Windows Server 2008 delivers enhanced fault tolerance, performance, security, manageability, functionality, capacity, and economy by incorporating a variety a new and improved features. New virtualization technology saves money, simplifies administration, adds flexibility, and reduces recovery time in case of natural or-human-made disaster. Improved clustering and load balancing capability increases fault tolerance and manageability. An updated web hosting and development platform strengthens the security and dependability of web applications and makes it easier to maintain web environments. Windows Server 2008 has been hardened to withstand external and internal attacks and new tools help enforce security policies. Better support for branch offices and offsite clients makes it simpler and safer to run remote applications and easier to manage and troubleshoot offsite environments.
Windows Server 2008 R2 adds important enhancements to the initial release of Windows 2008 in the areas of virtualization, remote access, web services, management automation, clustering, fault tolerance, availability, security, and Windows 7 integration.
Decision Consultants' Microsoft-certified consultants can help you evaluate the benefits of Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 for your business, develop pilot programs and migration plans, integrate Windows Server with your network infrastructure and applications, train your IT staff how to use new management tools to administer and support your clients, and provide ongoing consulting and troubleshooting support via budget-friendly options such as Help Desk services.
Windows Server 2008 introduced a broad array of new and enhanced features that address vital aspects of business networking and solidify the position of Windows Server technology as a pivotal component of any information technology solution. Some of the headline features introduced by Windows Server 2008 include:
Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V
Windows Server 2008 includes integrated virtualization technology known as Hyper-V, which allows businesses to save money by deriving more functionality from less equipment. By making it possible to run multiple server roles on a shared machine, virtualization reduces costs associated with hardware, space, energy, and management time. Hyper-V offers a flexible virtualization platform with a unified set of tools to control virtual and hardware resources.
Features and benefits of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V include:
Ability to cluster virtual machine hosts and to backup virtual machines without service interruption improves system availability
New virtual switch feature supports Windows Network Load Balancing (NLB) to enhance performance
Symmetric Multiprocessors (SMP) Support allows as many as four multi processors for a total of 16 processors in a virtual machine (VM) environment to get the maximum benefit of multi-threaded applications such as SQL Server
Ability to capture snapshots of a virtual machine makes it possible to restore a previous state
Multiple operating systems including Windows and Linux can be run from a single physical server
New storage capabilities including pass-thru hard disk access and dynamic storage expansion makes data more accessible to virtual machines, programs, and services
For additional information about Microsoft's Hyper-V technology and to find out how Decision Consultants can help your business benefit from virtualization, see Windows Server 2008 Virtual Server Consulting.
Improved Failover Clustering and Network Load Balancing
Windows Server 2008 improves support for failover clustering, also known as server clustering, by making this high-availability technology more secure, more stable, and easier to manage. Features of Windows Server 2008 that support failover clustering include:
A Cluster Validation Tool helps verify that an environment is correctly configured and designed to be converted to a cluster
A Cluster Management Interface makes it easier to administer clusters by offering features such as the ability to create customized views of clusters and shared folders
Migration is simplified by the ability to capture and copy cluster settings from one cluster to another
Seamless integration with the Volume Shadow Copy Service makes it easier to back up and restore clusters
Support for GUID partition table (GPT) disks allows greater disk capacity and improves availability by permitting extra storage to be added to an application without disrupting service
Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) and DNS support eliminates the requirement to have WINS and NetBIOS name broadcasts
For a closer look at Microsoft's failover clustering technology and for information about Decision Consultants' support services for high-availability clustering, visit Windows Server 2008 Failover Cluster Consulting.
Server Manager and PowerShell
Administration, management, and automation are made easier in Windows Server 2008 by Server Manager and PowerShell. Server Manager offers a centralized console for controlling a server's configuration and system attributes, displaying the current status of a server, highlighting problems with configuring the server role, and managing all the roles assigned to the server. Server Manager makes it possible for system administrators to accomplish tasks quickly and accurately in a single friendly environment without being forced to jump from one management utility to another. Server Manager works seamlessly with PowerShell, a new command-line scripting language that helps automate administration across multiple servers.
Branch and Remote Office Support
Windows Server 2008 includes a number of features designed to simplify the installation and ensure the security and reliability of branch and global office systems. Improvements in this area include:
Windows Deployment Services (WDS) allow businesses to automate the installation of operating systems in remote offices without requiring the onsite presence of technical personnel. Windows Deployment Services makes it possible to deploy new systems quickly and inexpensively, even in cases where the remote computers have no operating system installed.
A new Read-Only Domain Controller offers a more secure mechanism to provide Active Domain administration in remote offices
Terminal Services (TS) RemoteApp and TS Web Access allow offsite workers to open programs remotely with a single click so that they appear to be running on their own computers
TS Gateway offers safe connectivity to remote applications through firewalls without requiring workers to set up or activate a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Network Access Protection (NAP) is a platform to help enforce security policies and can be utilized to verify the health of remote office systems. When a remote client accesses a Windows Server 2008 environment, the NAP services can make sure that required updates and configuration standards are in place before permitting remote access to the system.
To learn about Decision Consultants' consulting support services for branch offices, refer to Decision Consultants' Consulting Help for Branch Offices.
