Windows Server 2008, A Rescuer For Vista?

Windows Server 2008This guest post was submitted by Patrick from Piggy Bank Pie.

Microsoft is releasing Windows Server 2008 on February 27th, and it seems like the IT community has high expectations as this version introduces many new features. However, Microsoft had high hopes in Vista, its latest desktop operating system, but IT managers have yet to respond, leaving XP master in command on corporate networks. But the software giant may be hiding a secret card in its deck. Could a client-server configuration between Vista and Windows Server 2008 revive the wow factor and rescue Vista’s sinking ship?

Another Reality

Home users cannot be compared to enterprise users when evaluating desktop upgrades. When a company reaches a high level of stability on its network, it takes a serious business case to move away from a stable platform to an unproven system. Right now, Windows XP offers a reliable solution and requires much less processing power than Vista.

Another sad reality is that many large corporations have not yet completed their migration to… XP. This places Vista in an uncomfortable position towards IT managers. Many of them may hold off on a migration plan, stepping over this release and sitting on XP until the next OS release.

The Combo

Using Vista and Windows Server 2008 in a client-server environment will enable features not available to other combinations. Let’s dig into some of the enhancements of this configuration to evaluate if the combo is worth deploying.

Event Forwarding: Vista computers will have the capability to monitor specific events (in event viewer), and forward them to Windows Server 2008 allowing administrators to consult alerts in a centralized location.

Searches: When searching files or other resources hosted on W2K8, Vista transfers the search query to the server where it is processed locally. Once completed, the result is sent back to the client workstation.

Print Rendering: Vista computers can free up Windows 2008 print servers by rendering print jobs locally, sending only the raw file format to print servers.

Offline Files: Vista will cache offline files locally providing access to resources when the server is offline. A synchronization process takes care of copying the files back once the client and server are reconnected.

NAP: Network Access Protection increases security by ensuring Vista computers connecting to the network are compliant with predefined security rules. If not, network resources would not be accessible.

Terminal Services: Remote Desktop Protocol goes a step further towards Citrix MetaFrame ICA. Vista and Windows Server 2008 will simplify remote access from an Internet Connection by providing connectivity through an HTTP gateway, much like Citrix Secure Gateway. Also, the new RDP client offers seamless applications that run as if on the local desktop.

Microsoft promises more enhancements to the client-server duo such as faster connectivity, more advanced Group Policies, native IPv6, and also easier deployment.

A Rescuer?

From an IT perspective, Windows Server 2008 will provide many new features such as Hyper-V, Read-Only Domain Controllers, built-in Windows PowerShell, IIS7 and much more. I believe that organizations will not hesitate to deploy W2K8 because servers have usually less impacts than client workstations on network users. However, Win2008 will not be the awaited rescuer for Windows Vista. The technology behind XP provides enough functionality for business requirements and the client-server combo does not offer enough incentives to justify the hardware, software and manpower investment needed for a massive deployment.

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5 Responses to Windows Server 2008, A Rescuer For Vista?

  1. Patrick I agree that Windows Server 2008 will be an easier deployment consideration within corporations, and as such, it will mark the beginning of the true value add that the deployment of Vista requires.

    Other points to consider are:

    1) Improved performance, and reduction in price, of both desktop and laptop computers, allowing the true potential of Vista to be realized.

    2) The reluctance factor will reduce over time. In fact as I have used Vista for most of 2007 Vista User Access Control (UAC) has gone from “arch-enemy” to “my new best friend”, and the negativity of UAC within the press will be replaced by the view of necessity in this every increasing hostile networked world.

    3) Increased acceptance of the new user interface. I believe that Microsoft in changing the user interface for Vista shot themselves in the foot. This also holds true for Office 2007. Within corporate environments people setup their machines so they are as productive as possible, and the steps required performing any task become routine. In changing the user interface users regress to newbies and frustrations and negativity arise as a result. Having used both for most of last year, there are still times when I know what I want to do, and I know the exact steps required in the old interface, but I just can’t find where it has been moved to. It makes one want to rip the screen off! As time progresses power users will be the champions of the increased acceptance here – there will be someone around who can help. Also internal support desks will actually be able to provide the necessary support required to facilitate this, after all, geeks being geeks they will have built up their expertise.

    4) Vista will be the 64 bit Windows OS of choice. As prices fall and machines with 6/16/32/64 GM of RAM become the norm, we will need true 64 bit capabilities to squeeze the most out of it.

