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Introducing Microsoft Windows Server 2008

Joe Habraken introduces the features that Windows Server 2008 has inherited from its predecessors and some of its new features. He also looks at the different editions of Windows Server 2008.
This chapter is from the book

What You'll Learn in This Hour:

  • Introducing Windows Server 2008
  • Improvements and Additions to Windows Server 2008
  • The Different Flavors of Windows Server 2008

In this hour, you are introduced to the latest version of Microsoft's network operating system (NOS) platform: Microsoft Windows Server 2008. You'll learn about the features that Windows Server 2008 has inherited from its predecessors and some of the new features provided by this NOS. We also look at the different editions of Windows Server 2008.

Introducing Windows Server 2008

Microsoft Windows Server 2008 is the latest version of Microsoft's server network operating system. Windows Server 2008 builds on the features found in Windows Server 2003 and also offers a number of enhancements. Windows Server 2008 was part of the development cycle that produced Microsoft's Windows Vista desktop operating system.

During the development cycle, Longhorn, now known as Windows Server 2008, incorporated the best of what was found in the Windows Server 2003 environment and also adapted some of the new bells and whistles that are also found in the Windows Vista operating system. Windows Server 2008 also provides a number of improvements over Windows Server 2003, while still providing a scalable enterprise networking platform that can be easily expanded as a company or organization grows.

In terms of features adopted from Windows Vista, you will find that Windows Server 2008 shares a number of similarities with Windows Vista, including the Start Menu, desktop, and Windows Control Panel. Thanks to Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 also now provides a better native backup utility: the Windows Server Backup snap-in (see Figure 1.1). This backup utility runs in the Microsoft Management Console (as do many other snap-ins available in Windows Server 2008) and enables you to back up and restore server files to backup media including DVDs.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.1 The Windows Server Backup snap-in.

Windows Server 2008 also takes advantage of Windows BitLocker drive encryption, which is a new encryption feature that was created during the development cycle that produced Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. BitLocker encrypts all the data on the volume. It can be used to encrypt all the data on the volume that contains the Windows operating system, including paging files, applications, and data used by applications.

Although Windows Server 2008 has adopted some Windows Vista features and also provides many new features of its own, you shouldn't find the Windows Server 2008 administrative environment totally alien if you have used other versions of the network operating system such as Windows Server 2003 (or even the earlier version of this product, Windows 2000 Server). Many of the features and tools that were made available in Windows Server 2003 are also found in Windows Server 2008, including these:

  • The Active Directory—Known as the Active Directory for Domain Services (AD DS) in Windows Server 2008, this directory service provides the hierarchical directory of objects on the network (such as users, computers, and printers). AD DS also provides the logical hierarchy for your enterprise forests and child domains and the physical hierarchy for sites.
  • Group Policy—Group Policy provides a way to control the user and computer environment found on the network. Application deployment, client desktop settings, and policies related to administrative controls such as auditing can all be configured in Group Policy (Group Policy is discussed in Hour 11, "Deploying Group Policy and Network Access Protection").
  • High-level security—The same security options that you found in Windows Server 2003 are also available in Windows Server 2008, such as data encryption, certificates, and a number of other security enhancements, such as the IP Security Protocol. Windows Server 2008 builds on these security features and offers even greater security than its predecessor, including features such as BitLocker drive encryption and the new Network Access Protection service (discussed in Hour 11).
  • Web server capabilities—Windows Server 2008 provides the newest version of Microsoft's Internet Information Server—version 7 (IIS7)—which incorporates content delivery platforms such as ASP.NET and SharePoint services into one easy-to-manage web platform. IIS7 also supplies a new management snap-in that can be run in the Microsoft Management Console or MMC (see Hour 23, "Using the Internet Information Service," for more about IIS7).

In addition to features gleaned from the development of Windows Vista and the solid foundation provided by Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 provides many enhancements, more enhancements than can be covered in one book. Let's take a look at some of the improvements and new features provided by Windows Server 2008.

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