Thursday, September 15, 2011

Live from the BUILD Conference – Windows Server 8

After Day 1 of BUILD being so momentous, I was honestly expecting a letdown on Day 2. What could possibly compete with the wealth of exciting information we got about Windows 8? I’m happy to report that Day 2 was packed with oodles of great announcements and demos about the back end (server, cloud) and developer libraries and tooling.

Moreover, the “front-end” coverage on Day 1 and the “back end” coverage on Day 2 are linked through a comprehensive strategy of “connected devices and continuous services”. This phrase, much easier for all audiences to parse and understand, is a big improvement over “software + services” or “platform as a service”. It beautifully reflects the device/HTML5 revolution that is happening on the front end and the cloud computing revolution on the back end. Rarely have I seen this much collaboration and shared vision between the teams at Microsoft. It’s really refreshing!

There was a whole lot shared on Day 2, and once again it will take some time to really absorb it all. For now, I’m going to focus on Windows Server 8 and cover the rest in additional posts.

Windows Server 8

Just as we have a new client OS on the horizon with Windows 8, a new version of Windows Server is in the works as well: Windows Server 8. If Windows Server 8 is about one thing, that thing is “private cloud”: it has extremely advanced virtualization features such as the ability to relocate running VMs, and the management is implemented in an extremely user-friendly way. Here are the highlights on Windows Server 8:

Overhauled User Interfaces. Windows Server 8 has some nice management interfaces that are friendly and approachable.
IIS. IIS has application platform improvements. I haven't learned the specific details yet.
HA. You can build small-size clusters that have high availability.
Private Cloud. Windows Server 8 is a virtualization platform, allowing you to create a private cloud on top of your existing on-premise infrastructure.
Live Migration. Relocate a VM’s hard disk storage to another location, even a remote location, while the VM is running.
Multi-tenancy. Windows Server 8 deeply understands multi-tenancy, allowing you fine control over how you provision compute, storage, and network resources for application workloads.
Storage Spaces. This feature allows you to manage multiple drives connected by Serial Attached SCSI (SAS). For example, you could form a single storage pool from a dozen hard drives, then partition that into multiple virtual drives. This was demonstrated to be easy to manage (“You don’t need a PhD in storage to be able to use it”).
Parallel Networking. Windows Server 8 can leverage multiple NICs simultaneously to strongly boost throughput and to provide fault tolerance.

As you can see, Windows Server 8 is a real tiger! --and I’ve only scratched the surface. Check out this InfoWorld article for a more detailed overview and get a view of the new UI from this article. I also really encourage you to watch the Day 2 Keynote from the BUILD site. MSDN subscribers can download a developer preview of Windows Server 8 right now.

With Windows 8 and Windows Server 8, Microsoft has pushed the envelope on what an operating system should do and how it should do it, in a ground-breaking way. Together with cloud services (Windows Live, Windows Azure, Office 365), they make the vision of “connected devices, continuous services” more than just a neat idea: they make it reality.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you! keep the news coming please! :)