back to article Windows Server 8 plays catch-up with VMware and Unix

"The cloud is a tectonic shift," said Microsoft's corporate vice president of server and cloud Bill Laing, introducing an in-depth press preview of Windows Server 8 and mixing metaphors with abandon. In response to this cloudy earthquake, the company is declaring Server 8 to be a cloud-based operating system, though note that …


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  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Coming soon, New Server 8 pricing

    GUIless Server $500/core

    GUI but no IE or Explorer $1000/core

    Full Server $2000/core.

    Paric coz even she knows a scam when she see it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You forget about mandatory per user CAL...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Memo to all those Windows sysadmins

    Roll you sleeves and come closer, we'll teach you how to use a command line again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Not look what you've done!, they are all whimpering in the corner

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Powershell ...

    "There are thousands of cmdlets and the idea is that any management task can be accomplished with a PowerShell script."

    Yeah. Meanwhile the rest of the universe has been doing this since nineteen-canteen with Bash.

    Microsoft's new motto: "A Day Late and a Dollar Short".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Powershell is awesome

      Microsoft was certainly late to the shell game, but they brought the game to a whole new level when they did join. Powershell is nothing like a bash clone, it's an object oriented shell, with true objects rather than text streams being passed through pipes. Once you get used to it, the power of being able to e.g. directly access file attributes on the objects resulting from a directory listing becomes quite addictive, to the point where text-based shells start to feel rather primitive.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes ...

        "Once you get used to it, the power of being able to e.g. directly access file attributes on the objects resulting from a directory listing becomes quite addictive"

        I've been doing object manipulation on files and file systems for years using Python and friends (Perl, Ruby, Bash aliases, et al).

        Through a shell. On many different file systems.

        I also do have to use PowerShell and find it slow, clunky and generally poorly implemented.

        1. Hans 1

          Especially the regex implementation

          The regex implementation is a crime in PowerShell ... they merged regex with GLOB ....

          breaindead !

          Normal Regex:

          a* matches "a", "aa" and "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa"

          PowerShell Regex:

          a* matches "a", "aa" and "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" which is nice, but it also matches "abc" as well as "a123458784dsfdfgsewrtwi5u345qef"

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Mixed feelings...

    When I read the article here (note; I'd still need to check up on MS' own stories) then I cannot help fear that they're trying to re-invent the wheel. But one which Novell has already discovered not to roll too well.

    I think trying to go for a CLI based server is a good idea. But the trouble here is the legacy. So, would I want to run PostgreSQL on my Windows server while not being too familiar with the CLI I could run into a few problems since I might actually fully rely on their GUI control pgAdmin.

    So now these programs should no longer run on the server but remotely.

    I see two problems; first the, what I call, "Netware syndrom"; meaning: "Having access to the server CLI does not give you full access to server configuration". In the early days of Netware (3.11 and 4) you could configure your server config setup from the CLI and several server related issues.

    But you could /not/ configure your userbase. In order to do that you'd need a remote connection and use the admin tools which were made available to the clients. I never liked that approach myself since it meant that in order to setup (or maintain) a server I'd always need 2 computers to work with. It appears as if MS is going down that same path.

    Second problem would be security. Right now I can basically lock my server down to only allow specific access, for example disallow RPC connections (remote procedure call; allows remote server administration (to put it simple)) and only allow RDP (remote desktop). Thus I can basically use my "admin group" to determine who can and cannot perform admin tasks on my server. Better yet; I can separate between them.

    But with remote administration this remains to be seen. RPC (which I assume is going to be utilized here) doesn't really know yet how to filter on a per-process basis. Some root components are basically; client/server, registry, win32 dll, AD and IIRC the kernel itself.

    Now say that my webserver and my mailserver both utilize the client/server component for remote administration, and I don't want to allow one person to admin both ? Most of these programs rely on the OS itself to provide means for control. Its not their job to decide who does or doesn't get to control them; that's basically the OS doing (to a certain degree anyway). And that's not even touching the obvious: the more remote connections you need to allow the more risk you're basically taking.

