Microsoft Releases First Public Beta for 'Longhorn'
This feature-complete, third beta brings with it the ability to simplify
administration tasks via improved event logging, task
scheduling, enhanced remote management and the scripting capabilities of
Microsoft will release the feature-complete, third beta for Windows
Server "Longhorn" on April 25, which is also the first
public beta of the software.
The product remains on track for release to manufacturing in the second
half of 2007, and the beta code can be downloaded
Some 10,000 people in Microsoft's technical beta program have already
tested the product, while thousands more
downloaded or received the second beta and the Community Technology
Preview that followed through their TechNet and
MSDN subscriptions, Helene Love Snell, the senior product manager for
Windows Server, told eWEEK.
"We will be distributing beta 3 as broadly as possible to ensure the
maximum number of IT professionals, developers and
partners test and evaluate the new features. Our distribution programs
will offer this chance to literally hundreds of thousands
of people," she said.
Windows Server "Longhorn" builds on the improved reliability and
security of Windows Server 2003 R2, and brings with it the
ability to simplify administration tasks via improved event logging,
task scheduling, enhanced remote management and the
scripting capabilities of Windows PowerShell, she said.
Some of the new or improved features in beta 3 include a server manager
console that now has additional remote
administration tools to provide a more integrated management environment
and Windows Firewall with Advanced Security,
now on by default, to provide a persistent and more secure environment
beginning at install, she said.
Also in the beta is Active Directory Federation Services improvements,
which let customers implement new policies and make
it easier to set up a relationship between trusted partners, and the
Server Core installation option, which now comes with
additional roles and enhanced functionality, such as print services and
Active Directory Lightweight Services.
"The new Server Core installation option is a minimal installation of
Windows Server 'Longhorn' available with the standard,
enterprise and datacenter editions. All of the core kernel components
and subsystems are present, such as networking, file I/O
and security, but the graphical user interface and graphical utilities
such as the server manager, Microsoft Management Console
and Internet Explorer are not," Snell said.
This provides a reduced server footprint and potential attack surface,
which should result in less maintenance and greater
security and reliability, she said, adding that a Server Core
installation can still be managed remotely using traditional Microsoft
and third-party tools, while local administration can be done through
command line utilities, she said.
Some customers, such as Juergen Otter, the senior Active Directory
architect at Siemens AG, are pleased with the
enhancements. "We are very excited about beta 3. We love the new
features in Active Directory and the improvements to
Terminal Server," he said.
The product also includes a range of security enhancements, including
reducing the server footprint and potential attack surface
with the new Server Core installation option, while features like
Microsoft Network Access Protection, Read-Only Domain
Controllers and the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security help monitor
IIS (Internet Information Services) 7.0, the newest version of
Microsoft's Web server, also provides a more secure, extensible
platform for efficiently managing and reliably hosting Web applications
and services, Snell said.
Customers now will be able to host Web applications and .NET 3.0 Web
services on Windows Server "Longhorn" beta 3 in
live production environments, using the new IIS7 Go Live license.
"The IIS7 Go Live license limits the live production use of Windows
Server "Longhorn" beta 3 to Web workloads only
requiring IIS7, including Windows SharePoint Services. The IIS7 Go Live
License lets organizations push IIS7 into their
production Web serving environments, while enabling Web developers to Go
Live with their Web sites and applications on
free hosted offers," she said.
Five hosters, MaximumASP, DiscountASP.net, Applied Innovations,
Hostmysite.com and Web Fusion, are already using the
IIS7 Go Live license to offer Free IIS7 beta hosting to attract
bleeding-edge developers to their sites, while another three -
CrystalTech, Mosso and Affinity - plan to have offers up within the next
Asked whether Microsoft was recommending that testers run this beta in
production systems, Snell said that while there were
already hundreds of servers running Windows Server "Longhorn" in
production across Microsoft's own IT department and in
the data centers of its technology adoption program customers, beta 3
was not generally licensed for use in production
"So customers should restrict their beta 3 deployments to test
environments. But, through programs like IIS7 Go Live and our
upcoming Rapid Deployment Program, we will be offering supplemental
license agreements that will allow customers to deploy
in production," she said.
Microsoft, which has added functionality to the beta, did not anticipate
having to cut anything from the server software going
forward, she said, adding that the final product name would be announced
Windows Server "Longhorn" also includes simplified failover clustering,
dynamic partitioning and auto-tuning networking
features to automatically manage system resources and help ensure that
customers have uninterrupted and optimized access to
their company network, she said.
Asked about comments by analysts that features such as Network Access
Protection and support for the IPv6 networking
standard require users to make changes to their infrastructure, Snell
said that while Windows Server "Longhorn" was a major
operating system release with revolutionary, rather than evolutionary,
enhancements, Microsoft had designed the product to be
minimally disruptive to existing infrastructures.
"Role-based installation and management allows customers to deploy it in
specific roles and scenarios, such as Read Only
Domain Controller, IIS7, Terminal Services Gateway and Network Access
Services, without having to upgrade their entire
infrastructure. In addition, the dual-layer IPv4 and IPv6 stack means
that deploying the product in an existing environment will
yield better performance between it and other IPv6-enabled systems,
including Windows Vista, while offering complete
compatibility and interoperability with IPv4 systems, including any
previous versions of Windows," she said.
Microsoft's hardware partners have also welcomed the beta, which they
describe as a next-generation operating system, and
how it will take advantage of their chip sets.
"AMD encourages customers to download the beta and begin their
evaluations today. As a next-generation operating system,
Windows Server 'Longhorn' is designed to take advantage of the
innovative features of the AMD Opteron processor,
including 64-bit, multicore, virtualization and power management," said
Joe Menard, the corporate vice president of software
strategy at AMD.
For her part, Diane Bryant, the general manager of Intel's server
platforms group, said the beta was an important next step
toward the future of IT infrastructure management in data centers.
"The combination of multicore Intel Xeon processor technology and Intel
Itanium2 processor technology and Windows Server
'Longhorn' will maximize control for customers over their infrastructure
while providing unprecedented availability, energy
efficiency, flexibility and IT productivity," she said.
The release of Windows Server 'Longhorn' later this year follows those
for Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system, while
the next version of Visual Studio, code-named "Orcas," and Microsoft SQL
Server, code-named "Katmai," also are under
"These products will provide organizations with an advanced development
and Web platform as well as streamlined data
management and analysis, enabling infrastructure optimization," Snell
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