Windows Server 2008 and Vista SP1 RTM today

Windows Server 2008 and Vista SP1 RTM today

Summary: Microsoft has reached a major milestone today for its Windows Server and Client products. Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista Service pack 1 have been released to manufacturing today which means they will soon be available to IT customers and consumers.


Microsoft has reached a major milestone today for its Windows Server and Client products. Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista Service pack 1 have been released to manufacturing today which means they will soon be available to IT customers and consumers. Windows Server 2008 replaces the venerable Windows Server 2003 while Vista SP1 upgrades the somewhat controversial Windows Vista. If this looks like a coincidence that Vista SP1 and Server 2008 launched at the same time, it's not. These two products share the same kernel and they were finished together and launched together by design.

Windows Server 2008 will have key enhancements in Virtualization both on the OS kernel side and the hosting side, but the hosting side of the equation won't appear for another six months in the form of Windows Hypervisor. The OS kernel side optimizations come in the form of "enlightened" (AKA paravirtualized) IO optimizations for video, storage, networking, and memory. The Hypervisor will take advantage of these kernel enhancements to reduce the overhead associated with virtualization. Other virtualization vendors will most likely license or negotiate rights to these kernel enhancements in virtualization if they wish to host Windows Server 2008 efficiently. Older server operating systems like Windows 2000 and 2003 server will later be retrofitted with just the I/O optimizations but not the full kernel modifications that optimize Memory and CPU operations.

Windows Server 2008 will also have a stripped down headless operation mode called "Core installation" that increases reliability and security because it reduces the code foot print. This in turn also reduces the need for reboots because components that would normally need to be updated simply won't be installed in the first place. Server 2008 will also have a fast kernel mode IIS web server as well as enhancements to Routing and Remote Access such as SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol). SSTP puts a NAT- and proxy-friendly wrapper around the PPTP and L2TP protocol for trouble free VPN access.

Windows Vista will get some sorely needed enhancements on stability. The size and scope of enhancements and changes to Windows Vista over previous generation Windows XP has resulted in some major growing pains both in OS and driver stability. While many of these issues have already been hammered out, annoying problems like a minute long wait to login a Vista machine in to an Active Directory domain and slow network file copies are now fixed in Vista SP1. Other controversial features like a Windows Vista kill switch have been removed. On the usability front, the aforementioned SSTP feature in Windows Server 2008 can now be leveraged using the new SSTP client in Windows Vista SP1. In the coming weeks, I will be eager to test both of these products.

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

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  • Millions of users rejoice

    Will this be the answer to the prayers of many, or will this be looked at as the bane of SP1. If I remember right, Windows XP SP1 was a bane rather than boon. SP2 was met with mixed results, but ultimately proved to be a necessary evil.
    • I predict it will be very good for Vista

      I am eager to test SP1 and Server 2008.
      • I predict it will be a very bad performer

        I tried the early release and It had no ready boost and was very slow.
        • You don't base predictions on early releases

          You should check this out about performance boost.

          • Overall Performance is better

            However, that is a nice hit of 6% on larger files if you happen to be moving some serious ISOs. If you happen to be pushing MP3s across the network though, you will gain quite a bit of performance.

            Sounds like SP1 might be the way to go.

            I still question if it is ready for the corporate environment. However, with Windows 2008 Server, that is always a plus.

            I think XP would have moved into the business environment faster if they had Windows 2003 server there in a quicker manner.
          • Hmm, SP1 doesn't fix the "slow network transfers when running Media Player"

            As explained in your link to Ed Blott's blog, although SP1
            fixes lots of things, it still doesn't fix the MMCSS-related
            network throughput drop that was highly publicized 6 months ago
            ("slow network transfers when running Media Player").

            Mark Russinovich, the MS developer who gave a very detailled
            explanation of the bug in his blog, never published a follow up
            to this bug, as he said he would when it will be fixed. The
            unanswered comments in his blog also confirm the issue is
            unfixed in SP1 [1].

            In fact, the list of notable changes in Vista SP1 [2] mentions
            that the only thing they did appears to be a hack to manually
            hardcode the throttling behavior:

            In SP1, PC administrators are able to modify the network
            throttling index value for the MMCSS (Multimedia Class
            Scheduling Service), allowing them to determine the appropriate
            balance between network performance and audio/video playback

            Since Russinovich said the underlying problem is a high CPU
            usage caused by the DPC calls made by the network driver to
            receive the network packets, my guess is that they have to work
            around all those crappy Windows network drivers that don't
            implement standard interrupt mitigation techniques (like NAPI
            under Linux).

