Windows Server 2008 is the most recent release of Microsoft Windows' server line of operating systems. Released to manufacturing on 4 February 2008 and officially released on 27 February 2008, it is the successor to Windows Server 2003, released nearly five years earlier. Like Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 is built on the Windows NT 6.0 kernel.
It was known as Windows Server Codename "Longhorn"
until 16 May 2007, when Microsoft
chairman Bill Gates
announced its official title (Windows Server 2008) during his keynote address at WinHEC
Beta 1 was released on 27 July 2005, Beta 2 was announced and released on 23 May 2006 at WinHEC 2006 and Beta 3 was released publicly on 25 April 2007. Release Candidate 0 was released to the general public on 24 September 2007 and Release Candidate 1 was released to the general public on 5 December 2007. Windows Server 2008 was released to manufacturing on 4 February 2008 and officially launched on 27 February 2008.
- ''See also: Features new to Windows Vista
Windows Server 2008 is built from the same code base as Windows Vista; therefore, it shares much of the same architecture and functionality. Since the code base is common, it automatically comes with most of the technical, security, management and administrative features new to Windows Vista such as the rewritten networking stack (native IPv6, native wireless, speed and security improvements); improved image-based installation, deployment and recovery; improved diagnostics, monitoring, event logging and reporting tools; new security features such as BitLocker and ASLR; improved Windows Firewall with secure default configuration; .NET Framework 3.0 technologies, specifically Windows Communication Foundation, Microsoft Message Queuing and Windows Workflow Foundation; and the core kernel, memory and file system improvements. Processors and memory devices are modelled as Plug and Play devices, to allow hot-plugging of these devices. This allows the system resources to be partitioned dynamically using Dynamic Hardware Partitioning; each partition having its own memory, processor and I/O host bridge devices independent of other partitions.
Windows Server 2008 includes a variation of installation called a Server Core
. Server Core
is a significantly scaled-back installation where no Windows Explorer
shell is installed. All configuration and maintenance is done entirely through command line interface
windows, or by connecting to the machine remotely using Microsoft Management Console
. However, Notepad and some control panel applets, such as Regional Settings, are available.
Server Core also does not include the .NET Framework, Internet Explorer or many other features not related to core server features. A Server Core machine can be configured for several basic roles: Domain controller/Active Directory Domain Services, ADLDS (ADAM), DNS Server, DHCP Server, file server, print server, Windows Media Server, IIS 7 web server and Hyper-V virtual server. This last role is projected to be available at most 180 days after release of Windows Server 2008; a beta version was shipped with the released product. Server Core can also be used to create a cluster with high availability using Failover Clustering or Network Load Balancing.
Active Directory roles
is expanded with identity
, certificate, and rights management
services. Active Directory until Windows Server 2003 allowed network administrators to centrally manage connected computers, to set policies for groups of users, and to centrally deploy new applications to multiple computers. This role of Active Directory is being renamed as Active Directory Domain Services (ADDS). A number of other additional services are being introduced, including Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS), Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS), (formerly Active Directory Application Mode
, or ADAM), Active Directory Certificate Services (ADCS), and Active Directory Rights Management Services
(ADRMS). Identity and certificate services allow administrators to manage user accounts and the digital certificates
that allow them to access certain services and systems. Federation management services enable enterprises to share credentials with trusted partners and customers, allowing a consultant to use his company user name and password to log in on a client's network. Identity Integration Feature Pack
is included as Active Directory Metadirectory Services
. Each of these services represents a server role.
Windows Server 2008 features major upgrades to Terminal Services
. Terminal Services
now supports Remote Desktop Protocol 6.0
. The most notable improvement is the ability to share a single application over a Remote Desktop connection, instead of the entire desktop. This feature is called Terminal Services RemoteApp.
Other features new to Terminal Services include Terminal Services Gateway
and Terminal Services Web Access
(full web interface). With Terminal Services Gateway
, authorized computers are able to connect securely to a Terminal Server or Remote Desktop from the Internet using RDP via [
] without implementing a VPN
session first. Additional ports do not need to be opened in the firewall; RDP is tunneled through HTTPS. Terminal Services Web Access
enables administrators to provide access to the Terminal Services Sessions via a Web interface. TS Web Access
comes with an adjustable Webpart for IIS and Sharepoint
, which advertises the possible applications and connections to the user. Using TS Gateway
and TS RemoteApp
, the whole communication is via HTTP(S) and the remote applications appear transparent to the user as if they are running locally. Multiple applications run in the same session to ensure that there is no need for additional licenses per user. Terminal Services Easy Print
does not require administrators to install any printer drivers on the server, but guarantees successful client printer redirection and availability of all printer UI and properties for use in remote sessions. Terminal Services sessions are created in parallel, instead of a serial operation - the new session model can initiate at least four sessions in parallel, or more if a server has more than four processors.
