I’m a geek.  I admit it.   It’s too late for me.

So for fun on a Sunday I’m installing a Beta copy of Server 2008 R2.   Yeah, I’m twisted. 


Because a “little bird” that shall remain nameless mentioned one phrase to me.

“……Hyper-V…Version 2……If you add the role……they will deploy……”

Well no, it wasn’t like THAT but I WAS itching to see the install of this new O/S.

First off, install is still a lot like Server 2008, Vista and Windows 7.  No real change in that aspect.  Nor should there have been

First boot up after install, you still get the stock “Checklist” from Server 2008, set time Zone, machine name.

Blah blah blah….

Now for the fun stuff…. I’m going to add my server roles and…


Well folks, a small change up.  Server 2008 R2 is in the Windows 7 family.   Look on that new bottom Taskbar.   Your most commonly accessed apps in a server, “Server Manager”, “Libraries” and “Powershell”

So if you look on your lower taskbar on the left hand site you’ll find “Server Mana….”

I hear a gasp.


Well no, not exactly.  It’s “Powershell V2”.  Yes “Powershell” is now a stock installed component of the Server operating system.  If you’re absolutely gaga for Legacy, “CMD.EXE” is still there.   But “Powershell” is now your Shell of choice.

So back to our new desktop.  Yeah it looks a lot like Windows 7 mixed with Server 2008.   Clean, professional.   Ready to take on the world.

So how did they improve on an already solid and robust operating system?  What’s different?

For one thing.  No 32bit version.  Gone.  No more legacy.  Go forward with the future.  I don’t know if that means no support for 32bits applications or drivers but Microsoft from this version (Much like Small Business Server 2008) will not be maintain two separate code structures.  In the long term THIS is a lot better.   No digging and downloading for the 64bit or the 32version of the application or Framework package for the server.  Just one download.   Done.  One update.  Done.  One level of regression testing on your servers.  DONE.

Life gets simpler on a better level.

What else is in this mix? 

Well as mentioned, the next version of Powershell is a stock installed component along with a much better support of Active Directory.   You no longer have to add in Quest software’s Active Directory command lets to properly manipulate Active Directory with Powershell.  I do believe you still CAN but I like keeping the server as stock and clean as possible.   I always have in the back of my head, “If this crashes and I have to re-install, I want to tweak and fiddle as little as possible to have it running again.”  Plus the new Powershell comes with an editor built in for testing the scripts.  You can STILL get other great editor Editors like PowershellPlus and PowerGUI.   But again, you’ve got something provided that’s a little beefier than “NOTEPAD.EXE”

Not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with using “NOTEPAD.EXE”.   It’s simple and it works.

There’s a new implementation of “Hyper-V” in the box.   Microsoft’s rock SOLID Virtualization solution.   And although “Hyper-V” performs fantastically and doesn’t have any real things I would or could complain about; there are some things it really does need.

Presently you have “Quick Migration” with the aid of Systems Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 allows you to quickly swap a Virtual Machine to an alternate server.

But if you get a dead host server in the mix?  Well with clustering the guests will fire up but from a cold start.


Lights!  Action!


Yes! Just like a SQL 2008 Server clustered up, Server 2008 R2 with the NEW IMPROVED BEEFED UP Hyper-V can keep the GUEST operating systems live in a clustered setup.   Introducing new “Clustered Shared Volumes” you can now keep the operating system state LIVE even if you pull the host power plug (as long as you’ve of course setup a proper cluster in the FIRST place with appropriate hardware)

And much like setting up a Clustered SQL 2008 server, Microsoft has included a BPA (Best Practices Analyzer) to MAKE SURE you set it up right BEFORE you go into production!

And Presentation Virtualization (Formerly Terminal Server) has kicked it up a notch. (Well a FEW notches!)

A Remote Desktop session is so CLOSE to the physical at this point, you can keep all you 512 meg workstations and just connect them to a terminal session.  EVEN WITH MULTIPLE MONITORS!

Yes!  The new Presentation Virtualization can handle Multiple Monitors, Audio Recording and even EXTENDS THE AERO DESKTOP!

You no longer have any excuse for running an office of HighEnd workstations.  Beef up security and redundancy on a solid clustered setup in the backend!  Put the money where it belongs!  No longer do you need to have an office full of 160 gig hard drives using 10 gig of space!  Go thin clients!  Even with Dual Displays!

I could go on and on about the other features tapped into Server 2008 R2 like a new Recycle Bin in Active Directory (Forget pulling out that backup tape and going offline to recover a node, just UNDO IT!) or the better use of Power on the CPU level.   Ignore the fact that you can remotely Administer other servers using Powershell V2 scripts (especially repetitive tasks) or the fact you can standardize with those scripts and pass off some administration to Junior techs securely!


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