Windows Server 2008
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For those who want a modern server but don’t want to pay too much for all the latest features, the best option out there is to choose from one of the Windows Servers from the 2008 or 2008 R2 edition. Beyond Windows Server 2008, it’s tough to go back any further and get the kind of performance businesses expect from a server. These servers will provide the type of tools, security, and user experience that companies need.
If you aren’t looking for a server that has all the latest fancy features and the accompanying fancy price, if you want a server that can do the basics and do them well in a stable and easy-to-navigate environment, then consider getting a version of the Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.
The First Modern Windows Server Edition
As the introduction above suggested, you can draw a line at Windows Server 2008 and say anything that came before isn’t functional anymore. With 2008, a lot of significant features are brought into Windows Server that remains important today. There’s the Server Core mode, a more comprehensive Active Directory, high availability data, virtualization with Hyper-V, and much more.
While much of that might not sound important (or even make much sense right now), the bottom line is that those are the sorts of tools businesses need to get any modern server experience out of their purchase. That means if you want a server and you don’t mind it having a little age, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 are great investments because they are the first (and second) generation of the modern Windows Server.
Features Found in Windows Server 2008
Some of the most critical elements in Windows Server 2008 were previewed in the above section, but it is essential to outline just how revolutionary these upgrades were and why they are necessary for those looking to purchase a new server.
The Windows Vista Kernel
While it was controversial in its day, Windows Vista can be looked back on as a very successful Windows OS. It’s the basis for the Windows Server 2008 user experience. And since we have all worked with Vista at some point in our lives, it’s easy for users to get back into the swing of it with this server.
A Stripped-Down Installation with Server Core
One of the more useful features that come with Windows Server 2008 is the ability to install the server without the graphic user interface, in what is called Server Core. This is a command-run version of the server that is faster and more secure than the main server version.
More Powerful Administration with Active Directory
One of the ways Windows Server 2008 distinguishes itself from what came before is the more comprehensive and advanced role Active Directory takes for server administration. It’s a trend that has continued through every new edition since. Active Directory in 2008 has expanded to include rights management, identity and much more.
High Availability with Failover Clustering
There’s no point in having a server if the features users need aren’t always available. With the introduction of failover clustering, Windows Server 2008 can provide high availability for apps and services.
Less File Corruption with Self-Healing NTFS
The NTFS file system proved to have corruption issues, and later servers moved away from it entirely, but Windows Server 2008 does enough to keep files stable by using an upgraded version of the file system that avoids most of the problems.
The last major game-changing feature found on Windows Server 2008 is the inclusion of virtual machines with Hyper-V. This has become one of the most critical aspects of server use in recent years, and it’s a must for every business.
The Windows Server 2008 R2 Edition and Its New Features
For those who are looking to get just a little more from their server, it’s possible to get the next upgrade with Windows Server 2008 R2. It includes all the original 2008 features but adds some more.
The Windows 7 Kernel
Perhaps most prominently, the R2 edition is built off of the more popular and still widely used Windows 7 operating system. This is often much preferred over Vista in the original 2008 edition.
The Recycle Bin
For the first time, administrators can take advantage of a recycle bin for deleted objects. Now, every deletion can be reviewed to make sure no mistakes were made.
Best Practice Analyzer
Add some automation to your server use with Best Practice Analyzer, which scans the system to make sure you are getting the most from all your functions.
Far More Advanced Virtualization Capabilities
Windows Server 2008 R2 includes more than just the basics of Hyper-V virtualization. There are also newer features like Live Migration, which allow you to move your virtual machines between hosts with no downtime or disconnects.
The Different Versions of Windows Server 2008
While later editions of Windows Server would slim down the server options quite a bit, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 come with a lot of options. To help navigate your choice, here are some brief synopses of the most popular versions available.
Small Business Server
Small Business Server is a separate server type that would in later editions be drawn into the Windows Server family directly with the Essentials version. It is a slimmed down version of the server with reduced high-end capabilities exchanged for programs that improve communication and collaboration for small businesses. It also reduces the workload on the management end so that tech novices can run it.
It has its own set of the version in 2008 that range regarding capabilities and expense. Standard has all the basic server features, while the Premium server is a SQL server that can be added on for more advanced capabilities.
The basic version of Windows Server 2008. It has the essential features but lacks most of the higher end capabilities. It is designed for use for most businesses, especially those that aren’t looking for more complex server use.
The middle ground version of Windows Server 2008. It has more memory and some advanced features, but it is still limited on the high end.
The top-of-the-line model in this edition of Windows Server. It comes with absolutely everything. The best you can get for 2008 and 2008 R2.