Live from TechMentor: Q&A with David Lowe on Windows Server 2008

After this week's opening joint TechMentor and VSLive! conferenceskeynote in Las Vegas, we caught up with Microsoft's David Lowe, senior product manager, Microsoft Windows Server Division, to talk more about new features coming in Windows Server 2008 and more. (Note: The TechMentor and VSLive! conferences are both owned by 1105 Media, the publisher of this Web site. )

The 2008 products will have an official launch on Feb. 27, 2008, but what will the actual ship dates be? [As of press time, SQL is expected to RTM in Q2 2008, Windows Server 2008 in Q1 and VS 2008 before the other two.]

David Lowe: We don't talk about ship dates. But the point of the launch is really to excite people about the availability of the three products, whether its existing availability or upcoming availability. The point is really just to focus attention on the way those three products will integrate and be that trusted platform for next generation business applications.

Is Windows Server 2008 still on schedule?

D.L.: We're on track to release in first quarter of 2008 and that's still the plan of record.

What feature of Windows Server 2008 are you personally most excited about?

D.L.: Personally, I'm most excited about Server Core, because Server Core allows administrators to be able to deploy a minimal installation with a very small footprint and a much-reduced potential attack surface. Because you only actually install the subsystems that you need to have a functioning server -- which still supports a number of different circles, like Active Directory, domain services, file, print, IIS, DHCP, DNS -- and because it will also be the installation of choice for Windows virtualization, it also means that administrators will be able really target workloads more easily to their hardware...while requiring much less maintenance, far fewer updates and, therefore, less management overall.

With this combination of releases, there's a lot of focus on server virtualization. Can you share more on that?

D.L.: Customers keep telling us how important virtualization is because they're running out of space in their data centers, or because they want to reduce their power consumption, or they want to be able to take advantage of their existing hardware and optimize both hardware and software usage in their data centers.

Server virtualization allows customers to run multiple operating systems on a single piece of hardware. It also provides much great flexibility in being able to move running instances from one physical server to another -- from being able to dynamically add resources to a running virtual machine if it needs more memory or needs additional CPU processing power. It also means that you can quickly provision test and development environments without having to have multiple machines lying around -- very handy for developers. So there are so many great scenarios where virtualization is going to help customers better optimize the resources that they have.

What does Windows Server 2008 mean for the average developer?

D.L.: They can take advantage of IIS 7, obviously, for building great Web applications and be able to use the skills that they've built around .NET to be able to extend the functionality of of IIS. To be able to quickly and easily implement more interactive Web applications, take advantage of the .NET communications framework which is built into Windows Server 2008 for building Web service-based solutions.

They can also use the .NET Framework to build out applications and take advantage of some of the features of Windows Server 2008, whether that's taking advantage of the new TCP/IP stack, the networking APIs we made available [or] the APIs that we're making available also for vitalization.

Plus, they can also take advantage of the reliability features like transactional file and registry operations, which means, for example, if you're installing an application, you'll be able to commit the changes that you made to a single transaction. So there's definitely a lot for developers in the platform.

Anything else that you want to share with our readers?

D.L.: We're encouraging people to update their skills and get up to speed with Windows Server 2008. There's a lot of great resources online: free e-learning, free e-reference from Microsoft Press, and a lot of great TechNet and MSDN articles.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital strategy. She also serves as executive editor of the group's media Web sites, and you'll even find her byline on, the group's newest site for enterprise developers working with AI. She recently gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web technology may impact publishers' bottom lines. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.


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