One of the most promising new features of Windows Server 2008 is its support for hypervisor-based virtualization. The feature, which Microsoft calls Hyper-V, enables administrators to host x86 or x86-64 operating systems on Windows Server, and compares well to VMware's ESX Server and Citrix's XenEnterprise virtualization products.
Microsoft has designated the version of Hyper-V that ships with Windows Server 2008 as a preview edition, with a final release promised within six months. eWEEK Labs will conduct further tests of Hyper-V as we approach that time frame. Until then, see my review of the initial test version of Hyper-V (known at the time as Viridian).
In addition to the new work that Microsoft has done around server virtualization, Windows Server 2008 ships with noteworthy improvements to what Microsoft has taken to calling presentation virtualization-aka Terminal Services.
One of the Terminal Services enhancements, which Microsoft calls RemoteApp, enables administrators to publish individual applications, as opposed to remote desktop sessions. I tested out RemoteApp with the Firefox Web browser, the GIMP image editing application and VMware's Virtual Infrastructure client. From a Windows XP or Windows Vista client, these applications appeared as if running locally, complete with resizable windows.
The modular design exhibited in Windows Server 2008's stripped-down core configuration carries over to Microsoft's Web server, IIS 7.0, which consists of more than 40 separate modules that administrators can install as needed. This modularity helps limit IIS 7.0's attack surface and keeps patching requirements as low as possible.
Also noteworthy in IIS 7.0 is the server's move to XML-based text files for configuration, which can help simplify configuration tasks and broaden the sorts of tools that administrators can use to manage their configuration settings. (For more on IIS 7.0, check out eWEEK Chief Technology Analyst Jim Rapoza's beta review of the product).
eWEEK Labs Executive Editor Jason Brooks can be reached at [email protected].