The beta of Windows Server “8” is now available for IT professionals and software developers around the world to download, to evaluate, and to give us feedback on.

In September we introduced Windows Server “8” with a preview to help developers and hardware partners prepare new and existing applications, systems and devices. The response from that community, along with hundreds of customers in our early adopters program, has been incredibly positive. A common theme of feedback has been how broad and deep the new capabilities are.

Now is the time for you, IT professionals in organizations of all sizes, to get your hands on this new release, discover the new capabilities and contribute to the development of what we call the cloud-optimized OS. 

I’ll highlight in this post just a few examples of new capabilities that you’ll want to explore. 

With the new Hyper-V we are taking virtualization above and beyond to provide a multi-tenant platform for cloud computing. For example, with Hyper-V Network Virtualization you can create virtual networks so different business units, or even multiple customers, can seamlessly share network infrastructure.  You will be able to move virtual machines and servers around without losing their network assignments. 

In Windows Server “8” we are delivering high availability and disaster recovery through software technology on much more cost effective hardware. For example, with File Server Transparent Failover you can now more easily perform hardware or software maintenance of nodes in a File Server cluster by moving file shares between nodes with little interruption to server applications that are storing data on those file shares.

We’re also delivering a tremendous amount of new capabilities for multi-machine management and automation. You will want to explore the dramatic new improvements to Server Manager, as well as the new Windows PowerShell. With 2,300 commandlets provided out of the box, Windows PowerShell allows you to automate everything you can do manually with the user interface. And, with technologies like Intellisense, we’ve made it very easy for you to master all of that power.   

Additionally, Windows Server “8” provides a powerful server application platform that enables you to develop and host the most demanding of application workloads. For example, with .NET Framework 4.5 you can take advantage of new asynch language and library support to build server and web applications that scale far beyond what other platforms provide. Our new IIS 8 web server provides better security isolation and resource sand-boxing between applications, native support for web sockets, and the ability to host significantly more sites on a server.

This is just a brief taste of the hundreds of features and capabilities you will find in the beta. (My team has written a number of other posts you can read here.) If you have been using and providing feedback on the developer preview of Windows Server “8,” thank you! I can’t wait for more people to start trying out Windows Server “8” and letting us know what they think.

Bill Laing
Corporate Vice President, Server and Cloud