How will Windows Server 2008 fare on the compatibility front?

How will Windows Server 2008 fare on the compatibility front?

Summary: Windows Server 2008, a k a Longhorn Server, isn't expected to be released to manufacturing till the end of this year. But that doesn't mean it's too early to start thinking about compatibility issues that might arise.

SHARE:
3

Windows Server 2008, a k a Longhorn Server, isn't expected to be released to manufacturing till the end of this year. But that doesn't mean it's too early to start thinking about compatibility issues that might arise.

Microsoft, for its part, already is thinking about it -- and has been doing so for more than a year, company officials say.

The server team is aware of the potential pain points. Windows Server 2008 applications that directly touch the kernel, such as security products, backup tools and the like, are the ones most likely to encounter potential compatibility issues, they acknowledge. Server apps that check for OS version numbers before installing, and those that make heavy use of completely rewritten Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0, Microsoft's built-in Web server, also could hit stumbling blocks, unless vendors intervene, according to Microsoft's early feedback.

I had a chance to chat recently with Neil Hutson, director and manager of Windows Server Developer Evangelism for a story on the making of Windows Server 2008 that I wrote for Redmond Developer News.  From the article:

"With Windows Vista, there were several feature changes and additions that have created compatibility hiccups for certain hardware, software and services. Some of these changes -- specifically the addition of more restrictive User Account Control (UAC) permissions, protected-mode default for Internet Explorer and new sleep/hibernate power-management -- are less likely to wreak havoc on Longhorn Server apps than they did on Vista ones. As Microsoft notes in its client and server OS compatibility "Cookbook," Windows Server 2008 "does not, by default, install applications and accessories that are considered to be part of a user's desktop experience."

"A dearth of compatible drivers isn't likely to be the same sore spot for Windows Server 2008 as it has been for Vista, given that the server OS needs to support a smaller set of products than the consumer client OS.

As Hutson acknowledges, 'Vista took some of the driver pain for us. We use the same core device-driver model [Vista does]. We started earlier and learned lessons from [it].'"

Developers who want to get a jump-start on making sure their apps run correctly with Windows Server 2008 might want to check out the updated developer Cookbook for Vista and Windows Server 2008, which is downloadable for free from Microsoft's Dev Readiness Web site.

Any Windows Server 2008 testers and/or developers have any early compatibility data to share?

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Servers

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

3 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Wrong question

    MS' latest is, by definition, always compatible -- just as an IBM PC back when could be "PC compatible" even if they'd shipped it with a 6800 processor.

    The real question is, "is <insert product here> compatible?"
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Application Not Compatible: SmartHome Device Manager

    One of the applications that I've tested are not compatible with Windows Server 2008, even with Windows Vista nad Windows Server 2003:

    SmartHome Device Manager, by SmartLabs.
    [url=http://www.techmall.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1733]View the thread that I've started...[/url]

    SmartHome Device Manager is a small program that communicates over the [url=www.insteon.com]Insteon[/url] network via [url=http://www.smarthome.com/2414u.html]Insteon PowerLinc Controller[/url]. SmartHome Device Manager is used by home automation software, such as PowerHome, SmartHome HouseLinc, Insteon Timer Software (freeware), etc. I used to develop my own homebrew applications for private use (thankfully, I don't have to purchase the SDK since [url=http://fredricksensoftware.us/Insteon/]SmartHome Device Manager[/url] can be downloaded seperatly.

    Well, I'm still beta-testing Windows Server 2008, though. I've just built a computer with low-to-mid-end specs (AMD Sempron 64 3400+ with 1GB DDR-400 RAM, 60GB EIDE (40 for data, 20 for storage), using a built-in GeForce 6100 chipset (nForce 400) and installed Windows Server 2008 for beta-testing. I'm evaluating the WS08 since it's going to be used as a web server, home automation server, and later be used as a DHCP server (which I'm going to try this out soon, since I have a laptop that's not used and hook them up to my first-homebuilt server.

    I know my previous paragraph is irrelevant to Application Compatibility for Windows Server 2008, but I've just covered enough information for anyone who'd like to ask about why I'm going with Windows Server 2008 (actually, I'm going with Windows Small Business Server 2008).
    Grayson Peddie
  • RE: How will Windows Server 2008 fare on the compatibility front?

    Instantly i recieve more attractive for really just about any item fresh, amazing an issue loads of webpages day-to-day. It can almost certainly often be in most cases hip as part of your take a look around blogposts concerning completely different folks and therefore standing a product site. Many different we appreciate you with its. [url=http://www.footballfansshop.com/]cheap bears jerseys[/url],[url=http://www.footballfansshop.com/cam-newton-jersey-women-cam-newton-jersey-youth]cheap cam newton jersey[/url],[url=http://www.footballfansshop.com/walter-payton-jersey-walter-payton-jersey-number]cheap walter payton jersey[/url],[url=http://www.footballfansshop.com/randy-moss-jersey-women-randy-moss-jersey-patriots]cheap randy moss jersey[/url],[url=http://www.footballfansshop.com/rams-sam-bradford-jersey-sam-bradford-jersey-medium]cheap sam bradford jersey[/url], Repeating this web-site might possibly by default a great! How could i kindle a real incredibly own harking back to this approach concept?
    makrejktt55-24353620343749869561798500353356