Sneak peek: Windows Server 2008

Worldwide technical workshop for the upcoming Windows Server 2008 reveals what the product features might mean for IT professionals

At the worldwide technical workshop for the upcoming Windows Server 2008 on the Microsoft campus this week, Canadian industry execs gathered to discuss what the product features might mean for IT professionals, and what kind of uptake might occur in the Canadian market.

Bruce Cowper, senior program manager for Microsoft Canada's security initiative, said that Canadians are looking for "a secure, stable base platform; integration into their existing systems; and training and certification for Canadian IT professionals," when Windows Server 2008 is released to market (after initial delays) next February.

Security is especially important to Canadians, according to Cowper. "They often have smaller organizations, remote users, branch offices, and many different time-zones, so up-time becomes even more critical," he said.

But regardless of what Canadian server admins want, they might not go after it. Despite, for instance, Cowper's claims of a "fully integrated" security setup in the new operating system, he admitted, "I see a lot of Canadian companies sit back and look at deployment areas and see how it would affect them (instead of aggressively pursuing earlier adoption)."

John Enck, research vice-president with research firm Gartner, believes that Windows Server 2008 won't see such a rapid uptake, either. Said Enck: "On a greater scale, this release doesn't have huge relevance. There's a ton of little changes, but no real killer features. I don't see people lining up for it; they will roll it in when they do server refreshes." He sees the ceasing of Windows Server 2000 support in 2010 as being a potential driver for Windows Server 2008 adoption then.

But, Cowper said, the times of wait-and-see and sticking new server operating systems in during hardware refreshes are fast becoming a thing of the past, and might not be the path that Windows Server 2008 takes into the enterprise. With the advent of more advanced hardware and the significant 64-bit install base, said Cowper, companies that were waiting to take advantage of their hardware now can start making use of virtualization technology--like the Windows Server 2008 hypervisor-based virtualization capabilities that Microsoft is touting.

Marty Grosh, director of enterprise services for the Richmond Hill, Ontario-based IT infrastructure consultancy Compugen and a Microsoft client, said, "The barrier to deployment of putting in everything at once (is dying out). Now people are taking advantage of features, solving businesses problems, and doing things modularly. We're evolving into virtualization."

Starting virtualization in an enterprise is also less of a headache than a widespread server-area change in the olden days, said Julius Sinkevicius, Microsoft's group project manager for Windows Server. "Virtualization is really driving that (piecemeal approach). It's not disruptive anymore," he said.

While Microsoft is placing great emphasis on the Hypervisor-based virtualization features on the new server operating system, however, it isn't what clients crave, according to Vince Londini, researcher with Info-Tech Research Group. "With virtualization, the best kind works on the bare metal of the server, so that it would be some VMWare competition," he said, pointing out that the release will also only contain the beta form of the virtualization capabilities, with the full release coming six months after the RTM date.

Another feature that has already been seeding the market well ahead of the product's 2008 release date is Microsoft's customer testing and advance implementation programs, including the Technology Adoption Program (which has had 779 beta-3 server deployments), 309 release candidate zero deployments, and 160 enterprise customers in the rapid deployment program (RDP).

One of the Canadian companies in the RDP program is Grosh's Compugen. Grosh found that the program's deployment services made for a cost-efficient and pain-free deployment across the widespread branch offices. "The barriers of deployment of using technology early on were really broken down," he said.

Missing as well is a new file system, said Londini. While a new system, WINFS, had been tested last year, it was pulled, leaving the new release with the old NTFS system, which, he said, customers find slow for data transfer.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Briony Smith

ComputerWorld Canada
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?