After more than 3 years of hard work and with over 5000 people working full time on it, Windows Server 2008 was finally released to manufacturing (RTM) today and will be available for purchase to new customers on March 1, 2008. ISO images can already be downloaded from the Microsoft Connect Site, and from the MSDN Download Center.
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 is the most advanced Windows Server operating system yet, designed to power the next-generation of networks, applications, and Web services. Windows Server 2008 builds on the success and strengths of its Windows Server predecessors while delivering valuable new functionality and powerful improvements to the base operating system.
With new Web tools, virtualization technologies, security enhancements, and management utilities help save time, reduce costs, and provide a solid foundation for your IT infrastructure. Here are some of the highlights of Windows Server 2008, as described on the product page:
Built for the Web – Windows Server 2008 comes with Internet Information Services 7.0 (IIS7), a Web server and security-enhanced, easy-to-manage platform for developing and reliably hosting Web applications and services.
Virtualization Built In – Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V, the next-generation hypervisor-based server virtualization technology, allows you to make the best use of your server hardware investments by consolidating multiple server roles as separate virtual machines running on a single physical machine. You can also efficiently run multiple operating systems—Windows, Linux and others—in parallel on a single server.
Application Virtualization – Applications can be efficiently virtualized using Windows Server 2008 centralized application access technologies. Terminal Services Gateway and Terminal Services RemoteApp allow easy remote access to standard Windows-based programs from anywhere by running them on a terminal server instead of directly on a client computer—without the need for a complicated VPN.
Security – Windows Server 2008 is the most secure Windows Server yet. The operating system has been hardened to protect against failure and several new technologies help prevent unauthorized connections to your networks, servers, data, and user accounts. Network Access Protection (NAP) helps ensure that computers that try to connect to your network comply with your organization’s security policy.
A Solid Foundation for Your Business Workloads – Windows Server 2008 provides a solid foundation for all of your server workload and application requirements while being easy to deploy and manage. With features such as the all-new Server Manager, PowerShell, Windows Deployment Services and Windows Server 2008 Failover Clustering, full IPv6 support plus consolidated management of Network Load Balancing, make management, configuration and high availability easy to implement.
Server Core – A new installation option of Windows Server 2008 allows for installation of server roles with only the necessary components and subsystems without a graphical user interface.