Some days ago, I wrote about the 10 most important new features of Windows Server 2008. Today, I just stumbled across a white paper from Microsoft with the title Changes in Functionality from Windows Server 2003 with SP1 to Windows Server Code Name "Longhorn". The word file has 272 pages and goes pretty much into details. Since it was updated at the end of April, it probably is related to Beta 3.
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While skimming over the document, I realized that that Windows 2008 will introduce many new features that were neglected by the media and also by the blogs I've read. I think the situation is quite similar to Windows Vista. Most Journalists only focused on the most prominent features in their reports. Then, Microsoft dropped many of them and everyone was wondering if Vista is really a new OS after all.
If such a big company like Microsoft works more than five years on a new OS, it is quite clear that there must be many changes and new features incorporated. Vista has about 2750 new features. The problem for Microsoft is that Vista doesn't have any "wow features" (my view). This is the reason why the media coverage of Vista is not really positive.
However, it usually is unnecessary that a new OS comes with these "wow features" to be successful. The point is that everyone will find its own killer features among the many tiny changes. If you work with Vista for a while, I am sure you will find your personal must-have-features sooner or later. It seems now, we will be in the same situation with Windows Server 2008.
Unfortunately, parts of Microsoft's white paper discussing many of these new features in Windows Server 2008, often deviates too much from the subject. For example, the chapter about the new features of DNS server explains on about a whole page what DNS is and then continues with features already known from Windows Server 2003 SP1. Thus, if you are stressed Windows admin, you probably won't have the time to read this document. As it is my job to keep myself updated about new technologies, I will most likely read it anyway, and report about the essential parts here.
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If you want to know what Windows 2008 features are important for Bill Gates, you can watch this interview at the WinHEC conference. Skip the first 4 minutes, if you are only interested in the part about Windows 2008.