    5) With the “soon to be released” Vista Service Pack, the main psychological hurdle of Vista deployment will be removed (“We won’t use a dot 0 release – let’s wait for the dot 1 release”).

    6) And lastly, Microsoft will cease support and maintenance of Windows XP, although admittedly they will have a tough time in this. Although I believe that XP will have the longest active life to date, if it is not there already.

    There will never be a complete shift from XP to Vista overnight, as we have seen, but rather a happy co-existence which will increase in Vista’s favor as time marches on.

    It is very rare that a company is thwarted by its own success.

  2. Patrick I agree that Windows Server 2008 will be an easier deployment consideration within corporations, and as such, it will mark the beginning of the true value add that the deployment of Vista requires.

    Other points to consider are:

    1) Improved performance, and reduction in price, of both desktop and laptop computers, allowing the true potential of Vista to be realized.

    2) The reluctance factor will reduce over time. In fact as I have used Vista for most of 2007 Vista User Access Control (UAC) has gone from "arch-enemy" to "my new best friend", and the negativity of UAC within the press will be replaced by the view of necessity in this every increasing hostile networked world.

    3) Increased acceptance of the new user interface. I believe that Microsoft in changing the user interface for Vista shot themselves in the foot. This also holds true for Office 2007. Within corporate environments people setup their machines so they are as productive as possible, and the steps required performing any task become routine. In changing the user interface users regress to newbies and frustrations and negativity arise as a result. Having used both for most of last year, there are still times when I know what I want to do, and I know the exact steps required in the old interface, but I just can't find where it has been moved to. It makes one want to rip the screen off! As time progresses power users will be the champions of the increased acceptance here – there will be someone around who can help. Also internal support desks will actually be able to provide the necessary support required to facilitate this, after all, geeks being geeks they will have built up their expertise.

    4) Vista will be the 64 bit Windows OS of choice. As prices fall and machines with 6/16/32/64 GM of RAM become the norm, we will need true 64 bit capabilities to squeeze the most out of it.

    5) With the “soon to be released” Vista Service Pack, the main psychological hurdle of Vista deployment will be removed (“We won’t use a dot 0 release – let’s wait for the dot 1 release”).

    6) And lastly, Microsoft will cease support and maintenance of Windows XP, although admittedly they will have a tough time in this. Although I believe that XP will have the longest active life to date, if it is not there already.

    There will never be a complete shift from XP to Vista overnight, as we have seen, but rather a happy co-existence which will increase in Vista's favor as time marches on.

    It is very rare that a company is thwarted by its own success.

  3. Hi Martyn, thanks for stopping by and commenting on the post.

    Service Pack 1 may give Vista a little help, but no momentum. I remember companies such as Dell who said they would wait until SP1 before implementing Vista internally. Depending on the results of SP1, some companies may slowly go ahead with Vista. But that will depend on a few factors such as:

    1) Will SP1 ease the compatibility with legacy applications (this is a big issue with Vista on corporate networks)?

    2) Will SP1 improve Vista’s overall performance? XP is lightning fast on similar hardware, and rumours are saying that XP SP3 will increase performance by 10%

    I agree that time will help Vista, but as you just said, this is far from being a complete shift such as the ones we saw from NT4/Win2000 to XP.

    Can you believe that I’m currently dealing with clients that are phasing out NT4 Workstations/NT domains to WinXP and Active Directory/Win2003 R2?

    Patrick

  4. Hi Martyn, thanks for stopping by and commenting on the post.

    Service Pack 1 may give Vista a little help, but no momentum. I remember companies such as Dell who said they would wait until SP1 before implementing Vista internally. Depending on the results of SP1, some companies may slowly go ahead with Vista. But that will depend on a few factors such as:

    1) Will SP1 ease the compatibility with legacy applications (this is a big issue with Vista on corporate networks)?

    2) Will SP1 improve Vista's overall performance? XP is lightning fast on similar hardware, and rumours are saying that XP SP3 will increase performance by 10%

    I agree that time will help Vista, but as you just said, this is far from being a complete shift such as the ones we saw from NT4/Win2000 to XP.

    Can you believe that I'm currently dealing with clients that are phasing out NT4 Workstations/NT domains to WinXP and Active Directory/Win2003 R2?

    Patrick

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