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The Different Flavors of Windows Server 2008

The Windows Server 2008 family consists of several different network operating systems that are designed to serve businesses of different sizes and different needs.

The members of the Windows Server 2008 family are listed here and discussed in the sections that follow:

Standard Edition

Standard Server is considered the entry-level version of Windows Sever 2008 (if there is such a thing as “entry-level” with server platforms). It is suitable for smaller businesses and organizations (“smaller” meaning users in the hundreds, not thousands, although multiple standard servers in a tree or trees would certainly accommodate even the largest of companies).

Standard Server supplies all the features discussed in this hour, including Hyper-V virtualization, and IIS7. It also provides for Network Address Translation and multihomed servers (servers with more than one network interface) that allow multiple network clients to share the same Internet connection in a small business setting.

Standard Server supports multiple processors (four cores on both x86 and x64 systems) and up to 4GB of RAM on an x86-based server and 32GB of RAM on an X64-based server. Standard Server provides a maximum of 250 Remote Access connections and 250 Terminal Services connections.

By the Way

Because this book is an introduction to and survey of installing and administering a Windows network environment, we primarily cover the tools and features found in Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition. These features and server roles would also be available in the Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition. The Web Edition is intended as a web server product and does not contain many of the standard features for deploying a domain.

Enterprise Edition

The Enterprise Edition supplies all the features and tools provided by the Standard Edition. The major difference is that the Enterprise Edition is considered a workhorse platform for very large enterprisewide networks.

To provide the processing power needed for larger networks, the Enterprise Edition can support up to eight processors and also supports server clustering (up to 16 cluster nodes, meaning that 16 servers can be tied together using the clustering feature and thus can act as one megaserver).

The Enterprise Edition on an x86-based server allows up to 64GB of RAM and up to 2TB on an x64-based system. This edition also provides for unlimited connections by Remote Access and Terminal Services clients.

Datacenter Edition

The Datacenter Edition provides all the features found in the other editions and allows you to deploy servers with a great deal of hardware muscle. The Datacenter Edition provides for multiple processors (32 x86 and 64 x64) and has the same potential RAM capacity as the Enterprise Edition (64GB on x86 and 2TB on X64).

The Datacenter Edition provides for unlimited Remote Access and Terminal Services connections. It also grants you unlimited deployment of virtual servers, whereas the limit with the Enterprise Edition is four and with the Standard Edition is one. The Datacenter Edition is considered the appropriate platform for very large-scale networks requiring access to large databases and real-time transaction validation.

Web Edition

The Web Edition is considered the ideal platform for web hosting; it is a scaled-down version of Windows Server and does not provide tools for deploying a domain-based network. The Web Edition provides IIS7 as its web platform.

The Web Edition supports multiple processors (four on both x86 and x64 systems) and up to 4GB of RAM on an x86-based server and 32 GB of RAM on an x64-based server. As a product intended for delivery of web-based content, the Web Edition does not support common server services such as Remote Access or Terminal Services.

By the Way

Microsoft also provides two additional versions of Windows Server 2008: Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based systems and Windows HPC Server 2008. The Itanium version is designed for networks that require large databases and custom applications. The HPC version is designed for high-performance computing (thus the HPC) environments using server clustering. Bottom line: Both of these versions are for big, high-capacity networks.

All the versions of Windows Server 2008, except for the Web Edition, include the Hyper-V virtualization platform. However, you can also purchase the Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter versions of Windows Server 2008 without the Hyper-V technology. Obviously, Microsoft provides enough flavors of Windows Server 2008 that you can select the edition that will work best for your networking needs.

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