Upsetting the Management Applecart with Windows Server 8

Frank Ohlhorst

With much fanfare, Microsoft has started to release information on its forthcoming Windows Server 8 operating system. Although, a release date has not been officially published, Windows Server 8 will certainly cause change in the market.

It's in the fact that Windows Server 8 is revolutionary and not so much evolutionary. In other words, Microsoft's next operating system is sure to put into motion changes to many CTOs' plans. Microsoft has strengthened its focus on both quality and ease-of-use as a primary theme for Windows Server 8. That is not to say that there aren't other changes forthcoming, but ease-of-use plays a big role in the redesign of server operating systems.

Of course, there are enhancements to technologies such as Hyper-V, storage, management and networking-and some are quite significant. That is where Windows Server 8 will affect CTOs the most if they are looking to modify three- and five-year plans for their IT departments. What's more, many of the enhancements found in Windows Server 8 may lead to the extinction of other technologies. Simply put, Microsoft has incorporated new and advanced features that can effectively replace third-party tools.

First on the list is management. Microsoft is promoting its Windows Server Manager as the ultimate method to manage multiple Windows servers. Management now takes place from a client device, instead of directly on the server, making servers more dedicated to the process of being servers. One key advantage of this approach is that multiple servers can be managed concurrently from a single administrative client PC. Potentially, the new Windows Server Manager technology could eliminate the need for scores of third-party management tools that are currently on the market.

Storage is another area that will be greatly affected by new capabilities offered in Windows Server 8. Microsoft has built storage virtualization directly into the Windows Server 8 operating system, which allows administrators to abstract storage into a common access paradigm. Adding a virtulization layer to storage has been a trick that administrators have used for some time-it brings simplicity to access, as well as making it easier to back up data and audit content.

Changes in virtualization will result in a much more robust Hyper-V, perhaps offering a credible challenge to market leader VMware-something else that could affect planning. The list of enhancements, changes and improvements goes on. It all comes down to a wait and see approach, where IT planners are going to have to wait and see how Windows Server 8 will affect their IT infrastructures and plan accordingly. Nonetheless, if you have any plans around storage virtualization, wide area network optimization, virtualization, cloud computing and management-perhaps you should see what Windows Server 8 has to offer before moving ahead.

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Oct 16, 2011 6:10 PM Home Server Guy Home Server Guy  says:
I've been using Server 2008 R2 as an experiment in my home. It is more robust than WHS, and offers so much more, but at a huge price in management time. I believe that the home market is growing and hope that the next iteration of Windows Server provides a version that is simpler to operate while still being robust. The basic uses I've been thinking of are outlined at Reply

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