Considerations when deploying a Windows Server 2008 Edition

Windows Server 2008 tutorial   In this article we will talk about the things that needs consideration when deploying a Windows Server 2008 infrastructure. There are many roles and features that this Server edition supports so you will need to take extra care when deploying such infrastructure. Imagine that without proper consideration, at some point you will have to make a change in the network that requires you to reinstall the majority of the servers because there was no proper planning in the beginning. One example of such situation is when you decide to deploy BitLocker on all Windows Servers but you haven’t partitioned the hard drives accordingly from the beginning.

   Before you can actually deploy a Windows Server 2008 you will need to analyze the hardware requirements and the capacity of your devices. The minimum and recommended requirements of Windows Sever 2008 Editions are the following:

 1 GHz for x86 and 1,4 GHz for x64 architecture
 2 GHz or higher
 512 MB
 2 GB
 Hard drive
 15 GB
 40 GB
Note that the minimum space indicated in the table is not used entirely when installing the OS. Microsoft has taken into consideration the future installation of roles and features on a Windows Server 2008 Edition. Note that x86 processors support only the Windows Server x86 version while x64 processors support both versions.
We will now talk about the versions available with Windows Server 2008 Editions. Note that I will cover the most important Editions:
Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition
– the x86 architectures support 4 GB of RAM at maximum while the x64 architectures support 64 GB of RAM
– both architectures supports 4 processors at  maximum
– can support most Windows Server Roles (DNS, DHCP, AD, Network Load Balancing) but does not support Failover Clustering or ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services)
Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition
–  x86 architectures can use 64 GB of memory at maximum while x64 editions offer support for 2TB of memory
– both architectures can use 8 processors at maximum
– besides the features available with the Standard Edition, this version can use features like Failover Clustering and ADFS.
Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition
best deployed in infrastructures that use virtualization
– x86 supports 64 GB of RAM and 32 processors at maximum
– x64 supports 2 TB of RAM and 64 processors at maximum
– includes all Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition features
– offers unlimited virtual image rights
all processors noted in this section are used in Symmetric multiprocessing (SMP)

   There are also Windows Web Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems but , those are used only in remote situations.
   There is none extra Edition that can be installed with any Windows Server 2008 Edition and it’s called Core Edition. Whenever you purchase a Windows Server 2008 Edition, the Core version will be included in the license and can be installed whenever necessary. Core edition installs Windows Server without GUI and the interaction with the OS is done through command shell. This version is a bit similar to Linux OS because it does not rely on a graphical server.
There are several advantages when using a Server Core Edition:
– the hardware requirements are lower than using a Windows Server Edition with graphical server
– in terms of security, the system has reduced attack surface because many components are not installed with the Core Edition
– the server is installed with the minimum features so it’s up to the administrator to install and configure the components required
– requires fewer updates for its roles and features
There are also disadvantages when using Server Core editions:
– it requires more technical expertise from the administrator since all installation/configurations are done using the shell.
– does not support .NET Framework so IIS will not work with web apps that uses this technology
– Application Server, WDS (Windows Deployment Services), ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services) or ADCS (Active Directory Certificate Services) are not supported by Core Editions
– does not support full Powershell features

If you choose to upgrade your Windows Server 2003 Edition to Windows Server 2008, you’ll need to take into consideration the fact that you can upgrade one Edition of 2003 only to certain 2008 Edition. The upgrade can be initialized within the OS not by booting with an installation media. Personally I think it’s best to back-up all data and applications from your Windows Server, perform a format and do a clean installation then restore your data rather than upgrading a Windows Server 2003 Edition. Note that the upgrade path you choose depends on the Windows Server 2003 Edition:

Version that will be upgraded
 Available upgrade paths
 Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition
  Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition
  Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition
 Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
  Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition
 Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition
  Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition
   When upgrading the OS, a compatibility report will be performed to verify if your Windows Server 2003 edition can be upgraded to 2008. What’s cool about this tool is that it gives you advice on how to customize your server to successfully upgrade it to a higher version.
   That’s it for this article folks, hope it will serve you well when planning to deploy a Windows Server 2008 Edition. For any misunderstandings don’t hesitate to post a comment in our dedicated section and I will respond as soon as possible. Wish you a great day!

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