Windows Server 2008 is the first Windows operating system to ship with Windows PowerShell, Microsoft's new extensible command line shell and task-based scripting technology. PowerShell is based on object-oriented programming and version 2.0 of the Microsoft .NET Framework and includes more than 120 system administration utilities, consistent syntax and naming conventions, and built-in capabilities to work with common management data such as the Windows Registry, certificate store, or Windows Management Instrumentation. PowerShell's scripting language was specifically designed for IT administration, and can be used in place of cmd.exe and Windows Script Host.
In previous Windows versions, if the operating system detected corruption in the file system
of an NTFS
volume, it marked the volume "dirty"; to correct errors on the volume, it had to be taken offline. With self-healing NTFS, an NTFS worker thread is spawned in the background which performs a localized fix-up of damaged data structures, with only the corrupted files/folders remaining unavailable without locking out the entire volume and needing the server to be taken down. The operating system now features S.M.A.R.T.
detection techniques to help determine when a hard disk may fail. This feature was first presented within Windows Vista.
Hyper-V is a hypervisor-based virtualization system, forming a core part of Microsoft's virtualization strategy. It virtualizes servers on an operating system's kernel layer. It can be thought of as partitioning a single physical server into multiple small computational partitions. Hyper-V includes the ability to act as a Xen virtualization hypervisor host allowing Xen-enabled guest operating systems to run virtualized. A beta version of Hyper-V ships with certain x86-64 editions of Windows Server 2008. Microsoft released the final version of Hyper-V on 26 June 2008 as a free download for these editions. Also, a standalone version of Hyper-V is planned. This version will also only support the x86-64 architecture.
Windows System Resource Manager
Windows System Resource Manager (WSRM) is being integrated into Windows Server 2008. It provides resource management and can be used to control the amount of resources a process
or a user can use based on business priorities. Process Matching Criteria
, which is defined by the name, type or owner of the process, enforces restrictions on the resource usage by a process that matches the criteria. CPU time, bandwidth that it can use, number of processors it can be run on, and memory allocated to a process can be restricted. Restrictions can be set to be imposed only on certain dates as well.
Server Manager is a new roles-based management tool for Windows Server 2008. It is a combination of Manage Your Server
and Security Configuration Wizard
from Windows Server 2003. Server Manager is an improvement of the Configure my server
dialog that launches by default on Windows Server 2003 machines. However, rather than serve only as a starting point to configuring new roles, Server Manager
gathers together all of the operations users would want to conduct on the server, such as, getting a remote deployment method set up, adding more server roles etc and provides a consolidated, portal-like view about the status of each role.
It is not currently possible to use the Server Manager remotely, but a client version is planned.
Other new or enhanced features include:
Core OS improvements
- Fully multi-componentized operating system.
- Improved hot patching, a feature that allows non-kernel patches to occur without the need for a reboot.
- Support for being booted from Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)-compliant firmware on x86-64 systems.
- Dynamic Hardware Partitioning
- Support for the hot-addition of processors and memory, on capable hardware.
- Support for the hot-replacement of processors and memory, on capable hardware.
Active Directory improvements
- A new "Read-Only Domain Controller" operation mode in Active Directory, intended for use in branch office scenarios where a domain controller may reside in a low physical security environment. The RODC holds a non-writeable copy of Active Directory, and redirects all write attempts to a Full Domain Controller. It replicates all accounts except sensitive ones. In RODC mode, credentials are not cached by default. Moreover, only the Domain Controller running the PDC-Emulator needs to run Windows Server 2008. Also, local administrators can log on to the machine to perform maintenance tasks without requiring administrative rights on the domain.
- Restartable Active Directory allows ADDS to be stopped and restarted from the Management Console or the command-line without rebooting the domain controller. This reduces downtime for offline operations and reduces overall DC servicing requirements with Server Core. ADDS is implemented as a Domain Controller Service in Windows Server 2008.