    Now; while this may not be a problem for Microsoft based services lets not forget that people who use a MS Windows server do not always use MS system services. Mine for example runs Apache, hMailserver and PSQL instead of IIS, Exchange and MS SQL.

  5. Tom Maddox Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    I'm sure there will be the usual assortment of Linux trolls posting here, but it sounds like the next version of Windows Server is going to make some major improvements, especially around virtualization, that will be a big help to Windows server admins. It also sounds like they'll be lighting a fire under VMware, which is no bad thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Where's the connection with Linux trolls here ?

      They already have virtualization and everything they need so why would they want to go back to Windows ?

  6. Mark Dowling

    VDI licencing.

    " Mike Neil, general manager of Windows Server Planning and Management, admitted: "The feedback we've had from our customers is that our licensing is Byzantine.""

    Ain't that the truth.

    1. Oninoshiko
      Thumb Up


      Can they get someone to look at the Office licensing under VDI too? I'd love to be able to provide Desktop as a Service, with MS Office but "that's not a part of the service privileged program."

      1. Tomato42

        And allow you to run only single Windows Server with Terminal Services to provide MS Office only to people that need it on a per-use basis?!

        That's preposterous!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they want to sharpen up their virtualisation credentials...

    ..why don't they sort out the mess that is WGA so it doesn't constantly trigger false positives on Xen installations? There are two 2008 virtual servers here, both are properly licensed, and both needed cracks applying to convince them of that fact.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Surely that's a problem with Xen? If your virtualisation system seems to change the hardware that a server OS thinks it is running, it's hardly the server OS' problem, is it?

  8. ZenaB
    Thumb Up


    If even half of that comes true, Server8 will be an awesome release!

  9. Aaron Suzuki

    VDI value

    This sounds like a big release with lots of very valuable improvements and additions. But I'm puzzled by the statement that "offline VDI has no value." Does this mean that a virtualized desktop living outside the datacenter (on a client device) has no value? I don't think desktop virt is going to blossom into what the analysts say it's going to be by any stretch, but long term there will almost certainly be relevant use cases for a virtualized desktop running on client end points. It's just convenient in some cases. I already do it and our company is in the business of deploying Windows on hardware, so this isn't just a desktop virt fanboy talking. Besides, why would Windows 8 client include a hypervisor if it has no value?

  10. Leedos

    windows server

    The new feature list is impressive. I hope they are focusing more on storage and networking in Windows Server 8. Being mostly a Windows Server admin, I've been envious of Solaris 11's storage and network features.

    I use Solaris 11 on Intel Atom hardware. It started just to test, but performace is good enought for production use as an iSCSI SAN. I like the combination of ZFS, COMSTAR, and Crossbow. Performace is great given the cheap hardware. I considered running Windows Storage Server, but the features aren't on par with Solaris from a storage perspective.

    With MS now giving away their iSCSI target they might as well integrate the whole iSCSI stack into the server. They need some improvement in disk management, replication, dedup, snapshots, and SSD acceleartion. Hopefully this all results in a Hyper-V cluster without a SAN. Do this and they will have a real winner. With all the benefits a SAN provides, nobody really want's to buy a SAN. All the SAN's that I've looked at are way overpriced for what you get.

    I'm not sure what's stopping MS from being a bigger player in storage other than they don't want to step on some partner's toes or possible monopoly litigation. Maybe their recent stock downgrade will make the company a little more aggressive again. Everyone needs quailty storage, I prefer mine integrated with the OS.

  11. Joel Mansford

    I don't get it

    *WHY* not run a GUI on a server, I mean if my DECT phone can have a basic GUI, and my phone support a GUI not far off Win NT 4 are we really saying that it's too much of a resource hog? Really?

