The following notes cover approximately one day of Windows Server 8 Beta presentations which John Savill did recently for Windows IT Pro.

Everything in this is as of the BETA version of the product, things may change between now and RTM (not feature complete or feature locked).


· Server Core Installation X64, Server with a GUI x64 (equivalent of full version of Windows). Server Core is now the default for Server 8.

· There is no 32 bit version of server and there will not be. No ARM version of server will be available either.

· Commands to switch between UI configurations (requires a reboot):

  • Powershell
    • Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra –Restart
    • Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra,Server-Guid-Shell –Restart
  • Dism:
    • Dism /online /disable-feature /featurename:ServerCore-FullServer
    • Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:ServerCore-FullServer

Server core:

· Server core – Requires approximately 50% less patching for a server core installation.

· In Windows Server 2008 R2 – you could remotely manage via Server Manager, .NET broken into smaller chunks so PowerShell became a viable option.

· You can shift between server core and GUI with a configuration and a reboot (see Larry Rayl’s article at: This allows you to install a server with the GUI, get it configured and then remove the GUII! You can still use Server Manager and MMC even without the GUI (it removes about 200 mb of size to just do the first level of removal, you can remotely manage the server via Server Manager). You can also remove all of the management Infrastructure which brings it down to a server core installation (after this is done, you cannot run Server Manager or MMS – bare bones server).

Features on demand:

· You can remove a feature from the disk itself to decrease the disk footprint (to shrink down virtual hard disks as an example).


· Concepts – the third age of computing:

  • Physical – Manage each server
  • Virtual – Manage each OS instance
  • Cloud – Manage the application

· Remote Management enabled by default (not remote desktop).

· Server Manager can also manage Windows Server 2008 (in addition to 2008 R2 and Server 8) with WMF 3

· Windows Management Framework 3 – need to install .NET Framework 4.0. Adds PowerShell 3.0, WMI Improvements, WinRM Improvements, Windows PowerShell Web Provider, Server Manager CIM Provider.

· Remote Server Administration Tools: Goal to run server core on all servers and manage them from Windows 8 clients. This will NOT run pre-Windows 8. But can connect to server 2008 r2 or Windows Server 8. Can select a single server or multiple servers and see a summary of the set of servers selected. Can select services, disregard specific events causing items to go Red, etc. Can create groups of servers and how they are displayed in Server Manager.

PowerShell V3:

· Provides Intellisense


· On logon launches the Server Manager by default but this can be changed to open the Metro style start menu.

· You don’t want to be managing locally. Your goal is to remotely manage groups of servers from Windows Client 8. The goal here is to change the way that we work so that we aren’t logging into each of the servers via RDP regularly.

· The explorer ribbon is in the Operating System now so that as an example in the computer view there is a ribbon on the top as we have seen in other Microsoft products but not up to this point in the Operating System itself.

· UI tips:

o Start menu in the bottom left, can right-click and see the list of options.

o Winkey plus C – can open the right side panel in the OS.

Roles & Features:

· You can install roles and features to a server or a VHD

· You can write out the role and feature information to an exported XML configuration (configurations can be saved during installation)

Active Directory:

· Simplified deployment – requires Windows Server 2003 forest functional level. The first Server 8 DC must be Enterprise Admin and Schema Admin. Subsequent DC’s only need Domain Admin for the target domain.

· DCPromo still exists but it’s “richer” as it includes all of the preparation as part of the process.

· The default now is to add a domain controller to an existing domain

· We now have the ability to view script and see the PowerShell script (like in Exchange) for Active Directory

· Active Directory Administrative Center enhancements:

  • Can be used for most AD GUI actions
  • Can be used on pre Windows Server 8 domains and domain controllers
    • Windows PowerShell History Viewer
    • Graphical Recycle Bin
    • Fine Grained Password Policy Management
  • With Windows 8 DC
    • Dynamic Access Control
    • Group Managed Service Accounts

· Why to never use a snapshot on a dc? This caused issues historically. In Server 8, a DC can detect a VM duplication or snapshot and handle the situation (Hyper-V Windows Server 8 only currently).

· You can now clone a DC and create a DC from the original DC. The PDC FSMO must be Windows Server 8 and only for Windows Server 8 DC’s.

