Channel representatives are hailing the launch of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 as a major stepping stone in the adoption of virtualisation technology and application-based server computing. The long-awaited operating system, code-named Longhorn, was launched across the globe last week. New features include support for Microsoft's virtualization hypervisor, Hyper-V, as well as the ability to run specific application-based server roles.
The software giant is also offering the IIS 7.0 Web server, improved security tools such as network access protection (NAP), a new TCP/IP stack, Unix-based applications support, and Rights Management Services.
Dimension Data general manager of Microsoft solutions, David Hanrahan, said the integrator had several clients with Windows Server 2008 in production. "It's been really exciting and we've had no issues moving people from rapid deployment into production," he said.
One of the most anticipated features of the operating system is its componentised server core. This gives Server 2008 a smaller footprint and allows organisations to assign application-specific roles upfront.
"With these different server cores the operating system becomes easier to provision," managing director of hosting company Emantra, Ross Dewar, said. Emantra has been involved in Windows Server 2008 testing for the past six months.
"It will only install the features required for that assigned server use, rather than installing everything and forcing administrators to then offload the bits they don't need."
Hanrahan said most of DiData's proof of concept work to date had focused on the new server core. "In highly distributed environments, we are getting a lot of interest around that aspect of Windows Server 2008 because of its thin install," he said. "The removal of the GUI and the encryption piece has also been well received.
"We're moving to zero-touch server deployments and treating servers more like desktops: you get them scripted and deploy the features you want." IMC Communications' Microsoft systems engineer, Danny German, is also predicting customizable servers will prove a big hit with customers.
The Sydney-based networking integrator is now rolling out Windows Server 2008 to ANZ Stadium.
"One of the reasons we wanted to put [server] 2008 into ANZ Stadium was the server core feature.
They have a number of different servers and we can also use that in their disaster recovery site," he said. "The stadium is also planning to roll Vista out at the end of the year. File and print services through Server 2008 connected to the Vista client will be much faster than if they were using Vista with Server 2003."