j0422203 Have you ever noticed how sometimes sweeping changes can occur without pomp and circumstance right under our noses and we fail to notice that anything has happened because we are so used to doing things the same old way.  Have you been to a ghost town… uhhh.. I mean the local branch of your bank lately.  Wow! What an eye opener.  At my local branch (which I only go to because they give free suckers to my kids, and me, and because my father in law still has clients who insist on writing checks) there is rarely another patron in the bank with me.  I don’t remember the last time I waited in an actual line to talk to the teller (who incidentally has a new novel she is reading every time I come in.)  What happened to the bank branch?  Online banking.  It was a sweeping change.  It happened fast and quietly. Today I manage the affairs of a complex financial portfolio from the comfort of my home office and I have access 24/7.

Microsoft has transformed Windows Server in this same quiet and powerful fashion.  The media is not pushing the stories. There are tons of IT shops that don’t even know what happened because the  old ways are still supported (at least for the time being.)  The changes are broad and deep.  The companies who have taken notice are reaping huge benefits.

There are some key voices who have taken notice of what’s happening.  David Strom posted a great article at e security planet in which he details some of the major changes.  The article is a great summary of some of the changes that will drive future adoption of Windows Server 2008 R2.  One of the comments Strom makes in the intro paragraphs is very telling.  He says,

“…despite the similarities, under the covers, R2 is very different than the first version of Server 2008 ….”

He’s absolutely right.  We start all the way down at the way the operating system controls power consumption from the processor, to protocol level with new versions of TCP/IP and RDP, Virtualization and Hyper-V, Remote Desktop Services, Direct Access, VPN, Powershell capabilities, a new web platform, IIS 7.5,  powerful interoperability, and on and on and on.  

So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that in every facet of the server operating system Microsoft has radically innovated and drastically improved.  Check out he What’s New in Windows Server R2 page.

Check out the 5 pillars and then keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. 

       Some key organizations are taking notice and are finding that many of these new features have benefits related to efficiency, management, and many times cost.  Gold Bars

Continental airlines projects cost savings of $1.5 million  annually through virtualization availably in Windows Server 2008 R2.

Podravka foods will cut their It costs by $2 million through server downsizing and reduced power consumption using Virtualization. 

Convergent will implement direct access to ease access to the company network, increase the quality of security and reduce costs by $40,000

The list goes on.  You can view the case studies for yourself.  

The point I am trying to make here is that Windows Server 2008 R2 is not your old mans server!  Sure it supports all the old network stuff we have grown accustomed too, and in many cases even makes the old stuff better, but its the radical changes that make this server the hottest thing since sliced bread. 

There are changes going on in the IT world.  They are happening quietly.  They are nonetheless sweeping.  It will not be long before we consider many of today’s network features in the same way we consider IPX/SPX, Netbeui, Netscape, DOS, 2400 baud modems, and your local bank branch.  They all still exist and we are all scratching our heads wondering exactly why?