    Windows servers have GUIs...the clue is in the name. Seems like a pointless waste of time to me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The idea is that the server doesn't need a GUI because noone really needs to access the server directly very often. It isn't that they want everyone to use the command line to configure everything, instead the GUI-based management tools run on the admin's local desktop and send the commands to the server. Once you can accept that the admin GUI tools don't need to run directly on the server, then it's a short jump to ask why the server needs a GUI at all.

      While Windows's GUIs have been a bit hard on the hardware at times, even if the GUI was cheap, if it never gets used, then it's a waste of resources to keep it loaded. Also creates a larger attack surface for viruses, another thing that could crash, etc., etc..

  12. redniels

    long term suicide.

    what put MS in first place? ease of use. even a monkey could admin it. hell, monkeys do admin it in most shops! but now... they are going to remove one of the core reasons of their success: simplicity. they say it their selves: uptake of 2008 core is not what was expected. You wanna know the main reason why? because 80% of the admins don't care about the gui consuming processor time.. who cares about that on your quad cpu, quad cored, hyperthreading VT 64 bit 3.a lot Ghz with 32GB ram monster server? that's right. no one. They don't care about the added security. there's an app for that. it's called Trend, Norton or whatever. (woooo it takes 1 whole thread.. luckily i've got 31 more) They just want to change that setting with clicking not typing. An example? I know quite a few companies who are keeping their exchange 2003 install as long as possible. why? their "admins" are getting headaches of this... "progress" in the latest version(s) (more cmd line stuff which they don't want.) same goes for SBS: a lot of shops just stay with sbs 2003..

    and now.. they are going to force a whole generation of windows admins to learn a new way of working.... what's keeping those admins from going to learn Linux? or god forbid: OSX server? that's right: nothing. it's just as hard to learn, has all the sexy stuff and is very much more liked by the management: Say that's a nice CAL cost for our 2500 users! that's right.. None!

    this is suicide. it really is. It baffles me. they destroyed Novell with the GUI. now they destroy the GUI.

    back to the eighties! yeeee! that's progress for you!

    with this they forget 70% of their customers: shops with 1-3 servers run by the guy from accounting...

    that guy has no incentive anymore to stay with windows. these shops don't use VM's. they don't get it. they need a gui. that guy from accounting doesn't know a cmdlet. He doesn't know how to install mmc on his pc. He doesn't get a "how to admin" course. he may buy a book at amazon (40 bucks tops!) and that's it.

    I will stop. this is stupid.

    i don't say dat GUI-less is bad. there are a lot of scenario's in which I myself have deployed the core server. it rocks. but I'm (and you dear reader are also) not the typical windows server admin. that's that guy from accounting!

    end rant.

    1. Tomato42

      You're telling that less clueless people administrating servers is a *bad* thing?

      I'd say that's a real tangible security enhancement for Windows Server!

  13. Lemons
    Thumb Down


    Did you read the article? They aren't removing the gui from ALL versions. It's not going to be much different to the current editions of Server 08. They are just giving expanding on the current server core edition.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Which leaves the question...


      ...if the "full" environment will sell with a higher pricetag than the core server.

      Because if that is the case then I think that many sysadmins out there won't be given much of a choice in the matter.

  14. Stu 18

    virtual me

    Actually win 2k8 was a big disappointment for us, new faster equipment and new os = slower file and print and the yucky win 7 gui. (I prefer the old windows explorer). No need for virtual blah blah, we are a simple SMB with multiple branch offices. Sure we could put it all in one office and spend thousands on faster WAN. Glad we didn't choose chc as the central location. Wlg or Akl is much safer - oh wait.

    Next replacement will be back to basics I think. Cloud email, samba file and print, commodity storage. I don't see the value in Active Directory for 100 staff. A pretty average database that is hard to maintain and repair.

  15. Lieutenant Frost

    Correct me if I'm wrong...

    But I think what Microsoft is going for here (regarding the GUI/no GUI thing) is the admin tools are installed on the admin's workstation, and they remotely administer their servers from there. No more connecting via Remote Desktop to get at what you should be able to (in theory) do from anywhere that the appropriate utilities are installed.

