More on the Windows Server 2008 Launch

Last week I told you I was headed to LA to the launch of Windows Server 2008. Well, I went and got a t-shirt to prove it. Last Wednesday morning, I attended the keynote where Tom Brokaw opened for Steve Ballmer and Microsoft officially announced the launches of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008.

This was the first of Microsoft’s series of launch events called “Heroes Happen Here” that will be traveling the world and introducing these new products to Microsoft developers and IT pros. The events are designed to introduce the new features and enhancements and to showcase third party products and services that are relevant to those who may soon be implementing these new Microsoft offerings.

As Rackspace was a launch partner for Windows Servers 2008, my job was primarily to talk to reporters covering the launch. Unfortunately, that meant that I didn’t get to spend a lot of time attending the many sessions that Microsoft presented on the products. But from the people I spoke to at the event, the sessions were informative and the event was well done overall. I encourage you to attend one if it comes through your town.

In my previous post I told you that IIS 7 was the biggest feature for Rackspace. While that’s definitely still true, even if you ignore IIS, there are plenty of things to talk about with the core operating system itself.

One of the big ones is the forthcoming release of Microsoft’s virtualization hypervisor, called Hyper-V. This should help Microsoft compete nicely with VMWare and Xen, and give IT shops a real choice when it comes to virtualizing their data center. Competition should be a good thing in this area as it will drive innovation and push down the costs of virtualization. Microsoft promises to release Hyper-V within 180 days of the launch of Windows Server 2008.

Another cool new feature is Windows Powershell. Powershell is a new command-line shell and scripting language designed to bring the true power of the command line to Windows system admins. In the past, automating tasks in Windows has not always been the simplest thing to do. Some settings were only accessible through the GUI or through unsupported hacks. Powershell aims to change that and expose many of the internals of Windows and common Microsoft apps to being scripted and automated. Definitely check it out.

There are a ton of new features and I certainly won’t do them all justice here. Go check out Microsoft’s resources on Windows Server 2008 for a full rundown.

My take on Windows Server 2008 is that it will likely be regarded as Microsoft’s best release of Windows ever. While Vista has been heavily dumped on since its release, I think Server 2008 will be the exact opposite. I read an article by a blogger who was of the opinion that Server 2008 was so good, that Microsoft just should strip it down and release it as a desktop operating system sort of like the workstation editions of NT in the past. I tend to agree.

John Engates joined Rackspace in August 2000, just a year after the company was founded, as Vice President of Operations, managing the datacenter operations and customer-service teams. Two years later, when Rackspace decided to add new services for larger enterprise customers, John created and helped develop the Intensive Hosting business unit. Most recently, John has played an active role in the evolution and evangelism of Rackspace's cloud-computing strategy and cloud products. John meets frequently with customers to hear about their needs and concerns, and to discuss Rackspace's vision for the future of cloud computing. John currently serves as Chief Technology Officer. John is also an internationally recognized cloud computing expert and a sought-after speaker at technology conferences, including CA World, the Goldman Sachs Techtonics Conference and Cloud Expo. He speaks on the future of cloud computing, enterprise cloud adoption, data center efficiency, green data center best practices, and more. Prior to joining Rackspace, John was a founder and General Manager at Internet Direct, one of the original Internet service providers in Texas. John is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and holds a B.B.A. in Accounting.


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