Microsoft also introduces Powershell in Window Server 2008; it is a command line shell designed for IT Administrators. With Powershell you can basically write a script for any task in Windows Server 2008.
Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0 has been completely rewritten and will debut in Windows Server 2008. IIS is now broken down into modules. You can take any one of these modules and break them down further by plugging or unplugging them as well as extending them or simply ripping the code out and not using them at all.
In other words, you can turn on or turn off any module in IIS whenever you want. For example, if you do not use basic authentication in your websites, you can simply remove the code quickly and simply. Furthermore, if your application does not take advantage of common gateway interfaces (CGI), simply remove that specific component.
Now when you deploy a brand new webserver, you can choose what components you want and only run those components. This allows you to secure IIS further and gives you a huge performance boost enabling IIS to run much faster than it ever has before.
Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is also being widely used in IIS 7, making it easy to manage IIS 7 via WMI. Simply put, it allows you to manage IIS from a set of scripts that you create. There is a lot of automation that can be done with IIS 7.0 via WMI. IT administrators will welcome the enhancements.
In IIS 7, you do not need to be a machine administrator to perform basics tasks. You have the ability to make specific people website operators on a machine and give them the appropriate tasks to do their job without elevating their privileges. All of these tasks are now handled by the new IIS 7 Web-admin tool that replaces the existing MMC snap-in. This tool takes care of all of your administrators needs and is where they will manage their IIS 7 web servers.
The last feature I am going to talk about is the web.config file. This is where all information that is input in the Web admin tool is stored. You could edit this file manually, if your IT administrator does not want to use the Web admin tool. They could put this web.config file on a file server to by accessed by multiple servers in a cluster.
Microsoft is moving in on Citrix territory even more as they now introduce the following components: Terminal Server Gateway, RemoteApp, and Terminal Services Web Access. Terminal Server Gateway allows remote user’s access to Terminal Servers through your perimeter firewall. RemoteApp allows you to publish applications on a Terminal Server as opposed to an entire desktop. Finally, Terminal Server Web access provides you with a portal to access application and/or desktops.
I know many clients that have completely moved away from Citrix to save on license costs due to the fact that Terminal Services offers such a robust amount of functionality.
Microsoft Virtual Server will become embedded in Windows Server 2008. It will be renamed Windows Server Virtualization and I suspect it will be a role that you will be able to turn on in the Server Manager MMC console. You will be able to manage virtual machines via the Virtualization Management Console for a specific server.
If you are a large organization, you can take advantage of System Center Virtual Machine Manager to manager hundreds of virtual machines from one console. It was just a matter of time before Microsoft decided to roll up the virtualization technology inside Windows Server.
Until now, Windows Server 2008 hasn’t impressed me very much. But, in this release, it seems Microsoft has stepped up their game and shown us a good set of features to come. For many people, just having virtualization embedded in the product will be a good case to upgrade due to server consolidation and the push to “go green” in the data center. I am very impressed with what I have seen so far and Windows Server 2008 will be much more feature complete than Windows Vista.
Ultimately, though, Windows Server 2008 is still evolving but this should be a good starting point for what it has to offer. This is the first public release of Windows Server 2008 and is available for preview here. Take a look at it firsthand. Afterall, how often can you download Microsoft software for free?
Steven Warren is an IT consultant for the Ultimate Software Group and a freelance technical writer who has been a regular contributor to TechRepublic, TechProGuild, CNET, ZDNET, DatabaseJournal.com and, now, CIO Update. He the author of “The VMware Workstation 5.0 Handbook” and holds the following certifications: MCDBA, MCSE, MCSA, CCA, CIW-SA, CIW-MA, Network+, and i-Net+.