Vista and Longhorn Server: Better Together

So hopefully you are all familiar with Windows Vista but what you might not have heard about is the next Windows Server platform which is looming in the background.  This is code-named "Longhorn Server" and is just about to hit Beta 3 with a release to manufacturing RTM next year.

So why are these two products better together?  Well, here's the overview:

  • More Efficient Management
    • Single worldwide servicing model
    • Event forwarding between client and server
    • Faster and more reliable remote OS deployments
    • Network Access Protection ensures health of connecting systems
  • Greater Availability
    • Scalable print servers with client-side rendering 
    • Seamless offline experience with client side caching
    • Policy-based Quality of Service to prioritize application bandwidth
  • Faster Communications
    • Fast enterprise class search on clients and servers
    • Faster networking with new TCP/IP stack and native IPV6
    • Improved file-sharing performance over high-latency links
    • Seamless remote access to internal applications and resources

Client-side Caching

I was in a partner meeting last week and one of the topics that came up was the synchronisation of files in Windows Vista.  The guys were asking about whether synchronisation in Vista was going to be like the sync in Outlook - i.e. completely transparent and item by item and also whether the system would tailor the sync based on slow bandwidth connections.  Here are some points on client-side caching in Longhorn Server and Vista that answers their questions:

  • Seamless State Transitions
    • No user intervention is required (offline changes are silently synchronised in the background)
  • Fast Synch and Differential Transfers
    • All types of files are supported (bitmap differential transfers enables transfer of only modified data between client and server)
  • Improved Slow Link Mode
    • Detection has been improved, and the user can stay in this mode (all requests are satisfied from the cache) until they wish to force a transition to online mode)
  • Uniform Namespace
    • For all directories that are enumerated online, all un-cached or partially cached files are ghosted (visible but no accessible)
  • Cache Encryption
    • Files can be encrypted in the local cache using the user's encryption key
  • Scriptable API's
    • A comprehensive Programming Reference Guide will be available with Windows Vista/Longhorn RTM


Some interesting facts on Longhorn Server

  • 70% shared codebase between Vista and Server - after Vista Beta 2, each OS branched off in their different directions.
  • Should vulnerabilities be found in Windows Vista, updates made to the codebase will be incorporated into the Longhorn codebase in realtime so the product is secure by default when launched
  • Longhorn RTM next year - just about to hit Beta 3
  • Subscribe to multiple event logs on multiple machines from Vista or longhorn
  • NAP will be built in to Vista and XP will have an add-on - but Vista has more advanced features


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