Friday, May 16, 2008

Introducing Windows Server 2008

It all started with Windows NT, Microsoft's first serious entry into the network server market. Versions 3.1 and 3.5 of Windows NT didn't garner very much attention in a NetWare-dominated world because they were sluggish and refused to play well with others. Along came Windows NT 4.0, which used the new Windows 95 interface (revolutionary only to those who didn't recognize Apple's Macintosh OS user interface) to put a friendlier face on some simple yet fundamental architectural improvements. With version 4.0, larger organizations saw that Microsoft was serious about entering the enterprise computing market, even if the product currently being offered was still limited in scalability and availability. For one, Microsoft made concessions to NetWare users, giving them an easy way to integrate with a new NT network. The company also included a revised security feature set, including finely grained permissions and domains, which signified that Microsoft considered enterprise computing an important part of Windows.

After a record six and one-half service packs, NT 4.0 is considered by some to be the most stable operating system ever to come out of Redmond. However, despite that, most administrators with Unix experience required an OS more credible in an enterprise environment—one that could compare to the enormous Unix machines that penetrated that market long ago and had unquestionably occupied it ever since. It wasn't until February 2000, when Windows 2000 Server was released, that these calls were answered. Windows 2000 was a complete revision of NT 4.0 and was designed with stability and scalability as first priorities.

However, something was still lacking. Sun and IBM included application server software and developer-centric capabilities with their industrial-strength operating systems, Solaris and AIX. Windows 2000 lacked this functionality. In addition, the infamous security problems associated with the bundled Windows 2000 web server, Internet Information Services (IIS), cast an ominous cloud over the thought that Windows could ever be a viable Internet-facing enterprise OS. Given that many saw Microsoft as "betting the company" on a web services initiative called .NET, it was critical that Microsoft save face and do it right the next time. It wasn't too late, but customers were very concerned about the numerous security vulnerabilities and the lack of a convenient patch management system to apply corrections to those vulnerabilities. Things had to change.

From stage left, enter Windows Server 2003. What distinguished the release other than a longer name and a three-year difference in release dates? Security, primarily. Windows Server 2003 came more secure out of the box and was heavily influenced by the month-long halt of new development in March 2002, referred to by Microsoft as the beginning of the Trustworthy Computing Initiative, wherein all developers and product managers did nothing but review existing source code for security flaws and attend training on new best practices for writing secure code. Performance was also improved in the Windows Server 2003 release, focus was put on making the operating system scalable, and in general enterprise administration was made more efficient and easier to automate. Microsoft also updated some bundled software via the Windows Server 2003 R2 release, making it more straightforward to manage identities over different directory services and security boundaries, distribute files and replicate directory structures among many servers, and more.

But as always, no software is perfect, and there's always room for improvement. As business requirements have changed, Microsoft developers worked in tandem on Windows Vista and the next release of Windows on the server. When Windows Vista was released to manufacturing, the teams split again, and the Windows Server 2008 group added a few new features and then focused on performance and reliability until the release.

Windows Server 2008 Biggest Changes

Windows Server 2008 Editions

Windows Server 2008 Hardware Requirements

Windows Server 2008 Security Improvements

Windows Server 2008 Networking Improvements

Windows Server 2008 Manageability Improvements

Windows Server 2008 Performance and Reliability Upgrades

Windows Server 2008 File and Print Server Features

Windows Server 2008 NTFS File and Folder Permissions

Windows Server 2008 Distributed File System

Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Domain Services Objects and Concepts
--> Domains
--> Organizational Units
--> Sites
--> Groups
--> Nesting / Tree
--> Forest
--> Shared Folders and Printers / Contacts / Global

Group Policy and IntelliMirror
--> Group Policy Implementation
--> Refreshing computer policies
--> Group Policy Preferences
--> Group Policy Management Console

Windows Server 2008 Local Group Policy

Windows Server 2008 Domain Group Policy
--> IntelliMirror: Software Installation
--> IntelliMirror: Folder Redirection
--> Software Restriction Policies
--> Scripts

How to use Windows Server 2008 Reliability and Performance Monitor

Working with Server 2008 Event Viewer

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