What’s New in Server 2008 R2

What’s New in Server 2008 R2

Windows Server 2008 has been available in release since the May 2008 timeframe (according to the Microsoft Lifecycle page for Server 2008) and service pack 2 released in April of 2009.

Around the same time of the release of service pack 2, the Windows Server 2008 R2 (Release Candidate) was been made available for download to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, and the availability of public downloads came out a few days after that.

Today I’m going to review some of the important details of Server 2008 R2 and in my next article I’ll do an installation walkthrough.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] – Because Windows Server 2008 R2 is currently in “Release Candidate” status, the details are more formally announced than when the product was in beta.

Having said that, until the product is officially released to manufacturing (RTM), the information is subject to change.

The system requirements for Server 2008 are outlined on the Microsoft website and have not been adjusted with respect to R2 at this point.

If this follows the Release Candidate all the way to RTM the details will be:

• Processor – Minimum: 1.4 GHz (x64 processor)
• Processor – Recommended: 2 GHz or faster (x64 processor)

• Memory – Minimum 512MB

  • Recommended: (x64 systems): 2 GB or more
  • Maximum (x64 systems): 32 GB (Standard)
  • Maximum (x64 systems): 2 TB (Enterprise, Datacenter, and Itanium-Based Systems)

• Disk Space Requirements

  • Minimum: 20 GB or greater
  • Recommended: 40 GB or greater

• Display – Super VGA (800 × 600) or higher resolution monitor

The main point to remember is that you need to discard all of the presented x86 information as R2 will be released in x64 editions only.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] – These are the minimum system requirements to run Windows Server 2008 as a based installation and in a minimum supported state.

Your actual needed and recommended minimum requirements will vary based on system configuration and role designation of the server. As one example, processor requirements specifically needed to manage expected performance load are dependent upon not only the clock frequency of the processor, but the number of cores and the size of the processor cache as well as the number of physical processors present.

Additionally, disk space requirements for the system partition are approximate and do not take into consideration the role of the system and the amount of memory installed (which affects the needed available disk space for paging, hibernation, dump files and so forth).

When you are installing Windows Server 2008 proper, you are not required to deal with product activation or entering a product key for an initial 60 days under the license terms for evaluation.

Under those same terms, the 60 day evaluation period can be reset a total of three times, extending the original 60 day evaluation period by up to 180 days for a total of 240 days. At that time you would need to uninstall the software or go through the product activation process which would require a valid product key.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] – If you are in a situation where you need to automate the extension of the evaluation period, there is a knowledge base article titled: How to extend the Windows Server 2008 evaluation period that details these steps.

The release notes for the RC indicate “Evaluating this early release of Windows Server 2008 R2 software does not require product activation or entering a product key. This release of Windows Server 2008 R2 may be installed without activation and evaluated for an initial 60 days.”

Expected Changes under Windows Server 2008 R2

There are some expected changes to be found with the release of Server 2008 R2.

While the Server 2008 R2 release is expected to mirror other past R2 releases (in this case building on the original Windows Server 2008) it will be different in one major way in that it is the first 64-bit only Server release.

Server 2008 R2 also has several CPU-specific enhancements, one of which expands CPU support to run systems with up to 256 logical processors installed.

R2 also supports Second Level Translation (SLAT), which enables R2 to take advantage of the Enhanced Page Tables feature found in the latest AMD CPUs as well as the similar Nested Page Tables feature found in Intel’s latest processors.

Changes in Hyper-V allow for access of up to 64 logical CPUs on host computers which can allow for greater virtual machine consolidation ratios per physical server.

Virtual Desktop Integration (VDI) technology is included in R2 which extends the functionality of Terminal Services which allows administrators to install applications remotely and deliver them to end users. Once VDI is configured, programs that Remote Desktop Services sends to a computer are now available on the Start menu right alongside programs that are locally installed.

There are also some improvements to power management as well.

Next Time …

In my next article I will walk you through the actual Server 2008 R2 installation steps in my virtual environment.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and I am looking forward to any feedback you have on it. Additionally, I would welcome any topics of interest that you would like to see and based on demand and column space I’ll do what I can to deliver them to you.

Best of luck in your studies.


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