Because of all the hype surrounding Windows Vista, we sometimes forget that Microsoft also has a new server product on the horizon as well. Slated to ship in the second half of next year, Windows Longhorn will certainly bring several new changes to Microsoft's server operating system. Surely, some system administrators will be ready to jump on to Longhorn's wagon as soon as it is released. Others have a standard period of time that they wait before upgrading their servers—Windows 2000 forever, right?
In an effort to convince the skeptics that Longhorn is a worthy upgrade, Microsoft has introduced a top ten list of new features and improvements found in Longhorn as opposed to prior and competing operating systems. Although some of the following features are included in the second beta of Longhorn, Microsoft warns that some components are not complete. Regardless of when all the features are finished, here is Microsoft's big list of reasons why you should give your servers a fresh new look:
Enhanced security through improved Group Policy and BitLockerNetwork Access Protection (NAP)New Terminal Services capabilitiesA new networking stackEnhancements to Directory ServicesNew Server Core featureExpanded UNIX/Linux supportEnhanced performance monitoringIIS 7.0Enhanced management features and new Server Manager tool
While the list as a whole is impressive, there are two features that I'm really excited about, and they are Server Core and IIS 7. Server Core allows administrators to perform tasks on the server without having to go through a GUI, or better said, they will go through a shell such as Windows PowerShell. Server Core won't allow for every administrative task to be performed, but items such as Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, and file serving can be configured through the interface. As for IIS 7, it's going to include several WinFX services and integrated ASP.NET support. Its modular design (53 native modules) will allow admins to add and remove features, drastically reducing the size of its attack surface.