    I'm just a lowly code monkey so I have no idea for sure, but this is the impression that I'm getting from what I've seen with SCSM/SCOM/etc.

  16. Christian Berger

    They should get rid of complexity

    Windows just has grown way to complex. So complex that giant security holes can hide inside the specifications for decades, just look at Stuxnet.

    What they'd really have to do would be to bring out a real bare bones server. Just the kernel and perhaps a bit of a GUI. No hundreds of services like a printer service which can remotely print to file, or anything like that.

    Plus, Microsoft's anouncements always need to be taken with a grain of salt. This would be the first time when even a fraction of the new features would be usable.

  17. Levente Szileszky

    This is huge, pretty much feature-parity but for a fraction of VMware...

    ...and it's going to be killer, provided MS will properly sort out three basic things:

    1. it comes BUG-FREE, not the usual beta-like bugfest that needs another year or so worth of patches to reach production quality

    2. it does not take another YEAR to release

    3. pricing & licensing won't change (OK, it can get cheaper/come with more virt lic included. :))

    And while I understand SCVMM 2012 is optional, please, DO SOMETHING with it because the beta is not just slow as a dog but it's still a textbook example of that god-awful junk aka MS UI mess that's so maddening in any Server or System Center product.

    Simply find the guy who thinks these multitude of sub-sub-sub-menus and tabs and sub-tabs and selections then right-clicks and properties and sub-tabs etc are good and after positive ID just SHOOT HIM ON SIGHT. Yes, shoot to kill, no excuse, just do it. This should send a very straightforward message to the rest of these bunglers what to do with their current UI design...

  18. Tomato42

    "Pooled" VMs

    >In Server 8, both personalization and performance is

    >improved by storing user state separately, so it is no

    >longer solely dependent on what is in the roaming

    >profile. Patching pooled VMs is simplified by use of

    >a golden image VM. To patch the machines, you need

    >only update the golden image. This is then rolled out

    >to users when they log out, or on a schedule, or in

    >emergency as an instant update.

    I can already think of at least 5 different ways this could go horribly, horribly wrong.

    What were they thinking?!

  19. JDX Gold badge


    You can still use GUI tools - they just will not be running on the server itself. You already access your servers remotely through RDP, so (I assume) it will be fairly similar except the client app will be on your local PC (maybe even a web app?) instead.

    I do wonder what the rationale is though - I would doubt it's a performance issue rather than something else... maybe to encourage everything done through scripts so you can treat servers as clones rather than have them all slightly different?

    1. Tomato42

      There is a remote desktop app for Linux (and I assume OSX too), even one supporting network level authentication (freerdp) while there is no mmc equivalent for other platforms.

  20. david 12

    remote management on Server 2003

    I remote manage my windows 2003 server from my desktop: I read the event log, start and stop services, update Active Directory, install software, run scripts, manage Exchange and SQL Server. All using standard 2003 admin tools (plus enabling some remote management options that are now turned off by default). Not remote desktop: just admin tools.

    What will server 8 get me? The remote managment tools will be written in PowerShell instead of being WinAPI apps. This is an improvement how?

  21. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    Almost there....

    Can we have a decent file system and better clustering? How about a proper cluster file system (like VMFS) instead of the mess of NTFS with CSV over the top?

    How about support for Hyper-V over NFS or CIFS?

    It sounds like some evolution in networking, but does this mean that Hyper-V no longer needs 3rd party network teaming?

    Memory page sharing would be nice. Dynamic Memory is only thin provisioning (like VMware's balloon driver), so only half way there.

    Not 100% sold on Hyper-V, but with VMware's pricing policy and the feature catch-up that M$ are doing, it's coming up fast.

    But as always, wait for SP1.....

  22. Bibbleq

    Article title?


    Server 2008 overview!? someone getting a bit carried away on the old typing?

    If all this was in 2008 wonder what the new Windows Server 8 will be like! ;)

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