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Top 11 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows Server 2008

Powerful new tools, like Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0, virtualization (Hyper-V) and Server Manager, provide more control over your server for streamline Web, configuration and management tasks.

Advanced security and reliability enhancements, such as Network Access Protection and the Read-Only Domain Controller, harden the operating system and help protect the server environment to ensure a solid foundation on which to build businesses.

1) Hyper-V – Server Consolidation and Resource Optimization

Most servers will operate at far below their capactities, leaving as much as 80 to 90 percent of their processing power unused. With Hyper-V, the Windows Server 2008 virtualization solution, a single physical server can host the workloads of multiple virtual servers. New management tools simplify the deployment process and allow you to manage virtual servers with ease. Hyper-V helps organizations to acheive optimal use of their hardware resources at the lowest cost possible.

2) TS RemoteApp – Flexible Application Access for Remote Users

Windows Server 2008 provides improvements and innovations to Terminal Services with solutions, like Terminal Services RemoteApp (TS RemoteApp), that allow users to access individual applications, instead of a computer desktop in a Terminal Server session. These applications run on the host computer and send only the application windows to the user, requiring fewer resources on the client side, and reducing administration and deployment costs.

3) Server Core – Modular, Minimal Installation

If you do not require a certain feature of Server 2008, why have it run and take up system resources with the risk of it causing problems for other mission critical applications? Many network servers perform specific dedicated and mission-critical roles within the network. The new Server Core installation option provides a minimal environment for running specific server roles. This helps improve reliability and efficiency, giving the IT department the ability to better utilize existing hardware. It also simplifies ongoing administration and patch management requirements by reducing the need to update unneeded files and functionality.

For network servers that perform specific network infrastructure roles, the new Server Core installation option offers a highly reliable and efficient platform. Because Server Core loads the fewest operating system components required to run core infrastructure roles, patch requirements are reduced. This provides higher reliability and security for core network infrastructure roles.

4) IIS 7.0 – Delivering Rich Web Content and Applications

The long awaited release of IIS 7.0 is finally here! Improved stability, security, and ease of management makes this a key feature in server 2008. As Web content gets richer and the Web becomes a viable platform for delivering business applications, the Web server is moving to the center of many networks. IIS 7.0 delivers solutions for today’s demanding content, including streaming media and Web applications in Active Server Pages and PHP. With an updated interface that makes administration easier, the new modular design of IIS 7.0 enables administrators to minimize the attack surface of the Web server by installing only the needed components.

5) New TCP/IP Stack – Improved Network Performance and Control

The efficient use of bandwidth has a direct impact on the productivity of users working in remote locations that rely on WAN connections to the organization’s central servers. The redesigned “next generation” TCP/IP included in Windows Server 2008 provides vastly improved performance in a remote location scenario, offering faster throughput and more efficient routing of network traffic. Using the combination of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista in a branch office scenario can provide as much as a threefold improvement in throughput over the WAN connection!

6) NAP – Preventing Unhealthy Devices from Connecting to the Network

With the increasing number of mobile users and corporate partners that must connect to an organization’s network from remote locations, protecting the security of that network from outside threats is an ongoing challenge. Network Access Protection (NAP) in Windows Server 2008 helps prevent non-compliant computers from accessing an organization’s network. NAP can verify the health of connecting computers and enforce compliance with an organization’s security standards. This vastly increases security for your server as many times, virus or trojan infections may not originate from the server itself, but from connecting users with weak security enforcements.

7) High Availability Features – Supporting Business Continuity for Demanding Workloads

Windows Server 2008 provides increased scalability for the most demanding business solutions and helps keep businesses operating through unplanned downtime with high availability features. With support for failover clusters, Network Load Balancing, dynamic hardware partitioning, robust storage options, and advanced machine-check architecture, Windows Server 2008 helps safeguard against single-point-of-failure problems. Simplified deployment and management help organizations of all sizes take advantage of these features to improve availability and reliability.

8) Active Directory Federated Rights Management – Enabling Secure Collaboration

Companies need to share information with partners and clients without losing control over that information. Rights Management Services enables organizations to control how documents are used—including who can view them, whether they can be printed, even whether they can be forwarded or deleted—both internally and externally. This is a crucial for environments where multiple remote users have access to the server and share files between each other. Increasing security and decreasing risks of unauthorized access to sensitive documents makes this a great feature for offices needing secure ways to transfer documents between clients.

9) Server Manager and PowerShell – Easing Administration, Management, and Automation

The Server Manager Console provides a single, unified console for managing a server’s configuration and system information, displaying server status, identifying problems with server role configuration, and managing all roles installed on the server. Built on the Service Modeling Language (SML) platform, Server Manager allows administrators to complete tasks with fewer clicks without having to navigate between multiple tools and interfaces. Server Manager also interfaces directly with PowerShell, the command-line shell and scripting language for automation. All Server Manager functions that can be used in the interface are available to PowerShell scripts. The interface even helps write those scripts, showing administrators exactly what commands are behind each button and control, and allowing administrators to record actions in the UI and save a script based off of those actions. Having the ability to perform any task via script that you would normally do through connecting to server, will vastly increase production and system management, while decreasing cost of IT support.

10) Enabling Top-Shelf Service and Support for Remote Sites

Remote sites, such as branch offices, can be an IT challenge. Often, there is no local IT staff, making the deployment of software and security updates expensive and time-consuming. It can be difficult to enforce security and IP standards in a remote site. Windows Server 2008 enables remote management that’s almost as good as being physically located onsite, allowing administrators to correct many problems using remote management. The new Read-Only Domain Controller provides a safer way to provide Active Domain administration in the remote infrastructure.

11) Connecting Heterogeneous Environments

Windows Server 2008 includes Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications (SUA), a multi-user UNIX environment that supports more than 300 UNIX commands, utilities, and shell scripts. Users can maintain one user name and password for Windows domains and UNIX systems, synchronizing the credentials automatically when one changes. SUA runs on Windows-based servers without any emulation, providing for native UNIX performance and enabling UNIX applications to leverage Windows APIs and components.

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