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Windows Server 8 (WS8) physical systems are meant to be managed as part of a group. Here, however, Im using the GUI on a single system. The interface changes are jarring, the resemblance to the tiles on Windows Phone 7 are clear.

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Real work is meant to be done through PowerShell. As was pointed out at a recent sneak peak that I attended in Redmond, everything that can be done in the GUI can now be done in PowerShell. Im sure one or two exceptions will pop up, but for system admins the message is clear: get used to working in PowerShell.

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Server Manager

In Microsoft parlance, the chrome or shiny bling of previous Windows GUIs has been stripped away. Information is presented in spartan contrast.

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Server Roles

Hyper-V is being touted as a major challenger to VMwares just released vSphere 5.0. So, my first day installation involved instantiating the Hyper-V role on my first test system. My subsequent tests will navigate the whitewater race between Microsoft and VMware.

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IP Address Management

Windows Server 8 adds IPAM—IP Address Management—to the feature set. Demonstrations at the sneak preview were impressive and I have a feeling that IT managers are going to want to switch from spreadsheets to the IPAM feature in WS8. ??í

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Confirm Installation

My impression is that the roles and features installation process is significantly improved over previous Windows Server versions. Prereqs were checked and automatically recommended when they were found missing. The confirmation process neatly detailed my changes and made it easy to double-check my work.

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Add Servers

I added some existing Windows Server 2008 R2 to Server Manager. Seeing how well this version of Server Manager rides herd on systems will be an area of scrutiny for subsequent tests.

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Server Group

While I was adding servers I also created a server group, which make it more convenient to act on groups of systems. Groups also make it easier to enforce authorized access to systems.

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Local Server

The revamped Server Manager is designed to bubble problems to the surface. Ill be seeing how well that works as I put WS8 through its paces at eWEEK Labs. I can say that Server Manager surfaced several configuration concerns on this first installation.

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