Microsoft Windows Server 2008 is Finally Here!!

It's been spoken and contemplated about for quite some time now, and has shifted in and out of focus. But after more than 5 years in the making, Windows Server 2008 is finally here!! It made its first public appearance on Wednesday with a glitzy Los Angeles launch event that also included sneak peaks of Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008. Microsoft executives call it "the most significant enhancement to the server platform since its inception." Windows Server 2008 is available now to Microsoft Software Assurance and MSDN customers, with media being available for purchase in various retail channels by early March.

Microsoft Corporation has finally lifted the curtain on its new Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, and SQL Server 2008 products. Though Windows Server '08 represents a cash cow for Microsoft, it is also vital to the company's efforts to encourage corporate customers to adopt the Vista operating system. But the real focus lies on Windows Server's new features, designed to appeal to IT managers and developers. The features fall into one of these five areas: security, virtualization, Web productivity and business intelligence and new energy-efficient features for the green set. You can download the entire Windows Server 2008 Reviewer's Guide right here.

The product will use Go Daddy's Internet Information Services 7.0 software to improve Web site performance and enhanced security. The companies have worked together to build the performance specifications of the new product for more than a year. The new server will allow further customization than the previous releases and is built from the same code language as Microsoft Vista, the company's latest operating system. Like Vista, Windows Server 2008 has enhanced security and administrative features.

One of the more talked-about features is its remote control configuration and maintenance abilities. Using Microsoft Management Console, users can interface with the scaled-back Server Core installation to handle maintenance. Users can also use command line interface windows as well.

The Microsoft Server 2008 will bring to life functions and features of Vista that have been hidden somewhat in Server 2003 environments. The company officials claim that for organizations that deploy Server 2008 and Vista together, the primary benefits will come in the form of more reliable code and consistent hot fixes within both platforms, and it'll be easier to identify issues for customers.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also mentioined that virtualization isn't solely relegated to Hyper-V, the server-virtualization engine that is scheduled to be released as a Windows Server 2008 add-on in about six months. Microsoft's Terminal Services is also considered virtualization, and the latest version is shipping now with the core Server 2008 operating system. It also boasts a better bandwidth management for much-improved performance, and a slick Web interface that allows administrators to publish application icons onto Internet Information (IIS) and SharePoint servers while users run the full desktop application experience within their browsers. The Enterprise and Data Center versions will have built-in clustering, including a slick and intuitive management screen that not only makes clustering easy to configure but also incorporates a best practice checker that makes sure user configuration is set up correctly.

Bob Visse, Microsoft's senior director of marketing for Windows Server 2008, said that the company has gone to extreme lengths to make the platform highly reliable out of the gate. Microsoft's energy efficient efforts cover more than just virtualization, according to Ballmer. Server 2008's 64-bit capability allows it to take advantage of larger hardware resources(especially RAM) and advanced features that Intel and AMD are building only into their 64-bit CPUs. The combination enables much deeper utilization and control of underlying hardware, which allows customers to make more energy efficient use of their data centers, according to Microsoft.

The standard version will retail for $999 with five client access licenses. Enterprise will run $3,999 with 25 client access licenses, while the data center edition will cost $2,999 per CPU. The Itanium-compatible version will be priced the same as data center, and there will also be a single-task version, designed solely to run as a Web server, which will cost $496. All versions will be available in both 32- and 64-bit versions.The launch is generating quite a bit of hype already, but whether it can save the Software Giant and help in restoring it's lost pride is what needs to be seen!

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