Home > Virtualization > What’s new in the Windows 2008 R2 RC

What’s new in the Windows 2008 R2 RC

Windows Server 2008 R2 isn’t just about performance, and it certainly isn’t a fine-tuning of the Windows 2008, as its name implies.

The new Windows 2008 Server R2 increases the capabilities and features of the Windows Server line-up.

The RC version includes a number of new features and changes since the Beta.

Hyper-V improvements

Hyper-V 2.0 will include a long-awaited Live Migration feature. But there are some changes coming in:

          VM Chimney provides TCP offload support to virtual machines. That is, it allows you to map a VM to a physical network interface card (NIC) on the host computer, and bypass the virtual interface, improving performance. This feature is actually disabled by default because certain non-standard workloads actually experience a performance decrease. But in certain scenarios, like SQL backup and restore and Live Migration, VM Chimney will provide dramatic improvements.

          Virtual Machine Queue (VMQ).  Like VM Chimney, it’s disabled by default. The reason this time is that only one vendor, Intel, currently makes VMQ-enabled hardware, and Microsoft didn’t want a feature enabled that wasn’t doing anything. If you do get a VMQ-enabled NIC (Qualcomm has also announced they’re entering this market), you can enable it and see a performance bump.

 

Performance and scalability improvements

Windows Server 2008 R2 bumps up the number of logical processors supported by the OS from 64 to 256.

Windows Server 2008 R2 provides power consumption reductions compared with Server 2008 and, more dramatically, with Server 2003.

R2 also offers some improvements around the size of the working memory footprint. Using its internal engineering memory metric (i.e. not Task Manager), Windows Server 2003 Enterprise occupies about 250 MB of RAM at idle. This compares to a bit over 150 MB for Windows Server 2008 and about 105 MB for R2. Server Core sees similar improvements: It’s down from about 130 MB in Server 2008 to under 100 MB for R2.

 

Finally, WAN file copies see significant improvements, though you will need compatible systems (i.e. Windows Server 2008 R2 and/or Windows 7) on both ends of the transfers (hub and branch) to see them. Microsoft says that small and medium file uploads are up to 20 percent improved over Windows Server 2008/Vista, small and medium file downloads are improved up to 47 percent, and large file uploads are improved by up to 100 percent. Microsoft is also seeing up to 8 times improvements copying files across WANs with RoboCopy using its new multithreading capability.

 

Note :  Windows Server 2008 R2 is a 64-bit only release. Microsoft projects that the next Windows Server release will occur in 2012.

Categories: Virtualization
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