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Get answers to your questions about Windows Server 2008.
Q. What is Windows Server 2008?
Windows Server 2008 is the most advanced Windows Server operating system yet, designed to power the next generation of networks, applications, and Web services. With Windows Server 2008 you can develop, deliver, and manage rich user experiences and applications, help provide a highly secure network infrastructure, and increase technological efficiency and value within your organization. Windows Server 2008 builds on the success and strengths of its Windows Server predecessors while delivering valuable new functionality and powerful improvements to the base operating system. New Web tools, virtualization technologies, security enhancements, and management utilities help save time, reduce costs, and provide a solid foundation for your information technology (IT) infrastructure. Learn more details by reading the Product Overview.
Q. How can I evaluate Windows Server 2008?
There are several ways for you to evaluate Windows Server 2008:
Download an evaluation version
Take an online test drive of Windows Server 2008 (eight 10-15 minute self-driven demonstrations)
Try an online Virtual Lab (60-90 minute self-driven evaluations)
View further events, webcasts, and chats
Q. What editions/versions does Windows Server 2008 come in?
Windows Server 2008 will be released with eight editions which include:
Windows Server 2008 is the most robust Windows Server operating system to date. With built-in, enhanced Web and virtualization capabilities, it is designed to increase the reliability and flexibility of your server infrastructure while helping save time and reduce costs. Powerful tools give you greater control over your servers, and streamline configuration and management tasks. Plus, enhanced security features work to harden the operating system to help protect your data and network, and provide a solid, highly dependable foundation for your business.
Windows Server 2008 Enterprise delivers an enterprise-class platform for deploying business-critical applications. It helps improve availability with clustering and hot-add processor capabilities, helps improve security with consolidated identity management features, and reduces infrastructure costs by consolidating applications with virtualization licensing rights. Windows Server 2008 Enterprise provides the foundation for a highly dynamic, scalable IT infrastructure.
Windows Server 2008 Datacenter delivers an enterprise-class platform for deploying business-critical applications and large-scale virtualization on small and large servers. It improves availability with clustering and dynamic hardware partitioning capabilities, reduces infrastructure costs by consolidating applications with unlimited virtualization licensing rights, and scales from 2 to 64 processors. Windows Server 2008 Datacenter provides a foundation on which to build enterprise-class virtualization and scale-up solutions.
Designed to be used specifically as a single-purpose Web server, Windows Web Server 2008 provides a rock-solid foundation of Web infrastructure capabilities in the next-generation Windows Server 2008. Integrated with the newly re-architected IIS 7.0, ASP.NET, and the Microsoft .NET Framework, Windows Web Server 2008 enables any organization to rapidly deploy Web pages, Web sites, Web applications, and Web services.
Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems is optimized for large databases, line of business, and custom applications providing high availability and scalability with up to 64 processors to meet the needs of demanding and mission-critical solutions.
Windows Server 2008 Standard is the most robust Windows Server operating system to date. It is designed to increase the reliability and flexibility of your server infrastructure while helping save time and reduce costs. Powerful tools give you greater control over your servers, and streamline configuration and management tasks. Plus, enhanced security features work to harden the operating system to help protect your data and network, and provide a solid, highly dependable foundation for your business. This product does not include Windows Server Hyper-V.
Windows Server 2008 Enterprise delivers an enterprise-class platform for deploying business-critical applications. It improves availability with clustering and hot-add processor capabilities, improves security with consolidated identity management features, and reduces infrastructure costs by consolidating applications with virtualization licensing rights. Windows Server 2008 Enterprise provides the foundation for a highly dynamic, scalable IT infrastructure. This product does not include Windows Server Hyper-V.
Windows Server 2008 Datacenter delivers an enterprise-class platform for deploying business-critical applications and large-scale virtualization on small and large servers. It improves availability with clustering and dynamic hardware partitioning capabilities, reduces infrastructure costs by consolidating applications with unlimited virtualization licensing rights, and scales from 2 to 64 processors. Windows Server 2008 Datacenter provides a foundation on which to build enterprise-class virtualization and scale-up solutions. This product does not include Windows Server Hyper-V.
Q. When will Windows Server 2008 be available for purchase?
Windows Server 2008 was launched on February 27, 2008, in Los Angeles, and is available for evaluation.
Q. How much will Windows Server 2008 cost?
Further information on pricing and licensing can be found at the Pricing and Licensing page.
Q. Why should I upgrade to Windows Server 2008 from previous versions of Windows Server?
Windows Server 2008 provides the latest release of the Windows Server platform. With each release, Microsoft introduces new technology while still focusing on core areas, including:
Virtualization with Hyper-V.
A world-class Web and applications platform.
Improved networking performance.
Enhanced security and compliance.
Taking back control over your branch offices.
Server management made easier.
Enhanced scripting and task automation.
Centralized application access.
Prevent unhealthy computers from entering the network.
Better together with Windows Vista.
Q. What’s new in Windows Server 2008?
Windows Server 2008 provides a solid foundation for your business, and has many new and enhanced features and functionality for virtualization, Web platform, and security. Read more about new features.
Q. What usage scenarios does Windows Server 2008 support?
Windows Server 2008 focuses on 10 core scenarios, including virtualization, high-performance computing (HPC), Web platform, security, and more. More information can be found at the Windows Server 2008 Scenario site.
