As we get closer to the public beta of Longhorn, it might be a good time for me to start talking about it.
I've got a ton of good Longhorn information in a Groove workspace on my laptop. They chap behind that is visiting Europe – I'm spending a most of next week with him, but if you are a Technet subscriber he is presenting THIS THURSDAY EVENING at the Institute of Directors Hub, London EC2M 1NH If you want to go don't hang about, Register for the event now . Yes I know it's short notice.
Over the next few weeks I'll drill into some of the areas below but here is a very high level (and non-exhaustive) view.
There are 3 "Pillars" to the work we're trying to do - most of the improvements fit into one of these:
- Improving control over your server and network infrastructure. Which means less firefighting and more focus on business needs.
- Protection for your environment; Continuing the process of Hardening the operating system, to provide a solid foundation on which you can run and build your business
- Providing the flexibility to create an agile and dynamic datacentre to meet your changing business needs.
The changes are concentrated in 7 technical areas.
Anywhere application access; we have a Gateway to provide access to Terminal Services from outside the corporate network without the need for a VPN. Terminal services can now make individual applications available rather than a whole desktop.
Sometimes it's useful to fit Terminal Services into a broader virtualization picture; it virtualizes the presentation of applications. Softgrid virtualizes the whole environment applications run in. And then we can virtualize either the Desktop PC (with Virtual PC) or the Server – which brings us to
Windows Server Virtualization : I'm already meeting people who think less about "Servers" – as physical boxes, more "workloads" – the services they provide. In a "lights out" data centre it doesn't matter much if the server is physical or virtual, you manage it in the same way, but consolidating to fewer boxes saves cost. It's easy to put virtual servers (workloads) on different machines, either to bring new services on line or for resilience
High availability is another theme – we'll see greater use of clustering with Longhorn
Branch office Scenarios – this builds on the work we've done with Windows server 2003 R2, and includes things like the Read-only domain controller and the Bit-Locker technology from Vista to help with sites where the server may not be physically as secure. Changes to the TCP/IP stack allow servers to get much better throughput on WAN links.
Security and Policy enforcement – The Windows Vista client already has the support for Network Access Protection (NAP) Longhorn provides the server side. We have Auditing for Active directory and some improvements to the PKI and Rights Management Services
Web and applications Platform – we've made it easier to develop and especially deploy web applications
Server Management Power shell is now part of the OS, but a lot of the GUI tools have been rewritten. We have a new installation choice "server core" which pares the OS down to the absolute minimum - No GUI shell, minimal services etc.
Update. Thanks to Stephen spence for pointing out I had the wrong registration link.