Internet Information Services 7.0 (IIS 7.0) is a comprehensive solution for developing and hosting web applications. IIS 7.0 plays a crucial role in unifying Microsoft's web platform products such as ASP.NET, Windows SharePoint Services, and Windows Communication Foundation web services. Enhancements offered by IIS 7.0 include:
IIS has a more modular design so that feature modules can be installed independently, making it possible to shrink the server's exposed attack surface and reducing the server's resource requirements
The introduction of IIS Manager as well as a new command-line utility simplifies management and administration
Web site settings can easily be copied across multiple servers thanks to cross-site deployment support
Application administration as well as management of different components of the web server can be delegated to appropriate specialists
Improved integrated tools for analysis, repair, and health management make it easier to identify and correct problems
Sites and applications can be more thoroughly isolated from one another to improve security and availability
Active Directory Enhancements
Windows Server 2008 adds important new or enhanced services to Active Directory. New or improved services and their key features include:
Active Directory Domain Services are an enhanced and renamed version of AD Directory Services. AD Domain Services now offer improved auditing, fine-grained passwords for more versatile password policies, a Read-only Domain Controller for environments with marginal security, and Restartable Active Directory Domain Services to make routine maintenance less disruptive.
Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LS) are an enhanced and renamed version of Active Directory Application Mode. Enhancements to AD LS include Install from Media Generation for creating installation disks, easier auditing of directory service changes, and Active Directory Sites and Services Support to simplify management of AD LDS replication.
Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) identify which users have what rights to a file (e.g., open, modify, print, etc.). This protect data that is distributed to environments that you do not control. Enhancements to AD RMS include the ability to install the AD RMS client on other Windows operating systems, Persistent Protection to keep content secure when it is outside your network environment, and Usage Policy Templates to make it easy to set usage rights for files with the same rights.
Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) store certificates and private keys to protect the identity and centralize access to this information. Enhancements to AD CS include an Online Responder to reduce network traffic when clients validate certificates, and a new management tool called Enterprise PKI (PKI View) to help manage Certification Authority (CA) hierarchies.
Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) authenticate users from partner organizations and make it easier to integrate trusted and untrusted domain resources. Enhancements to AD FS include the ability of AD FS to be managed via Server Manager, integration with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to allow a single sign-in, elimination of the need for AD RMS to be installed in both organizations, and improved administration to make it easier for both organizations to configure trust information.
Decision Consultants' Microsoft-certified consultants offer world-class expertise in designing, integrating, and troubleshooting Active Directory technology. For a closer look at Decision Consultants' Active Directory consulting services and more details about the improvements to Active Directory incorporated into Windows Server 2008, visit Decision Consultants' Consulting Support for Active Directory.
Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP 1 includes major enhancements to the original Windows Server 2008 release in crucial areas such as virtualized servers and desktops, branch office connectivity, web hosting and development, high availability, failover clustering, remote administration, management automation, and support for Windows 7-based clients. Windows Server 2008 R2 is available only in 64-bit versions and is designed to accelerate return on investment by delivering world-class performance, data protection, scalability, and dependability.
Marquee technologies introduced by Windows Server 2008 R2 include Live Migration for Hyper-V based virtual servers, Clustered Shared Volumes (CSV) for high-availability clustering, BranchCache for improving remote office connectivity, DirectAccess for supporting remote and mobile Windows 7 clients, Internet Information Services 7.5 for advanced web services, and new PowerShell capability for expanding and automating the management of remote servers. For a more detailed discussion of the new technologies incorporated in Windows Server 2008 R2 and to find out how Decision Consultants can help you turn them into advantages for your business, refer to Decision Consultants' Windows Server 2008 R2 consulting services.
Decision Consultants offers a variety of consulting and support services that can help businesses of any size benefit from Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2. Decision Consultants' Microsoft-certified consultants can help you evaluate the ways Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 could improve the business value of your information network so that you can justify the cost of an upgrade. Decision Consultants can help you pilot Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 so that you can determine its stability, performance, and compatibility under realistic workloads. Decision Consultants can assist with developing a rollout plan, assess and enhance existing network infrastructure, develop backup and recovery procedures, evaluate security architecture and policies, help integrate physical and virtualized servers, design high-availability strategies including failover server clustering, train in-house IT staff, and set up automated server and network monitoring processes to ensure security and performance.
Decision Consultants can provide a variety of support services that include remote online troubleshooting, comprehensive Help Desk services, outsourced or co-sourced network management, and full-time or part-time staffing. Decision Consultants can provide the expertise of CISM, CISA GIAC, and CISSP-certified network security engineers to assess the security of your environment, validate regulatory compliance, perform penetration testing, establish business continuity plans, and verify disaster recovery procedures.
Decision Consultants' Cisco-certified network professionals, including high-level CCIE consultants, can help you design, configure, manage, and troubleshoot a hardened network infrastructure that offers the performance and security your business requires without breaking your IT budget.
Decision Consultants' Consulting and Support Services for Microsoft .NET Servers
For small businesses, Decision Consultants' Microsoft-certified consultants can provide network help and professional consulting support for the whole array of Microsoft .NET Enterprise Servers, Microsoft Windows 2008 Server, and Microsoft Windows 2003 Server. Decision Consultants' planning, integration, update, and consulting services include network design, configuration, and administration help for project analysis and documentation, on-site and off-site IT support and network diagnosis, Help Desk Call Center Support, certified security consulting, turn-key outsourcing, and network and application server hosting options.