· KMS moved into Active Directory. Uses LDAP instead of RPC for activation. Windows 8 machines automatically activate when joining the domain. “Active Directory Based Activation”. Only windows 8 uses AD BA, and AD BA/KMS can coexist.

· Dynamic Access Control: (only for files initially) is a claims-based authorization for both user and device claims.

· Group Policy: Many new settings for Windows 8, IE10, etc.

· SMB 2.2: Has changed significantly in Windows 8 and is required for Hyper-V and other application uses over file shares. Requires Windows 8 on both sides and provides transparent failover.

· Failover clustering: base for the Microsoft private cloud solution. Increased scalability to 64 node cluster, 4000 VM’s, 1024 VMs per host. Available in Standard Edition with all features. Easy migration wizards from 2007 R2 including VMs. Dynamic quorum.

· Failover clustering for VMs: virtual machine priority starts the most important ones first. Enhanced placement logical to include best memory resource and NUMA aware.

· Cluster aware updating is another feature in Windows Server 8 Beta.

· CSV’s – can be used beyond VM’s – file shares and such. Can also encrypt CSV with bitlocker. Cluster can start if Active Directory is unavailable.

· NIC teaming is now in the box.

· Demo – showed corrupting a file structure. Previously had to run a scan to fix the drive. Now can use Repair-Volume –Scan to identify corruptions. It does a spot fix of a corruption. Repair-Volume –SPOTFIX (only takes it offline to fix the file corruption identified). Very useful for large NTFS volumes as these avoid downtime to repair the corruption. With the spotfix if it is being performed on a CSV there is no downtime since CSV has its own redirection.

· Disk pools: Put physical disks into a pool. Can create different spaces within a in a pool. Each space can be simple, mirror or parity.  [This functionality is also available on the client].

· Data De-Duplication on a block level which finds duplicate chunks. Managed by PowerShell:

  • Import-Module Deduplication
  • Enable-DedupVolume <vol: or Mount path>
  • Start-Dedupjob <vol: or Mount path> –Type Optimization
  • Get-DedupStatus

Hyper-V and Windows Server 8 Beta:

· RDP Protocol version 8 new with Windows Server 8 / Windows 8.

· Software rasterizer – RemoteFX does not require a physical GPU – can use CPU (Aero 3D as an example without a physical GPU).

· User Disk for virtualization – Users’ data can be stored via folder redirection. User settings can be handled via roaming profiles. But these won’t work great. User Disk stores any personalization for the user. 

· RemoteFX updates:

  • WAN with UDP and TCP support
  • RemoteFX Network Auto Detect
  • Adaptive graphics with progressive rendering
  • Software rasterizer or GPU
  • Multitouch
  • USB redirection for session host
  • New metro style remote desktop app
  • DirectX11 (CPU must be SLAT)

· There are currently no additional requirements for Hyper-V in Windows Server 8 Beta beyond what was previously required for Hyper-V.

· Windows IT Pro – Check out the May edition for details on Network Virtualization in Windows Server 8 Beta (by John Savill)

· Concurrent Live Migrations – in a 10 gb network world, one migration will not saturate the network so concurrent Live Migrations are relevant.

· Shared nothing migration –  with no downtime migration of a VM from one host to another with no shared storage. Requires constrained delegation.

· Client Hyper-V: included in Windows 8 Client. Requires a SLAT processor. No Live Migration or Hyper-V replica.

· There is a free Microsoft Hyper-V server; Great for non-Windows Server workloads boot from VHD.


· Why the Fish in Windows Server 8 Beta? No idea – but it makes an 8 in its bubbles…


Additional Links:

Deploying Windows Server 8 Beta in SCVMM 2012 Beta:

Windows Server 8 Beta & Operations Manager 2012 RC:[scom].aspx

Windows Server 8 Beta–managing it with ConfigMgr 2012 RC and backing it up with DPM 2012 RC:–managing-it-with-configmgr-2012-rc-sccm-and-backing-it-up-with-dpm-2012-rc-scdpm.aspx 

Windows Server 8 Beta – Switching between Core and GUI:

Windows IT Pro for upcoming articles on Windows Server 8 Beta (John’s referenced above on Network Virtualization) and System Center 2012 (my article on System Center Operations Manager 2012 Dashboards should also be in the same edition I believe)! 


Summary: Overall, I was extremely excited to see the number of changes that are currently in the Windows Server 8 Beta and I’m looking forward to seeing what is available at RTM!