The Windows 7 Operating Systems – Better Together

Ever since Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 RTM/SP1, Microsoft's Windows client and server operating systems have been virtually joined at the hip. As a future product development strategy, the two platforms will evolve together, an aspect valid not only for Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2, but also for the forthcoming Windows 7 operating systems. Microsoft confirmed at the Windows hardware Engineering Conference in Los Angeles this week that Windows 7 and Windows Server 7 (Windows Server 2008 R2) would advance in lockstep. During his keynote address, Bill Laing, Corporate Vice President, Windows Server and Solutions Division, exemplified several instances in which Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 would work better together.

Not only is Microsoft developing Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in tandem, but the company is also attempting to convince customers that the two operating systems must be used as a pair. “Because Windows Server 2008 R2 is being developed in tandem with the Windows 7 code, Windows Server 2008 R2 has several features that are designed to work better with computers running Windows 7,” Laing explained.

Just as Windows 7 hit M3 stage, Windows Server 2008 is also at Milestone 3, with Microsoft providing a taste of both platforms to testers. Windows 7 pre-Beta Build 6801 was delivered to both WinHEC 2008 and PDC 2008 participants, with the pre-Beta bits of Windows Server 2008 R2 M3 having been made available at the WinHEC event. Microsoft has already offered Windows Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2 to Technology Adoption Program (TAP) customers for evaluation.

Laing indicated a few examples of technologies which make Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 play nice together, including Branch Cache. “Any time a document is retrieved by a client in a company’s branch office, Branch Cache keeps a copy in the branch, so if another client in the same office wants to retrieve that document, it can be served up locally instead of across the WAN. The result is a significant reduction in bandwidth use between corporate offices and branch sites, and a huge potential cost saving because most organizations pay for bandwidth by the byte. It also gives branch offices a degree of autonomy in case the link to headquarters is severed for any reason,” Laing said.

In addition to Branch Cache, Laing also praised the impact that the future iteration Hyper-v is bound to deliver. In this context, Microsoft plans to offer Live Migration support with Hyper-V, as a continuation of its efforts to democratize virtualization. But there are additional features that have made Microsoft present Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 as an item.

“Remote Desktop Services (RDS), the new name for Terminal Services, is another example. We expanded RDS in Windows Server 2008 R2 so that you can run the desktop or applications in the datacenter while your users can be anywhere,” Laing stated. “Another feature, DirectAccess, allows remote Windows users to securely connect to their work environment as if they were on the corporate LAN, and also lets IT administrators fully manage remote PCs securely, as if they were on-premises, but without using a VPN.”

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