On Friday Microsoft made the new R2 version of its Windows Server 2008 server operating system available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers.
The release comes about a week after Windows 7 was pushed to both sites. Manufacturers received the RTM versions in July, and the releases were made available to volume licensing customers earlier this month.
According to Microsoft's release schedule, Gold and Certified partners will have access to the software Wednesday, and a 180-day evaluation version of Windows Server 2008 R2 will be made available the general public (what Microsoft calls "technical enthusiasts") on Thursday. The software will become available via retail channels on Sept 14, although the official "launch" date for both software releases is currently scheduled for Oct.22.
Windows Server 2008 no longer supports 32-bit processors, but does support 64-bit and can support 256 logical processors. It also offers numerous new features in a variety of areas. In the virtualization space, Windows Server 2008 R2 includes Hyper-V 2.0, which now features "live migration." Other improvements include hot storage swapping, scalability upgrades and an update of System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2008.
New management features for the rest of Windows Server 2008, according to Microsoft, include an new integrated management console, PowerShell 2.0, new Active Directory and Group Policy features, and a best practices analyzer.
Other additions include IIS 7.5, ASP.NET on Server Core and improved "componentization," letting administrators install only the parts of the operating system they plan to use.
A detailed list of what's new is available here (scroll down to bottom of page). Systems requirements are available here.
More information on the Windows Server 2008 download can be found here.
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