Windows Server 2008 is a server operating system produced and released by Microsoft on February 27, 2008 as a successor of Windows Server 2003, released nearly five years earlier. It includes numerous new capabilities and features which make it a valuable upgrade for any organization. Thus, answer to the question why use Windows server 2008 could be to get benefits from its new and dynamic features compared to Windows Server 2003. The key features of Windows server 2008 include :
- Server Core : Server 2008 integrates Server Core installation. It provides the minimum installation required to carry out a specific server role, such as for a DHCP, DNS or print server. This is attractive from a security standpoint because fewer applications and services on the sever make for a smaller attack surface. Server core allows less maintenance and management with fewer patches to install. It takes up as little as 3Gb of disk space according to Microsoft.
- Virtualization : Embedding virtualization technology in Server 2008 was bit like embedding Internet Explorer into Windows . The virtualization was not available with the initial launch of Server 2008, Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor-based virtualization technology promised to be a star attraction of Server 2008 for many organisations.
- Windows PowerShell : Powershell command line and scripting language has proved popular in Linux environments. PowerShell included in Server 2008, can make jobs quicker and easier to perform than going through the GUI. It’s one of those features that once you’ve gotten used to it, you’ll never want to give up.
- Better security : Various security features built into Server 2008, such as the ability to reduce attack surfaces by running minimal installations, and specific features like BitLocker and NAP make it more advantageous to Server 2003.
- Bitlocker : The physical security of the server is sub-optimal. The encryption of a system drive can be a sensible security measure for servers located in remote branch offices.However, with a Bitlocker encryption integrated in Server 2008 the data can be protected even if the server is physically removed or booted from removable media into a different operating system that might otherwise give an intruder access to data which is protected in a Windows environment.
- Enhanced terminal services : A terminal service TS RemoteApp beefed up in Server 2008 enables remote users to access a centralized application (rather than an entire desktop) that appears to be running on the local computer’s hard drive. Other terminal service, theTS Gateway secures sessions, which are then tunnelled over https, so users don’t need to use a VPN to use RemoteApps securely over the Internet.
- Read Only Domain Controllers (RODC) : Servers at branch offices rarely have the same physical security protecting as corporate data centers which makes branch office servers a convenient launch pad for attacks back to the main corporate servers. Thus, RODC makes an Active Directory database read-only which results in any mischief carried out at the branch office not being able propagate its way back to poison the Active Directory system as a whole
- Role-based installation : The concept of Role-based installation is that rather than configuring a full server, we simply specify the role the server is to play, and Windows will install what’s necessary . It is the easiest way to provision a particular server that reduces the attack surface that containing unwanted components presenting a security risk to server.
- IIS 7 : IIS 7 is a web server bundled with Server 2008. It is a big upgrade from the previous version. It provides significant changes in terms of security and the overall implementation which make this version very attractive. Its ability to delegate administration of servers (and sites) to site admins while restricting their privileges is centre of attention.
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