Microsoft Windows Server 8 review: First Look

Microsoft has unveiled Windows Server 8 - but is there more to this upcoming server operating system than just the new Metro user interface? Mary Branscombe finds out in our sneak peek.

Search for files, apps and settings.

Tasks appear in Server Manager when the mouse is in the right place.

Some of the more exciting possibilities with Windows Server 8 include using commodity servers to replace expensive storage virtualisation and networking systems.

The good news is that you can do that with the current generation of hardware as well as taking advantage of CPUs with more cores and NUMA architecture as they come along. Although nothing is final, Microsoft is suggesting that system requirements for Windows Server 8 won't increase dramatically; we haven't been able to do extensive testing but we're told it will give you good performance on systems that run Windows Server 2008 R2 today and we had no problem installing it on low-spec machines.

So what are our first impressions?

Verdict

Windows Server 8 is currently only available as a developer preview to give Microsoft partners a chance to start developing drivers and tools. As usual, there are some really compelling new features like Dynamic Access Control as well as improvements that make features like DirectAccess and CHKDSK what they should have been in the first place. They may not give you enough value to justify an upgrade on their own, but they could be welcome if you choose Windows Server 8 for the more strategic options like affordable high availability and building network and storage virtualisation systems with commodity hardware. Windows Server 8 shows promise, but we'll reserve final judgement for the final version which is expected in about a year's time. Editions and pricing are, as expected, yet to be announced.

Featured Resources

The ultimate law enforcement agency guide to going mobile

Best practices for implementing a mobile device program

Free download

The business value of Red Hat OpenShift

Platform cost savings, ROI, and the challenges and opportunities of Red Hat OpenShift

Free download

Managing security and risk across the IT supply chain: A practical approach

Best practices for IT supply chain security

Free download

Digital remote monitoring and dispatch services’ impact on edge computing and data centres

Seven trends redefining remote monitoring and field service dispatch service requirements

Free download

Recommended

IAR Systems and Secure Thingz partner to streamline Azure IoT migration
Microsoft Azure

IAR Systems and Secure Thingz partner to streamline Azure IoT migration

19 Oct 2021
The total economic impact of the Intel vPro® platform
Whitepaper

The total economic impact of the Intel vPro® platform

1 Oct 2021
Linux 5.14 offers new security protections
Linux

Linux 5.14 offers new security protections

30 Aug 2021
Microsoft updates Windows 11 minimum requirements
Microsoft Windows

Microsoft updates Windows 11 minimum requirements

30 Aug 2021

Most Popular

Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Network & Internet

HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

15 Oct 2021
What is cyber warfare?
Security

What is cyber warfare?

15 Oct 2021