            Meh. Just one more example of why closed proprietary drivers
            suck :)

            zpdixon 42
          • As I explained based on my testing, it doesn't matter.

            As I explained, it doesn't matter. There are quite a few solutions. Best solution is to run Jumbo frames which you should do anyways to improve overall performance.

            You can also flat-out disable MMCSS and get rid of the 10K packet per second limit in Vista pre-SP1. Now some Microsoft have said that this causes DVD movies to play like a "slide show" if you go beyond 10K packets per second but they're quoting second hand info and not actual testing. I personally disabled the 10K limit, disabled jumbo frames, transmitted 30K packets per second and had no problems and got smooth DVD playback in Windows Vista.

            I've reported my experimentation results to Microsoft and they're going to do some more testing. I maintain that the problems they describe might be attributed to something else unique to a particular situation and NOT as a general rule as previously believed. The Microsoft folks are human and they do sometimes make mistakes and they have corrected themselves in the past.
          • "based on my testing, it doesn't matter."

            Very astute observation!

            Based on YOUR testing, nothing matters. If
            it doesn't shine a bright light of loving
            adoration on Microsoft, YOUR testing will
            NOT reveal it.
            Ole Man
          • you made plenty before it was released

            it was going to save the planet
          • REALLY! Please find a quote.

            REALLY! Please find a quote where I even remotely said it was going to "save the planet".
  • RE: Windows Server 2008 and Vista SP1 RTM today

    lost my badage
  • RE: Windows Server 2008 and Vista SP1 RTM today

    thank you
    • Is that a sigh of relief on Vista?

      Is that a sigh of relief on Vista :)? I sort of said the same thing when I heard the news :).
  • One thing I don't understand...

    Why release the server component after the desktop component.

    I thought the release of Windows 2000 Server with Windows 2000 Professional was a great idea that sold really well. The end users knew which desktop and server linked together. Now people see Windows Server 2008 as Windows Vista as it should be.
    • Server and Vista SP1 share the exact same kernel

      Server and Vista SP1 share the exact same kernel. Windows Server 2008's other components propably weren't ready so they deliberately timed it with SP1 on Vista. A lot of new features like SSTP are perfectly matched.
  • As I see it...

    Vista should have included all of the Windows 2008 server functionality. It doesn't.

    Linux is 'brimming' with server functionality and a feature-rich desktop (you pick the UI--GNOME,KDE,Beryl,Compiz), including the ability the virtualize/paravirtualize maintain your existing Windows XP license as a VM right on the Linux Desktop as an 'on demand' O/S 'application'!

    It makes having the best of Linux/Windows worlds possible, easy, and fun and it doesn't cost you anything other than the time you invest.

    So, one has to wonder, is either Windows Server 2008 or an upgrade from Windows XP to Vista really a value proposition?

    As I see it...No.
    But, please, do a in-depth review when you can.

    Thanks George.
    D T Schmitz
  • EOL on Server 2003 Annouoncement?


    Amy indication of End of Life/Support for server 2003 hinted at yet?

    Lastly, Vista is just driving me crazy...or better put, supporting all of my family's and friends Vista installs is driving me crazy, all about performance, I've seen 30 second wait times for launching 4mb MP3 files on machines with dual cores and 2gb of RAM...any indication in youor review that this is going to get better...or worse...would be nice.

    • It should never take 30 seconds to launch a 4mb MP3

      It should never take 30 seconds to launch a 4mb MP3. There is something wrong with that computer. A clean install should never do that. You might try to degunk your computer.
      • no kidding

        i have been running vista since before the launch. the only reinstall ive done was on launch day when they gave me the rtm so i blew up the rc build to clean install vista.

        have yet to have any crashes, or any problems at all really. it really boggles my mind why people complain so much and make claims like this and blame the os for it? there is no way that is vista's fault if the hardware is as you claim, that hardware you describe is much better than mine.

        im running a 1.6ghz SINGLE core amd, underclocked to 1.2 to help with the heat problems i was having from my gforce4 4400ti. i have 1.25 gigs of ram. soundblaster live sound card.

        yeah if my old machine is running vista with 0 problems there is no way you can blame a 30 second load for a 4 meg mp3 on vista when it takes less than a second on mine.
    • Windows 2003 will probably be supported for a long time

      Windows 2003 will probably be supported for a long time. We only recently saw NT support come to an end.