My schedule on day 3 and 4 was very heavy on sessions dealing with virtualization and various Windows Server 2008 topics. I mentioned it in my previous post but there is a tremendous amount of integration and collaboration between the virtualization teams and the management teams. I asked a several questions and had some discussions with various program managers from the teams around dynamic data center scenarios, large scale test lab scenarios, etc. These are absolutely on the radar screen and if you look at the technologies the teams are focused on like quick migration, live migration, intelligent placement, powershell everywhere, etc. you can see the foundational components required for those scenarios will be coming online over the next year and in concert with all of the System Center products being released as well.

On the Windows Server 2008 front, there is a large amount of improvements coming across the board. I came out to Seattle 2 days before TechReady to attend a Server 2008 Airlift which was basically 2 days focused on 2008 features. The big ones are obivously Server Core and Windows Server Virtualization but two others I learned a lot more about are the improvements in clustering with 2008 and in dynamic hardware partitioning. On the cluster front, there have been significant improvements in storage, networking, and UI. The storage changes make clustering much more SAN friendly and the network changes eliminate the need nodes to be on the same VLAN. There is also a much more robust quorum model that eliminates the quorum disk from being a single point of failure.

On the dynamic hardware partitioning front, I saw a demo video of a massive 32 processor NEC server that when combined with Windows Server 2008 provides the ability to hot add processors, ram, and NICs to a running system. It also allows you to physically partition the server into multiple physical servers as well as allocating resources as hot spares.

The combination of Server 2008, WSV, and System Center really take the Windows platform to a new level. For infrastructure architects, the platform provides technologies to implement much higher availability, secure, and dynamic infrastructures. Over the next several months I'm going to update some of my reference architecture documents and my test lab so I can share out some specific examples.