Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

Summary: Microsoft is making available to testers preview versions of its Windows Server 8, Visual Studio 2012 tool suite and other new toolkits this week at the Build developers conference.

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On the second day of its Build developers conference, Microsoft is making available to testers a developer preview of Windows Server 8, the complement to its Windows 8 client.

The server bits went live last night, September 13 on MSDN. Microsoft also is making available this week a developer preview of "Visual Studio 11" (the product likely to be named Visual Studio 2012 when it is released), as well as its Team Foundation Service hosted on Windows Azure.

There are more than 300 new features in Windows Server 8, the Softies are saying. And the team is planning to bring cloud optimization to every layer of the operating-system stack.

With Server 8, Microsoft is emphasizing that it is taking its Windows Azure learnings -- from its own datacenter team, its hosters and its service providers -- and bringing them to Windows Server 8. This means Microsoft will be taking concepts like multitenancy, which it has been pioneering in Windows Azure, and applying them to Windows Server 8. What does that mean? Here's a high-level example: Customers who want to use Windows Server on-premises could run multiple internal departments, like finance and human resources, on a single server with better isolation between the two divisions.

Azure concepts and functionality will be coming to Windows Server 8 with the new Hyper-V (version 3) and the storage fabric in Windows Server 8, as well. (For lots more on the storage features coming with Windows 8, check out ITWorld's Sandro Villinger's story.)

In addition to focusing on how the cloud is informing the on-premises server, Microsoft also is making automation one of the key pillars in Windows Server 8. This is where PowerShell 3.0, Microsoft's task automation framework and scripting language, comes into play.

As my ZDNet blogging colleague Jason Perlow noted, "I would say that Microsoft is pushing PowerShell really hard to sysadmins because you can actually get some very sophisticated tasks done in only a single command, such as migrating one or multiple virtual machines to another host, or altering storage quotas."

Another new set of features in Windows Server 8 will revolve around networking. Specifically, Microsoft is making it so that third-party vendors can plug into the server's coming "virtual switch," which will allow for routing networking traffic between different virtual machines. The idea: Customers and developers will be able to combine virtual and physical systems.

The other big new feature in Windows Server 8 is the new Hyper-V hypervisor. Microsoft showed off a quick preview of its new Hyper-V and the Hyper-V Replica capability earlier this summer.

Other announcements from Microsoft on Day 2 of Build:

  • A developer preview of the Visual Studio 11 (VS 2012) product is available to MSDN subscribers as of September 14 and the general public on September 16. The new version of the Microsoft tool suite adds support for Windows 8 Metro Style applications that are built with HTML5, JavaScript, C#, Visual Basic and C ++.
  • A Team Foundation Services preview is now available as an Azure-hosted service
  • The .NET 4.5 Developer Preview, which includes new features for asynchronous programming in C# and Visual Basic, support for state machines in Windows Workflow, and increased investments in HTML5 and CSS3 in ASP.NET.
  • ASP.NET MVC 4 Preview, which adds better Web application rendering in different browsers.
  • Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8 (similar to the Windows Azure phone toolkits Microsoft already has out there), which includes code samples, documentation and components for building Metro style applications that use Windows Azure for connectivity and notifications.

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Servers, Software, Software Development, Windows

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).

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18 comments
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  • Head scratcher

    All these .NET and Visual Studio improvements, and yet we're told .NET is near-deprecated in favour of Jupiter and Metro? Can't figure out the messaging we're getting on this.
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

      @rbethell
      .Net Will use Jupiter. Microsoft are not getting rid of .Net. Jupiter is a replacement for WPF, Windows Forms if you're still using them and if it lives up to its promise and is fast enough may replace some DirectX use in C++. WPF ended up as a bodge job. I've got a middle range desk top. Put 40 WPF Polygon objects on the screen in debug mode and it grinds to a halt. I haven't tried leveraging WPFs graphics capabilities on a tablet, but the result must be pathetic. WPFs problem was that it ended up grafted on top of Win 32. Jupiter is what what WPF was meant to be.
      RichStrat
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

        @RichStrat
        +1. A lot of people who are drawing parallels between Jupiter and .NET, but in fact both run at different layers within the sytem. WinRT will be the .NET and Jupiter runs on top of it. WinRT comprises .NET, unmanaged WinAPI including Win32, and other low level services that needs to be exposed to higher layers.
        Ram U
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

      @rbethell - I think the .NET framework will more and more become a server-side language where client level applications will use the .NET languages, but other intermediate frameworks more geared toward the hardware.
      webmaster@...
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

      @rbethell
      People just don't get it.
      .net as a stand alone framework is dead.
      It is now part of the OS and I eagerly await for antitrust lawsuits to start pouring in as they did against IE a decade ago!
      The Linux Geek
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

        @The Linux Geek Are you trying to out-stupidify yourself ???
        1773
  • TFS in the cloud?

    now that looks promising. The biggest barrier to TFS deployments is the potential complexity.
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

      @facebook@...
      Agreed and also limited documentation. Once an organization deploys TFS, they don't look for alternatives. I am using since TFS 2005, and there is no looking back for others. We occassionally use git, just because we have teams who are heavily into Mac/iOS development and use git.
      Ram U
  • Cheapest way to get Server 8 Preview?

    Do I have to purchase the "MSDN Operating Systems" subscription to get the Win8Server preview? Is there a cheaper way to get it, like the ActionPack or something else? Thank You!!!
    JohnMorgan3
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

      @YukioCowboy
      I think just check Microsoft sites regularly and they would put that one out for public shortly, if I am not wrong.
      Ram U
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

      @YukioCowboy msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps/br229516
      Your Non Advocate
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

        @facebook@...
        Thank you, but this is just for Windows 8 desktop, not Server.

        @Rama.NET
        Thanks, I hope so. Maybe TechNet too, which is cheaper than MSDN.
        JohnMorgan3
    • subs

      @YukioCowboy

      People with MSDN Subscriptions get a 3 day window before it's released to the general public.
      dtdono0
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

      @YukioCowboy if its that important to you then one would assume that having the appropriate MSDN subscriptions would be a given (and in any case as already suggested there will doubtless be other avenues through which early versions are launched for non developers...). That said, the developer version of the Action Pack comes with 3 x MSDN subscriptions...
      MurphHJS
  • I don't see HTML5/CSS/JavaScript option in VS 2011...!

    MJ - You've mentioned "A developer preview of the Visual Studio 11 (VS 2012) product is available to MSDN subscribers as of September 14 and the general public on September 16. The new version of the Microsoft tool suite adds support for Windows 8 Metro Style applications that are built with HTML5, JavaScript, C#, Visual Basic and C ++."

    I don't find this option in VS 2011 in Windows 7, only in Windows 8 + VS 2011 it's an option.
    jinishans
    • Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

      @jinishans <br><br>Because Windows 7 doesn't have the Metro libraries. You can't write full client side 'standalone' HTML5 apps with Win7 like you can in Win8.
      dtdono0
  • TFS??

    This says it all, really:

    http://www.derekhammer.com/2011/09/11/tfs-is-destroying-your-development-capacity.html
    ldo17
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows Server 8: Taking the cloud to the operating system

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