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Windows Server 2008 Editions, Features and System Requirements

Before embarking on the installation of Windows Server 2008, it is important to first gain an understanding of the different editions available and the corresponding hardware requirements. It is also important to be aware of the upgrade options available with each edition. With this objective in mind, this chapter will focus on providing an overview of both the different Windows Server 2008 editions and the recommended hardware requirements.


1. Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition.
2. Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition.
3. Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition.
4. Windows Web Server 2008.
5. Windows Server 2008 for Itanium Based Systems.

Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition
Windows Server 2008 Standard is one of Microsoft's entry level server offerings (alongside Windows Web Server 2008) and is one of the least expensive of the various editions available. Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions are available, and in terms of hardware Standard Edition supports up to 4GB of RAM and 4 processors.

Windows Server 2008 is primarily targeted and small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) and is ideal for providing domain, web, DNS, remote access, print, file and application services. Support for clustering, however, is notably absent from this edition.An upgrade path to Windows Server 2008 Standard is available from Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition.

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition
Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition provides greater functionality and scalability than the Standard Edition. As with Standard Edition both 32-bit and 64-bit versions are available. Enhancements include support for as many as 8 processors and up to 64GB of RAM on 32-bit systems and 2TB of RAM on 64-bit systems.

Additional features of the Enterprise edition include support for clusters of up to 8 nodes and Active Directory Federated Services (AD FS).
Windows Server 2000, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition and Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition may all be upgraded to Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition.

Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition
The Datacenter edition represents the top end of the Windows Server 2008 product range and is targeted at mission critical enterprises requiring stability and high uptime levels. Windows Server 2008 Datacenter edition is tied closely to the underlying hardware through the implementation of custom Hardware Abstraction Layers (HAL). As such, it is currently only possible to obtain Datacenter edition as part of a hardware purchase.

As with other versions, the Datacenter edition is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions and supports 64GB of RAM on 32-bit systems and up to 2TB of RAM on 64-bit systems. In addition, this edition supports a minimum of 8 processors up to a maximum of 64.
Upgrade paths to Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition are available from the Datacenter editions of Windows 2000 and 2003.

Windows Web Server 2008
Windows Web Server 2008 is essentially a version of Windows Server 2008 designed primarily for the purpose of providing web services. It includes Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0 along with associated services such as Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and Telnet. It is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions and supports up to 4 processors. RAM is limited to 4GB and 32GB on 32-bit and 64-bit systems respectively.

Windows Web Server 2008 lacks many of the features present in other editions such as clustering, BitLocker drive encryption, multipath I/O, Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS), Removable Storage Management and SAN Management.

Features
Now that we have covered in general terms the various different editions of Windows Server 2008 we can now look in a little more detail at a feature by feature comparison of the four different editions. This is outlined in the following feature matrix:


Feature

Enterprise

Datacenter

Standard

Web

Itanium

ADFS Web Agent

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Directory uIDM

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Desktop Experience

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Windows Clustering

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Windows Server Backup

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows Network Load Balancing (WNLB)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Simple TCP/IP Services

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

SMTP

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Subsystem for Unix-Based Applications (SUA)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Telnet Client

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Telnet Server

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

RPC Over HTTP Proxy

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Wireless Client

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Windows System Resource Manager (WSRM)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Simple SAN Management

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

LPR Port Monitor

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

The Windows Foundation Components for WinFX

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

BITS Server Extensions

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

iSNS Server Service

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

BitLocker Drive Encryption

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Multipath IO

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Removable Storage Management

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

TFTP

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

SNMP

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Server Admin Pack

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

RDC

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Peer-to-Peer Name Resolution Protocol

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Recovery Disk

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows PowerShell

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

System Requirements
Before investing time and resources into downloading and installing Windows Server 2008, the first step is to gain an appreciation of the hardware requirements necessary to effectively run the operating system. The following table provides an overview of Microsoft's recommended minimum hardware:


Category

Minimum / Recommended Requirements

Processor

• Minimum: 1GHz (x86 processor) or 1.4GHz (x64 processor)
• Recommended: 2GHz or faster
Note: For Itanium based systems an Intel Itanium 2 processor is required.

Memory

• Minimum: 512MB RAM
• Recommended: 2GB RAM or greater
• Maximum (32-bit systems): 4GB (Standard) or 64GB (Enterprise and Datacenter)
• Maximum (64-bit systems): 32GB (Standard) or 2TB (Enterprise, Datacenter and Itanium-Based Systems)

Available Disk Space

• Minimum: 10GB
• Recommended: 40GB or greater
Note: Systems with RAM in excess of 16GB will require greater amounts of disk space to accommodate paging, hibernation, and dump files

Drive

DVD-ROM drive

Display and Peripherals

• Super VGA or greater-resolution monitor (800x600)
• Keyboard
• Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

As with the specified system requirements for all Windows systems it is best to aim for the Recommended values rather than the Minimumvalues to ensure acceptable levels of performance. For example, whilst it is possible to run Windows Server 2008 in 512Mb of RAM it is unlikely that performance levels will be optimal with such a configuration.

Windows Server 2008 KB Articles            Windows Server 2003 KB Articles

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