Will Vista and Windows Server 2008 really be better together?

Microsoft's premise is that the combination of Vista Service Pack (SP) 1 on the desktop and Windows Server 2008 on the back-end will be preferable to running either product by itself. Here are some of the reasons the company is encouraging businesses to deploy and use the pair in tandem.

Microsoft doesn't trot out its old "Better Together" marketing campaign much any more. But "Better Together" will be one of the messages Microsoft will be playing up in February, as it marches towards its big-bang Windows Server 2008 launch.

Microsoft's premise is that the combination of Vista Service Pack (SP) 1 on the desktop and Windows Server 2008 on the back-end will be preferable to running either product by itself.

As James Senior, a Microsoft Technical Specialist, noted on his blog recently, Microsoft is emphasizing that Vista and Server 2008 came from the same core. Senior points to a Windows Server 2008 Overview article that explains the shared heritage of the pair:

"Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 originally began as part of a single development project, and as such they share a number of new technologies across networking, storage, security and management. Although the development of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 have branched into separate releases with different release cycles, many of these enhancements apply to both Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. When organizations deploy both operating systems, they will see how the combined client-server infrastructure provides even greater advantages."

What are some of these "greater advantages" of using Vista and Windows Server 2008 together? On the aforementioned overview article's short list:

  • Maintenance is greatly simplified by the use of a single model for updates and service packs across client and server.
  • Client computers can monitor for specific events and forward to Windows Server 2008 for centralized monitoring and reporting.
  • Network Access Protection features on Windows Server 2008 ensure that Windows Vista clients connecting to the network are compliant with security policies and restricted from accessing network resources if not.
  • Clients can render print jobs locally before sending them to print servers to reduce the load on the server and increase its availability.
  • Server resources are cached locally so that they are available even if the server is not, with copies automatically updating when the client and server are reconnected.
  • Applications or scripts that need to run on both client and server can take advantage of the Transactional File System to reduce the risk of error during file and registry operations and roll back to a known good state in the event of failure or cancellation.
  • Policies can be created to ensure greater Quality of Service for certain applications or services that require prioritization of network bandwidth between client and server.
  • Windows Vista clients connecting to networks where Windows Server 2008 has been deployed can experience greatly improved communication speeds and reliability.
  • Searching Windows Server 2008 servers from a Windows Vista client avails of enhanced indexing and caching technologies on both to provide huge performance gains across the enterprise.
  • Native IPv6 support across all client and server services creates a more scalable and reliable network, while the rewritten TCP/IP stack makes network communication much faster and more efficient.
  • The new Server Message Block 2.0 protocol provides a number of communication enhancements, including greater performance when connecting to file shares over high-latency links and better security through the use of mutual authentication and message signing.
  • Terminal Services on Windows Server 2008 have many improvements, including providing Windows Vista clients with remote access to internal resources through an HTTP gateway and seamless remote applications that run as if on the local desktop.

To date, many customers have decided not to deploy at the same time Office 2007 and Windows Vista -- another pair of products Microsoft emphasized as being "better together." Many Office 2007 users are running the latest version of the suite on Windows XP.

What's your take: Will Microsoft convince business users that Vista and Windows Server 2008 are best when used in tandem?