Microsoft Releases Windows Server 8 Beta

by Pedro Hernandez

Supercharged Hyper-V and improved storage management are among the many carrots Microsoft is dangling in front of systems administrators.

Consumers aren't the only ones basking in the Windows 8 glow this week. Microsoft is letting server administrators take its next server operating system out for a spin.

A preview version of Windows Server 8 has available to developers and Microsoft's hardware partners since September. Now, with a few more months of feedback and updates under its belt, Windows Server 8 Beta lets system administrators evaluate how the OS fits into their IT plans.

As Windows Server 8 rushes toward release, Microsoft is clearly hoping those plans increasingly include virtualization and cloud computing.

Putting the 'Hyper' in Hyper-V

Microsoft is expanding on Hyper-V, the company's virtualization platform. Key to the company's development efforts on that front is multi-tenancy and Live Migrations.

In a Windows Server Blog post, Bill Laing, vice president of the Server and Cloud Division, writes, "with Hyper-V Network Virtualization you can create virtual networks so different business units, or even multiple customers, can seamlessly share network infrastructure."  He adds, "You will be able to move virtual machines and servers around without losing their network assignments."

Laing also touts the operating system's newfound data storage proficiency, in the form of high availability and disaster recovery options, and hints at native -- and hence affordable -- NAS-like management capabilities under Windows Server.

As an example, Laing offers, "with File Server Transparent Failover you can now more easily perform hardware or software maintenance of nodes in a File Server cluster by moving file shares between nodes with little interruption to server applications that are storing data on those file shares.

Also new is IIS 8 Web Server, .NET Framework 4.5 support and upgraded Windows PowerShell with "2,300 commandlets provided out of the box."

Minimum system requirements are as follows:

  • 1.4 GHz 64bit processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher-resolution monitor
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse or other compatible pointing device

As for storage space, a minimum of 32 GB is required. However, Microsoft cautions that systems "with more than 16 GB of RAM will require more disk space for paging, hibernation and dump files."

Windows Server 8 is available as a free download at the TechNet Evaluation Center (registration required).

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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This article was originally published on Saturday Mar 3rd 2012
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