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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Versions of Windows Server 2008 R2

Windows Server 2008 R2 comes in the same release versions as the more recent server version releases from Microsoft with the addition of a Server Core version that provides a lighter GUI-less version of Windows Server 2008 R2. The main versions of Windows Server 2008 R2 include Windows Server 2008 R2, Standard Edition; Windows Server 2008 R2, Enterprise Edition; Windows Server 2008 R2, Datacenter Edition; Windows Web Server 2008 R2; and Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core.

Windows Server 2008 R2, Standard Edition

The Windows Server 2008 R2, Standard Edition is the most common server version of the operating system. Unlike previous versions of Windows Server where basic functions and scalability for memory and processor support was limited to only the Enterprise or Datacenter Editions of the operating system, Windows Server 2008 R2, Standard Edition is now the default version deployed by organizations.

A basic Windows Server 2008 R2 x64-bit Standard Edition system supports up to four x64 professor sockets and 32GB of memory and supports all of the server roles available in Windows Server 2008 R2, with the exception of clustering, cross-file replication (DFS-R technology), and Active Directory Federation Services.

The Standard Edition is a good version of the operating system to support domain controllers, utility servers (such as DNS or DHCP), file servers, print servers, media servers, SharePoint servers, and so on. Most organizations, large and small, find the capabilities of the Standard Edition sufficient for most network services. See Chapter 34, "Capacity Analysis and Performance Optimization," for recommendations on choosing and tuning a Windows Server 2008 R2 system that is right for its intended purpose.

Windows Server 2008 R2, Enterprise Edition

With the Windows Server 2008 R2, Standard Edition taking on the bulk of network services, the Windows Server 2008 R2, Enterprise Edition is really focused on server systems that require extremely large-scale processing and memory capabilities as well as clustering or Active Directory Federation Services. From the basis of scalability of processing and memory capacity, applications like Windows virtualization or enterprise-class Exchange 2010 or SQL 2008 servers would benefit from the capabilities of the Enterprise Edition of Windows Server 2008 R2.

Any time an organization needs to add clustering to its environment, the Enterprise Edition (or the Datacenter Edition) is needed. The Enterprise Edition is the appropriate version of operating system for high availability and high-processing demands of core application servers such as SQL Servers or large e-commerce back-end transaction systems.

For organizations leveraging the capabilities of Windows Server 2008 R2 for Thin Client Remote Desktop Services that require access to large sets of RAM (up to 2TB) and multiple processors (up to eight sockets), the Enterprise Edition can handle hundreds of users on a single server. Remote Desktop Services are covered in more detail in Chapter 25.

The Enterprise Edition, with support for server clustering, can provide organizations with the nonstop networking demands of true 24/7, 99.999% uptime capabilities required in high-availability environments. Windows Server 2008 R2, Enterprise Edition supports a wide variety of regularly available server systems, thus allowing an organization its choice of hardware vendor systems to host its Windows Server 2008 R2 application needs.

Windows Server 2008 R2, Datacenter Edition

Windows Server 2008 R2, Datacenter Edition is a high-end datacenter class version of the operating system that supports very large-scale server operations. The Datacenter Edition supports organizations that need more than eight core processors. The Datacenter Edition is focused at organizations that need scale-up server technology to support a large centralized data warehouse on one or limited numbers of server clusters.

As noted in Chapter 34 on performance and capacity analysis, an organization can scale-out or scale-up its server applications. Scale-out refers to an application that performs better when it is distributed across multiple servers, whereas scale-up refers to an application that performs better when more processors are added to a single system. Typical scale-out applications include web server services, electronic messaging systems, and file and print servers. In those cases, organizations are better off distributing the application server functions to multiple Windows Server 2008 R2, Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition systems, or even Windows Web Server 2008 R2 systems. However, applications that scale-up, such as e-commerce or data warehousing applications, benefit from having all the data and processing on a single server cluster. For these applications, Windows Server 2008 R2, Datacenter Edition provides better centralized scaled performance as well as the added benefit of fault tolerance and failover capabilities.

Windows Web Server 2008 R2 Edition

The Windows Web Server 2008 R2 Edition is a web front-end server version of the operating system focused on application server needs that are dedicated to web services requirements. Many organizations are setting up simple web servers as front ends to database servers, messaging servers, or data application server systems. Windows Web Server 2008 R2 Edition can be used as a simple web server to host application development environments or can be integrated as part of a more sophisticated web farm and web services environment that scales to multiple load-balanced systems. The Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system has significant improvements in scalability over previous versions of the Windows operating system, and an organization can license multiple web services systems at a lower cost per server to provide the scalability and redundancy desired in large web farm environments.

Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core

New to Windows Server 2008 and continued support with Windows Server 2008 R2 is a Server Core version of the operating system. Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core, shown in Figure 1.3, is a GUI-less version of the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system. When a system boots up with Server Core installed on it, the system does not load up the normal Windows graphical user interface. Instead, the Server Core system boots to a logon prompt, and from the logon prompt, the system drops to a DOS command prompt. There is no Start button, no menu—no GUI at all.

Figure 1.3

Figure 1.3 Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core.

Server Core is not sold as a separate edition, but rather as an install option that comes with the Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, and Web Server Editions of the operating system. So, when you purchase a license of Windows Server 2008 R2, the DVD has both the normal GUI Edition code plus a Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core version.

The operating system capabilities are limited to the edition of Server Core being installed, so a Windows Server 2008 R2, Enterprise Edition Server Core server has the same memory and processor limits as the regular Enterprise Edition of Windows Server 2008 R2.

Server Core has been a great version of Windows for utility servers such as domain controllers, DHCP servers, DNS servers, IIS web servers, or Windows virtualization servers being that the limited overhead provides more resources to the applications running on the server, and by removing the GUI and associated applications, there's less of a security attack footprint on the Server Core system. Being that most administrators don't play Solitaire or use Media Player on a domain controller, those are applications that don't need to be patched, updated, or maintained on the GUI-less version of Windows. With fewer applications to be patched, the system requires less maintenance and management to keep operational.

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