With Windows Server 2008, Microsoft introduced the most important changes regarding administration. The role model and the new Server Manager were the main changes. Also in Windows Server 2008, R2 componentization is a bit more fine-grained and Server Manager supports remote administration. Other highlights are the new power management features, the PowerShell support for Server Core, and DHCP Failover.

Management tools ^

windows-server-2008-r2-server-manager

  • Server Manager now supports remote administration of servers
  • Better integration of management consoles in Server Manager
  • Active Directory Administrative Center and IIS have a task-driven user interface and their administrative capabilities are based on PowerShell cmdlets
  • Hyper-V’s user interface is also based on PowerShell cmdlets, has updated VM performance and management capabilities, and tighter integration with Virtual Machine Manager  windows-server-2008-r2-bpa
  • Best Practices Analyzer (BPA): Each server role has a BPA to help administrators configure it properly

PowerShell 2.0 ^

Windows Server 2008 R2 will be delivered with PowerShell 2.0. I believe the main features are:

  • PowerShell remoting: Run scripts against remote computers
  • Constrained Runspaces: Restrict execution of commands, scripts, and language elements
  • Graphical PowerShell: GUI for creating and debugging PowerShell scripts
  • Server Core supports .NET and PowerShell

Of course, there also many language-specific enhancements and other new features, but since PowerShell 2.0 will also be available for other platforms, I don’t want to go into the details here. More information about PowerShell 2.0 can be found here and here.

IP Configuration ^

  • DHCP Failover: Allows you to work with a primary and a secondary DHCP server. If the primary DHCP server fails, the secondary will take over. Windows Server 2008 R2 supports the DHCP Failover Protocol, which is an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) draft.
  • WINS Failover: Works similar to the DHCP failover
  • DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC): DNS servers and DNS clients can verify the authenticity of a DNS record using public key cryptography. This method can prevent the interception of DNS queries.

Power management ^

  • Core Parking: Suspends inactive processor cores and activates them again when necessary.
  • ACPI “P-States”: Allows you to configure the performance states (ACPI specification) of individual processors via Group Policy. Lower performance means lower power consumption. Intel calls this feature SpeedStep and AMD PowerNow! or Cool'n'Quiet.
  • Boot from SAN: Windows Server 2008 R2 supports the ability to boot-up from a SAN (Storage Area Network). Thus, the server doesn’t require a local hard disk, which reduces the overall number of disks in the data center, thereby lowering power consumption. SANs require less power than local hard disks with the same storage capacity.
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