Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Now a Release Candidate

Microsoft has unveiled a Release Candidate (RC) for Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.

Microsoft has unveiled a Release Candidate (RC) for Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. The final version of SP1 is due early in 2011, according to the company.

In addition to a handful of operating system updates, the Release Candidate includes new features for Windows Server, according to an Oct. 26 posting on the Windows Server Division WebLog.

The first, Microsoft RemoteFX, "introduces a new set of remote user experience capabilities that enable a media-rich user environment for virtual and session-based desktops." The application supports both thick- and thin-client devices, as well as "a broad array of USB peripherals to improve the productivity of users of virtual desktops."

The second, Dynamic Memory, allows "servers running Hyper-V for server virtualization ... to be more efficient in the use of memory." The application distributes memory among virtual machines in ways designed to boost consolidation ratios, increase server utilization rates and make workload management more flexible.

Those interested can download the SP1 RC from this Microsoft Website.

Both RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory had been present in the Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 beta release. The full eWEEK review of that beta can be found here.

Windows Server 2008 R2 represents Microsoft's attempt to capitalize on technological trends such as virtualization that have radically altered the face of IT. On top of leveraging Microsoft's Hyper-V technology, the platform's 64-bit architecture is designed to take advantage of virtualization's hungrier memory needs. Also included: features such as support for hot plug-in and hot removal of both virtual and physical storage without the need to reboot the physical host system.

However, eWEEK Labs found that the 64-bit architecture created some issues for IT pros looking for a legacy upgrade. "There's no doubt that Windows Server 2008 R2 offers major improvements, but getting existing Windows installations to this most current release may be a drag," they wrote in a May breakdown. "Migrating from a 32-bit version of Windows Server 2008 or 2003 basically requires a number of migration tools followed by installation of Windows Server 2008 R2."

Microsoft's other recent server releases include its Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, in September. The HPC (high performance computing) server is designed to help businesses, government and academia leverage capabilities for powerful analysis, and its interoperable with Microsoft products such as SharePoint, Microsoft System Center, Microsoft Office and Active Directory.