IIS only big add to new Windows Server 2008 beta

Community Technology Preview of 'Longhorn' does not show much new stuff to crow about

The most recent Community Technology Preview, or CTP, of the newly renamed Windows Server 2008 (formerly Windows "Longhorn") was released on June 26 to very little fanfare. That could be because users are asking, "What's new in this release?"

The answer: not a lot, frankly. The Beta 3 milestone toward the end of April was really where Microsoft declared the product feature-complete, meaning any future increments and testing were to ensure that bugs were quashed and that new problems weren't introduced into the product. There has also continued to be some intense performance and reliability testing.

That said, work has continued on a couple of enhancements, which we'll take a look at here.

Serving the Web

June's big announcement was that the new Server Core feature of Windows Server 2008 would support a new role -- running Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0 as a Web server. Essentially, Server Core takes the fundamental support infrastructure and kernel of Windows Server and strips out the rest of the product, including much of the graphical user interface.

Before June, Server Core's roles had been limited to infrastructure and some user services, such as Domain Name System, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, and file and print services.

The inclusion of IIS as a Server Core role has interesting implications for organizations that would like a Web appliance but also want the management features of a machine that's joined to an Active Directory domain. The result is something that's lightweight, robust and more secure than a full operating system install with the associated vulnerabilities that might be lurking under the full operating system's surface. Yet IIS Server Core also allows for group policy and other centralized administrative tools.

Other changes

Other improvements worth mentioning in the June 2007 CTP release include the following:

Secure Sockets Tunneling Protocol. SSTP allows a virtual private network (VPN) to work in certain environments where it ordinarily wouldn't. Take a network address translation (NAT) box or Web proxy server scenario, for example. These devices often aren't configured to allow point-to-point tunneling protocol (PPTP) traffic -- which consists of a TCP connection and then some encapsulated data -- to pass through port 1723.

Some NAT devices can't translate that encapsulated traffic, so a connection can be established. But the meaty part of the data can't actually be passed from source to destination through a NAT. SSTP solves this by using a standard HTTP connection over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). By using HTTP with SSL, you bypass most of the connection issues just mentioned, since HTTPS traffic is almost universally allowed to pass through any edge or network device.

SSTP is also a cheaper solution than a VPN because you don't have as many support calls as connections just work from many Internet-enabled locations, and your users can work from anywhere, making them more productive.

Minor user-interface tweaks, including relabeling references within the software to the old Longhorn code name. This isn't complete, so if you have access to the CTP from the Microsoft Developer Network or another source, don't expect the Longhorn moniker to have been completely eradicated.

Assessing progress

Overall, it looks like Windows Server 2008 is well on track for an on-time finish, which has been reported before to look like this: a release to manufacturing of the gold code sometime at the end of 2007, with general channel availability soon following that. If you're interested in getting the CTP, you'll need to be an MSDN subscriber or be part of the private technical beta.

Jonathan Hassell is an author, consultant and speaker on a variety of IT topics. His published works include RADIUS, Hardening Windows, Using Windows Small Business Server 2003 and Learning Windows Server 2003. His work appears regularly in such periodicals as Windows IT Pro magazine, PC Pro and TechNet Magazine. He also speaks worldwide on topics ranging from networking and security to Windows administration. He is currently an editor at Apress, a publishing company specializing in books for programmers and IT professionals.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jonathan Hassell

Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?