Policy related improvements
- All of the Group Policy improvements from Windows Vista. Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) is built-in. The Group Policy objects are indexed for search and can be commented on.
- Policy-based networking with Network Access Protection, improved branch management and enhanced end user collaboration. Policies can be created to ensure greater Quality of Service for certain applications or services that require prioritization of network bandwidth between client and server.
- Granular password settings within a single domain - ability to implement different password policies for administrative accounts on a "group" and "user" basis, instead of a single set of password settings to the whole domain.
Disk management and file storage improvements
- The ability to resize hard disk partitions without stopping the server, even the system partition. This applies only to simple and spanned volumes, not to striped volumes.
- Shadow Copy based block-level backup which supports optical media, network shares and Windows Recovery Environment.
- DFS enhancements - SYSVOL on DFS-R, Read-only Folder Replication Member. There is also support for domain-based DFS namespaces that exceed the previous size recommendation of 5,000 folders with targets in a namespace.
- Several improvements to failover clusters (High-availability clusters).
- Internet Storage Naming Server (iSNS) enables central registration, deregistration and queries for iSCSI hard drives.
Protocol and cryptography improvements
Improvements due to client-side (Windows Vista) enhancements
- Searching Windows Server 2008 servers from Windows Vista clients delegates the query to the server, which uses the Windows Search technology to search and transfer the results back to the client.
- In a networked environment with a print server running Windows Vista, clients can render print jobs locally before sending them to print servers to reduce the load on the server and increase its availability.
- Event forwarding aggregates and forwards logs of subscribed Windows Vista client computers back to a central console. Event forwarding can be enabled on the client subscribers from the central server directly from the event management console.
- Offline Files are cached locally so that they are available even if the server is not, with copies seamlessly updating when the client and server are reconnected.
- See also: Features removed from Windows Vista
- NT Backup is replaced by Windows Server Backup, and no longer support backing up to tape drives
- NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol) is no longer part of Internet Information Services 7.0
- Exchange backups. (NTBackup was replaced with VSS-based Windows Server Backup). Microsoft is recommending Data Protection Manager, but it requires a dedicated server. Windows Small Business Server and Windows Essential Business Server both include an Exchange backup component. A Windows Backup component for non-SBS installations is forthcoming.
Most editions of Windows Server 2008 are available in x86-64
) and x86
) versions. Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems supports IA-64
processors. The IA-64 version is optimized for high workload scenarios like database servers and Line of Business
(LOB) applications. As such it is not optimized for use as a file server
or media server
. Microsoft has announced that Windows Server 2008 is the last 32-bit Windows server operating system. Windows Server 2008 is available in the editions listed below, similar to Windows Server 2003
- Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition (x86 and x64)
- Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition (x86 and x64)
- Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition (x86 and x64)
- Windows HPC Server 2008
- Windows Web Server 2008 (x86 and x64)
- Windows Storage Server 2008 (x86 and x64)
- Windows Small Business Server 2008 (Codenamed "Cougar") (x64) for small businesses
- Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (Codenamed "Centro") (x64) for medium-sized businesses
- Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems
Server Core is available in the Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter editions. It is not available in Web edition or in the Itanium edition. It is important to note that Server Core is simply a server role supported by some of the editions, and not a separate edition by itself. Each edition has a separate evaluation DVD. Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition is available to students for free through Microsoft's DreamSpark program.
Windows Server 2008 R2
In August 2008 Microsoft announced that Windows Server 7 would be a "minor release", known officially as Windows Server 2008 R2, due in 2010.
Windows Server 2008 R2 will be 64-bit only.
System requirements for Windows Server 2008 are as follows:
||1 GHz (x86) or 1.4 GHz (x64)
|| 2 GHz or faster |
||512 MB RAM (may limit performance and some features)
|| 2 GB RAM or higher |
- Maximum (32-bit systems): 4GB RAM (Standard) or 64GB RAM (Enterprise and Datacenter)
- Maximum (64-bit systems): 32GB RAM (Standard) or 2TB RAM (Enterprise, Datacenter and Itanium-Based Systems)
|Video adapter and monitor
||Super VGA (800 x 600)
|| Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution |
|Hard drive disk free space
|| 40 GB or higher Note that computers with more than 16GB of RAM require more disk space for paging, hibernation, and dump files.
|| DVD-ROM or better |
||Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher-resolution monitor, keyboard and mouse
|| Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher-resolution monitor, keyboard and mouse |