Windows Server “8” Beta released

This morning, Microsoft announced the release of the Windows Server “8” beta. Windows Server “8” is the successor to Windows Server 2008 R2 and is a member of the Windows 8 family.

Microsoft has four pillars around the release of Windows Server “8”:

– Windows Server “8” goes beyond virtualization – With this release, Microsoft is building an infrastructure capable of running much more than a simple virtual machine. Features are being built in that enable new public and private cloud based scenarios.

– Windows Server “8” brings the power of many servers and the simplicity of one – New features are added that enable users to take better advantage of commodity storage, provide simplification to server management, and provide uptime in a better and more cost-effective manner.

– Windows Server “8” is designed for every app and every cloud – Server “8” will enable flexibility in deploying applications on-premise or in the cloud or a combination thereof using similar tools and frameworks. Windows Server “8” will be highly scalable and elastic providing for better density and efficiency, as well as providing a better platform for hosting providers.

– Windows Server “8” enables the modern workstyle – Server “8” enables enterprises to offer access to corporate data and applications on any device while providing a secure and seamless experience no matter where users are in the world.

Microsoft’s Bill Laing has a post for more on Windows Server “8” that I highly suggest reading.

If you want to download and evaluate Windows Server “8”, click here

Download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Server “8” Beta

In the interest of speed, here are the download links for Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows Server “8” Beta.

5MB ESD Download link – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/download

Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISOs – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/iso

RSAT Tools for Windows 8 Consumer Preview – http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=28972

Fix for servers with Exchange 2007 / 2010 and Internet Explorer 9 installed

If you are a Small Business Server 2008 or 2011 user, you have Internet Explorer 9 installed on your server, and you try to close the Exchange Management Console, you may encounter an error similar to the one listed below.

You must close all dialog boxes before you can close Exchange Management Console

Microsoft has released a fix for this issue and I’ve included the download links below. In order to install this fix, you must have the latest updates installed from Microsoft Update as of October 11th, 2011. If you have not updated your server(s), do so before installing this patch.

If you are not experiencing this issue, it is advised that you don’t install this patch, as it has not been as thoroughly tested, and is planned to be rolled up into a future Internet Explorer update.

For Windows Server 2008 / Small Business Server 2008 systems – click here

For Windows Server 2008 R2 / Small Business Server 2011 systems – click here

Microsoft Knowledge Base Article #: 2624899

A server for the home or small business

After having used such servers as the HP MediaSmart Server, the HP Proliant MicroServer, and various Dell servers, I decided to set out to see if I could build my own server for a reasonable cost with features I desired.

The intent of this build is to showcase a server that can be used in the home with Windows Home Server 2011 (yes, this build is somewhat overkill), and in home based / small businesses, with Small Business Server 2011 Essentials or Small Business Server 2011 Standard.

My requirements were as follows:

· Total cost could not exceed $1500. (Ideally, I wanted to stay at or below $1000.)

· All parts used must be server grade. By that I mean, must have 3-5 year warranty depending on part, and similar to parts used by the major server manufacturers.

· Must support future expandability. Must support large amounts of memory and case used must support addition of multiple hard drives.

· With Windows 8 and Windows 8 Server on the horizon, processor support for Second Level Address Translation (SLAT) and hardware virtualization were key to this build.

So what parts did I use?

· Antec VSK-2450 Mid Tower Case

· Intel Server Board S1200BTS

· Intel Xeon Processor E3-1230 (3.2GHz, 8MB Cache)

· Kingston 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 ECC RAM

· Western Digital RE4 Enterprise 1.0TB Hard Drive

Specs as configured:

· Intel Server Board S1200BTS

· 16GB ECC DDR3 RAM

· (1) 1.0TB Western Digital RE4 Enterprise Hard Drive

· Intel Xeon E3-1230 Processor

How does this build stack up to my requirements?

· Total cost: $1050+tax. I bought all the parts I needed from a local vendor instead of online and was willing to pay a bit more because of it. It is entirely possible to find these parts for cheaper online, but if you can, support your local businesses.

· Warranties on all parts are at least three years. Western Digital’s warranty is five years on enterprise hard drives, and on memory Kingston has a lifetime warranty.

· From an expandability standpoint, the case allows for up to 6 hard drives, the motherboard allows for 6 SATA connections, and the motherboard supports a maximum of 32GB of RAM.

· The processor used in this build supports hardware virtualization and SLAT, or as Intel calls it, Extended Page Tables. When looking for an Intel-based processor to be used for virtualization I suggest ensuring that it supports Intel-VT and Extended Page Tables. The Intel ARK tool, http://ark.intel.com, is a great resource for that type of information.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be showcasing more about what this server can do.

Taking a bite out of the Big Apple

I’ve arrived in New York City for the 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup. For those of you just joining us, the Microsoft Imagine Cup is the premier student technology competition. I tend to tell people that it’s the Olympics of technology.

At the Imagine Cup, the top students from around the world come together to compete against each other in categories such as Software Design, Game Design, Embedded Development, and the Windows Phone 7 challenge just to name a few.

I’ll be here covering five teams and their progress throughout the Worldwide Finals. My teams are as follows:

The Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals begin this Friday, July 8th and end Wednesday, July 13th.

For more on Imagine Cup please visit www.imaginecup.com, or search for #ImagineCup on Twitter. You can also follow me on Twitter, @tziegmann, to follow along this week as well.

DataCore DriveHarmony now available in Beta

Today, DataCore has released a beta of their DriveHarmony software for Windows Home Server 2011.

This beta release will expire after 30 days, and is NOT meant for production use. DO NOT use production data with this release.

I’m downloading right now and will have more later. If you want to download the beta, click the link below.

Pro tip–The one where cfg.ini would not be recognized

Figured I’d post this in case anyone else runs into this issue. I was performing an unattended install of Windows Home Server 2011 and the setup failed. I tried to use the same cfg.ini file again, however, setup didn’t like the file the second time around. Knowing that I hadn’t changed anything, I opened the file and noticed something strange. There was an additional line that Setup adds to the file once its used it.

The line added is located in the [WinPE] section and is called Processed=true.

In my testing, removing this line will allow the cfg.ini file to be used again.

image     image

                          Before setup runs                                       After setup runs

This tip applies to:

  • Windows Home Server 2011
  • Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials
  • Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials