Microsoft unveils Server 08

Microsoft unveils Server 08

Multiple software upgrades make biggest launch in firm’s history

Microsoft’s unveiling of its Windows Server 2008 (WS08) operating system yesterday (Wednesday) marked what the firm is billing as the biggest enterprise launch of its 33-year history.

Alongside WS08, Microsoft also presented new versions of its SQL Server database management system and Visual Studio development platform ­- see below.

The promise of improved system security, reliability and performance is likely to prove tempting for users of the existing Windows Server 2003 (WS03).

But Microsoft’s much anticipated Hyper-V server virtualisation technology will not be integrated into WS08 for another six months at least.

And most users will wait for service packs dealing with early bugs and delivering better application and hardware support before taking the plunge.

Experts say the new system is an incremental improvement, rather than a change of direction.

“In many cases, the business case for putting WS08 into production will be less dependent on the system itself, and more on other applications,” said Gartner vice president Phil Dawson.

WS03 is the dominant operating system on new servers and accounted for slightly more than 40 per cent of global server revenue in the third quarter of last year, according to IDC.

Development firm Howard Baines has already built one application using a pre-release version of Visual Studio 2008.

Corporate customers are more likely to demand applications built on Microsoft technology, whereas smaller firms traditionally prefer open source platforms, according to Clive Howard, the company’s founder.

“The big misconception around open source development platforms is that they are cheaper to buy,” he said.

“But the cost of hosting is now lower and you can save a lot on support with Microsoft. There are also a lot of Express tools with Visual Studio and SQL Server which are free to use.”

The big launch

Windows Server 2008

* Integrated support for Internet Information Server 7.0.
* Improved security.
* Tighter integration with Vista desktop OS and Microsoft applications.

Visual Studio 2008 - application development platform

* Support for JavaScript debugging and Intellisense.
* Quicker to add Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) features.
* Access to .Net Framework source code.

SQL Server 2008 - database management

* Improved compression, indexing and text searches.
* Support for spatial data.
* Enhanced database mirroring.