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Microsoft Details Windows Server 2008 Versions, Pricing

New server OS from Microsoft will come in eight different versions, including Web-specific server and server virtualization product.

Microsoft, continuing its tradition of offering a cornucopia of product versions, announced today that there will be eight versions of Windows Server 2008. Included in the SKUs are a Web-specific server and its server virtualization product, newly-christened "Hyper-V."

Windows 2008 is currently at the first release candidate stage. Although Microsoft hasn't given a specific timeline for commercial availability, sources inside Microsoft have indicated that the company has made it a top priority to make sure the server is out by the "Global Launch Wave" date of Feb. 27, 2008. Windows 2008 will join to other important server release announcements -- SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008. VS 2008 will actually be available late this month, however, and SQL 2008 is slated for release in the second quarter of next year, most likely in June.

Microsoft detailed pricing and availability for Windows 2008, formerly codenamed Longhorn, in a press release:

"Windows Server 2008 is available in eight versions, three of which include Hyper-V:

  • Windows Server 2008 Standard. This version has built-in, enhanced Web and virtualization capabilities. With Windows Server 2008 Standard edition, customers get one virtual instance per license.
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise. Windows Server 2008 Enterprise has the same features as Windows Server 2008 Standard, but with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise edition, customers get four virtual instances per license.
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter. Windows Server 2008 Datacenter delivers an enterprise-class platform for deploying business-critical applications. With Windows Server 2008 Datacenter edition, customers receive unlimited virtual instances per license.

Two versions offered without Hyper-V are targeted at specific workloads:

  • Windows Web Server 2008. Designed to be used as a single-purpose Web server. Integrated with the newly re-architected Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0, ASP.NET, and the Microsoft .NET Framework.
  • Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems. Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems is optimized for large databases, and line-of-business and custom applications. Support for Itanium-based systems will now be offered through the new Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems edition, targeted at customers using the Intel Itanium platform and designed for these specific workloads.

Microsoft will also offer a range of versions of Windows Server 2008 without Hyper-V:

  • Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter without Hyper-V

All will be available in 32-bit or 64-bit versions, with the exception of Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems, which will only be available as a 64-bit version. Other changes include the availability of Windows Web Server 2008, a 64-bit edition of Web server. The Hyper-V feature will only be available with 64-bit editions of Windows Server 2008.

Pricing for all Windows Server 2008 products will be increasing by approximately 1 percent for all distribution channels. Estimated MSRP are listed by each version:

  • Windows Server 2008 Standard: $999 (with five Client Access Licenses, or CALs)
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise: $3,999 (with 25 CALs)
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter: $2,999 (per processor)
  • Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems: $2,999 (per processor)
  • Windows Web Server 2008: $469
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V: $971 (with five CALs)
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V: $3,971 (with 25 CALs)
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter without Hyper-V: $2,971 (per processor)"

Thus, Hyper-V is just $28. The version of Hyper-V that initially ships with Windows 2008 will be a beta; Microsoft has repeatedly stated that the first official version will appear six months later (see related story).

A posting on Microsoft's server division blog explains that Windows 2008 is priced nearly the same as the previous Windows server, Windows Server 2003. ";The licensing remains generally the same as Windows Server 2003 R2 (eg. Enterprise comes with 4 additional virtual guest instances, Datacenter comes with unlimited virtual guest instances), but we made one change for Standard. Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition license allowed customers to run the instance either in the physical or virtual environment, but not with the same license. Windows Server 2008 Standard will now allow 1+1 licensing (1 physical and 1 virtual instance running at the same time). The requirement for having Client Access Licenses (CALs) has not changed, meaning that when Windows Server 2008 comes out, CALs will have to be upgraded to Windows Server 2008 as well. Pricing will also be very similar to Windows Server 2003, with the exception of an approximately 1% increase."

Windows 2008 is Microsoft's first new server in five years, and has suffered numerous delays. The most recent setback was announced in August, when the server team stated that the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) date had slipped from late this year to early next.

The new OS unveils a number of anticipated technologies, including Server Core, which is a subset of functionality tuned to certain tasks like DNS, Web serving and print serving; PowerShell, which is a scripting interface that allows most server tasks to be automated, and Read-only domain controllers, which enhances security by restricting access to critical servers that run the network. In addition, Windows 2008 includes a number of smaller, yet still significant, improvements.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization Review.

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