With all the hype over the release of Windows 7 Release Candidate today, one of the things that is getting over looked is the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 RC (man that is a mouth full!) got release as well.
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 will be the next version of the Windows Server operating system from Microsoft. Building on the features and capabilities of the current Windows Server 2008 release version, Windows Server 2008 R2 allows you to create organization solutions that are easier to plan, deploy, and manage than previous versions of Windows Server.
Developing upon the increased security, reliability, and performance provided by Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 extends connectivity and control to local and remote resources. This means your organizations can benefit from reduced costs and increased efficiencies gained through enhanced management and control over resources across the enterprise.
While there are many great features in the next release of Windows Server 2008. Three stand out in my mind as the reason organizations will look to adopt.
Virtualization is a major part of today’s data centers. The operating efficiencies offered by virtualization allow organizations to dramatically reduce operational effort and power consumption. Windows Server 2008 R2 provides the following virtualization types: Client and Server virtualization provided by Hyper-V and Presentation virtualization with Remote Desktop Services. Hyper-V virtualizes the system resources of a physical computer allowing you to provide a virtualized environment for operating systems and applications. Remote Desktop Services (formally known as Terminal Services) virtualizes a processing environment and isolates the processing from the graphics and I/O, making it possible to run an application in one location but have it be controlled in another. Presentation virtualization allows users to run a single application, or a complete desktop offering multiple applications. With the next release we add LiveMigration, the ability to move a running VM from one node to another with no application downtime.
BranchCache in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 helps increase network responsiveness of applications, giving users in remote offices an experience more like working in the head office. When accessing content stored on Windows Server 2008 R2, users in a branch office don't need to wait as long to download files from headquarters. When IT enables BranchCache, a copy of data accessed from an intranet web site or a file server is cached locally within the branch office. When another user on the same network requests the file, the user gets access to the content almost immediately as it is downloaded from the local cache rather than over a limited bandwidth connection back to headquarters.
One common problem facing most organizations is remote connectivity for their mobile users. One of the most widely used solutions for connecting remote users is a virtual private network (VPN) connection. Depending on the type of VPN, users may need to install VPN client software on their mobile computer and then establish the VPN connection over the Internet. The DirectAccess feature in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 allows Windows 7 client computers to directly connect to intranet-based resources without the complexity of establishing a VPN connection. The user has the same connectivity experience both in and outside of the office. The following figure contrasts the current VPN-based solutions with the DirectAccess solution.