by May 1, 2009 0 comments

Microsoft released R2 Beta of Windows 2008 Server in April. The new version
has many enhancements including new versions of Hyper-V, IIS and enhanced
support for Windows 7. Here we take a look at some of the new features present
in it.

Virtualization improvements
Hyper-V was one of the most talked about features of Windows 2008. In R2
too, Hyper-V gets a new version. New version of Hyper-V has support for Live
Migration, which allows movement of VMs between two physical server without any
downtime. Live migration utilizes a new feature in R2 Beta called Cluster Shared
Volumes in failover clustering. According to MS, these CSV volumes allow
multiple nodes in a failover cluster to access same Logical unit number at the
same time.

Terminal Services gets a new name in 2008 R2 Beta -Remote Desktop Services (RDS).
In R2 Beta, RDS RemoteApp provides Presentation virtualization which creates a
virtualized environment in which processing of an application can be isolated
from I/O and graphics, and application can be controlled from another location.
In other virtualization improvements, Hyper-V2.0 now have support for 32
processors and also making a comeback in is the hot addition and removal of
Virtual hard disks from Virtual machines. Also new version of Hyper-V has
support for Second Level Address Translation,TCP Offload and Jumbo Frames.

New configuration
editor in IIS7.5 allows users to edit configuration of web application.

A new version of IIS too is shipped with Windows 2008 R2. New version IIS
7.5 comes with many enhancements which aim to make deployment and management of
Web applications easier.It has a PowerShell snap-in which allows administrators
to script most commonly performed management tasks. Also included are IIS-specific
cmdlets which make adding,deleting and modification of sites and applications

Another Enhancement is a Configuration Editor for managing web server as well
as web application settings. Also now users can easily access FastCGI and
ASP.NET applications which were earlier hidden. Another addition is Request
filtering module, which provides filtering features that were earlier present in

R2 Beta uses
dynamic I/O redirection mechanism in which I/O can be rerouted inside the
Failover cluster to provide improved cluster node connectivity.

In addition to this, R2 has a new version of FTP server services which is
integrated with IIS 7.5 administration interface. New FTP server allows users to
define a virtual host name for an FTP site, which means, now you can have
multiple FTP sites on a single IP address.

Management improvements
Now users can boot Windows 2008 R2 directly from a SAN which means you no
longer require local hard disk in every server. This helps in reducing the
overall storage power consumption. R2 Beta can also reduce processor power
consumption by adjusting the ACPI "p-states" of the processors. These "P-states"
can be configured through Active directory Group policy settings. Another new
feature to reduce power consumption is core parking which constantly tracks
workloads processed by every core, and consolidates the workload to a minimum
possible cores and deactivates the inactive cores, thus saving on the
unnecessary power being consumed by the inactive cores. Similarly when suddenly
a workload requires more processing power, it activates the remaining cores.

PowerShell too gets an upgrade in Windows 2008 R2 Beta. The new version
PowerShell 2.0 comes with more than 100 cmdlets. Also shipped is Windows
PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment(ISE) which is a graphical interface
to create and execute scripts.

In 2008 R2, FTP
servers can be accessed from within IIS 7.5 manger interface.
In 2008 R2 Beta,
new version of powershell 7.0 also has a graphical interface through you can
easily edit, create and run scripts.

To improve remote user experience, Windows 2008 R2 comes with a new solution
called DirectAccess, which is also present in windows 7. This feature when
enabled will automatically create a connection with a company’s corporate
network every time a user connects to Internet. This means users will not have
to launch a VPN client and manually connect to their enterprise network, every
time they need to access it. It uses IPSec to authenticate users and encrypt the
communication taking place over the Internet. Also, the directAccess first
authenticates the computer.

BrachCache is designed to improve utilization of WAN links and application
response time at branch offices by caching the most requested content on the
branch office network. This content can be cached on a dedicated BranchCache
server or in smaller networks where a dedicated server cannot be deployed when a
BranchCache sever receives a request for an already requested content, instead
of sending the content again, BranchCahce server will send a set of hash
directions to location of the content on the branch office network.

According to Microsoft, content transferred between clients and cache server
is encrypted. At the moment BranchCache can only work with Windows 2008 R2
server and Windows 7 clients.

Active Directory
Active Directory Administrative center also gets a new look in R2 beta. The
new task oriented interface is based PowerShell cmdlets. Few useful features in
this include a recycle bin for Active directory objects, offline domain join and
feature called Authentication assurance, which helps administraoting in mapping
certificates with security groups.

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