Q. What is virtualization? Does Windows Server 2008 offer virtualization technology?
Virtualization applications, such as Virtual Server 2005 and Hyper-V, allow information technology personnel to virtualize hardware resources, such as CPU, RAM, hard disk, and network controllers, to create fully functional virtual machines that can run their own operating system and applications just like a physical computer. Windows Server 2008 will include Windows Server Hyper-V, a powerful virtualization technology with strong management and security features. Hyper-V will help businesses reduce costs, increase agility and system availability for production server consolidation, disaster recovery, test and development, and, when coupled with System Center Virtual Machine Manager, the end-to-end management of dynamic data centers. You can learn more about Microsoft Virtualization solutions by visiting the Virtualization Center.
Q. What management improvements does Windows Server 2008 provide?
Simplifying the day-to-day complexities of server administration is a key theme in many of the enhancements included in Windows Server 2008. New management tools, like the Server Manager Console, provide a single, unified console for managing a server's configuration and system information, displaying server status, identifying problems with server role configuration, and managing all roles installed on the server. You can learn more by visiting the Server Management page.
Q. What is Windows Server 2008 Server Core installation option?
The Server Core installation option of the Windows Server 2008 operating system is a new option for installing Windows Server 2008. A Server Core installation provides a minimal environment for running specific server roles that reduces the maintenance and management requirements and the attack surface for those server roles. To provide this minimal environment, a Server Core installation installs only the subset of the binaries that are required by the supported server roles. For example, the Explorer shell is not installed as part of a Server Core installation. Instead, the default user interface for a Server Core installation is the command prompt. Once you have installed and configured the server, you can manage it either locally at the command prompt or remotely by using Remote Desktop. You can also manage the server remotely by using the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) or command-line tools that support remote use.
Q. What Identity Management enhancements does Windows Server 2008 provide?
Windows Server 2008 expands on the Microsoft Identity and Access foundation with several new features and technologies to help organizations improve operational efficiency, simplify compliance, and strengthen security. These include read-only domain controllers (RODC), AD Server Core role, enhancements in authentication support, and other new and improved features for information protection. You can see the entire list at the Identity and Access Management page.
Q. What changes have there been in Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services?
With Terminal Services in Windows Server 2008, Microsoft releases its most powerful centralized application platform ever, offering an impressive array of new capabilities that dramatically improve the administrator and user experiences. Terminal Services now provides centralized access to individual applications without the need to provide the whole remote desktop. Applications running remotely are integrated with the local user’s desktop—looking, feeling, and behaving like local applications. Organizations can provide more secure access to centralized applications or desktops, and other resources from the Internet, by using HTTPS, without needing to provide access via a virtual private network (VPN) or opening up unwanted ports on firewalls. This reduces the complexity needed to provide secure remote access to applications and data for users, partners, or customers. For deployments with several servers, the new load-balancing features provide a simple way to ensure optimal performance by spreading sessions among the least-loaded available resources. Further information can be found at the Presentation Virtualization page.
Q. Have there been any clustering enhancements for Windows Server 2008?
In Windows Server 2008, the improvements to failover clusters (formerly known as server clusters) are aimed at simplifying clusters, making them more secure, and enhancing cluster stability. These include new cluster validation tools, improvement to setup and migration, improvements to management and operations, infrastructure, storage, security, and networking. You can find further information on Windows Server 2008 clustering by visiting the High Availability page.
Q. How secure is Windows Server 2008?
Windows Server 2008 has been designed with security fully in mind. Some of the primary new security benefits in the operating system help your organization to:
Protect your network against unauthorized or unhealthy computers.
Deploy small footprint specialized servers.
More highly secure server communication.
Improve branch office security.
Reduce server attack surfaces.
Control service security.
Provide best-of-breed data encryption.
You can learn more about the security enhancements of Windows Server 2008 by visiting the Security and Policy Enforcement page.
Q. What is Network Access Protection?
Network Access Protection (NAP) addresses the industry-wide problem of unhealthy computers accessing and compromising an organization's network. NAP is used to help ensure that any computer connecting to the network meets the health requirements defined by your company policy, to limit network access for computers not meeting the predefined requirements, to provide remediation services to get those computers back to a healthy state, and to provide ongoing compliance-checking. Learn more by visiting the Security and Policy Enforcement page.
Q. How does Windows Server 2008 support my Web applications?
Windows Server 2008 provides a highly secure, easy-to-manage platform for developing and reliably hosting applications and services that are delivered from the server or over the Web. New features include simplified management, increased security, and both performance and extensibility improvements which deliver a unified platform for Web publishing that integrates Internet Information Services 7.0 (IIS 7.0), ASP.NET, Windows Communication Foundation, and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services. You can learn more by visiting the Web and Application Platform page.
Q. Have there been any other core enhancements in Windows Server 2008?
There have been numerous new and existing enhancements for core features with the introduction of Windows Server 2008, many of which can be viewed on the Compare Editions pages.
Q. How does Windows Server 2008 work with Windows Vista?
Both the Windows Vista operating system and Windows Server 2008 provide numerous new and enhanced features and business benefits on their own. However, when both are installed, organizations can realize additional benefits, including more efficient management, greater availability, and faster communication. You can learn more on the Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista—Better Together page.
Q. What applications work with Windows Server 2008?
See a full list of supported Microsoft applications for Windows Server 2008. For third-party solutions, please visit the ISV Solutions Center.
Q. Are there tools available to assess my infrastructure readiness for Windows Server 2008?
Yes, the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit will assess readiness for migration to Windows Server 2008.
Q. Where can I find further information about deploying Windows Server 2008?
The Windows Server TechCenter provides practical information on evaluating, deploying, and supporting Windows Server 2008.
Q. How does Windows Server 2008 differ from other operating systems?
You can find further information on comparing Windows Server with operating systems, such as UNIX, LINUX, and mainframe computers, by visiting the windowsserver/compare site.