Another new function is the Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC) that allows IT staff to configure the Active Directory infrastructure as read-only. Such a configuration keeps Active Directory replication unidirectional, rather than bidirectional, as it is normally configured. An organization could use this setup once again in the branch office location where connections back to the central office may not be as fast or as reliable. In this situation, Active Directory would be configured at the central office and then sent out to remote sites before it is accessed. Combining configurations of Server Core, BitLocker and RODC provides a level of security in the Server 2008 release impossible in prior releases. Configuring machines as read-only guarantees the data cannot be compromised even if a hacker were able to penetrate perimeter defenses. Also, if a theft were to occur in which a server was stolen at a remote site, BitLocker guarantees the data contained on the machine to be indecipherable, while RODC controls allow for administrators to reconfigure the network with a few clicks of the mouse.
Internet Information Services (IIS) is the server-side technology that first became available with Windows NT 3.51 back in 1995. With the seventh full release of IIS available for the first time in Server 2008, the service becomes fully configurable. Web administrators specify precisely which services they would like to enable – and which services they would like to disable. All of IIS 7 is also supported by the new Server Manager console.
Versions and Licensing
Several different product editions of Windows Server 2008 are available. Depending upon the version, each type is configured for specific hardware platforms, such as 32 bit or 64 bit, and versions are available with virtualization capability built in, while others leave the function out.
It is important to understand Microsoft’s different available methods of licensing when purchasing server products. The Microsoft Open License is intended for smaller customers with less than 250 desktop computers in their network. As few as five licenses can be purchased and with these licenses, the owner has the right to transfer images to different machines or transfer a license to another machine.
Microsoft Volume Licensing is intended for networks serving more than 250 computers. Within this group are several account levels that offer flexible payment scheduling. The same rights are established as with the Open License, but there are added discounts for the volume purchases.
Both types of licensing come with the option to add Microsoft’s Software Assurance plan, which provides maintenance for Microsoft products.
Software Assurance includes comprehensive support including training and the ability to speak with Microsoft representatives to assist in deploying and managing Server 2008 software. Software Assurance should not be overlooked in any Microsoft purchase. With the purchase, software upgrades are included in addition to Version Rights, which guarantees the purchaser the right, at no extra charge, to new editions of the product purchased should one become available during the length of the Software Assurance contract.