Services is now known as Remote Desktop Services.

One thought on “Windows Server 2008 R2”

  1. I’m really looking forward to see what AD Admin Center can do versus deploying pre-built MMC snap ins for doing simple things like resetting passwords. I have the install media for Win 7 Enterprise and Server 2008r2 Enterprise on my desk. Just haven’t had the time to install it and futz around… Maybe some time this week.

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