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It's All About the Networkin' - InfoWorld Review Bullish on Longhorn Server Networking

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Oliver Rist of InfoWorld is not one to beat around the bush when it comes to technical reviews.  He is a straight shooter and this is clear in Rist's recent article on Windows Server "Longhorn":

Longhorn: More than just hype

Now, I am very proud of all the great work that is going into our new client and server releases of Windows.  Nonetheless, you can certainly see that the work we've done around platform networking and related networking solutions (like NAP) is making a huge impact to the overall Windows experience.

Here are some great quotes from Oliver's review:

About the New TCP/IP Stack (internally nicknamed "NetIO")
But wait, there’s more! Microsoft also has completely redesigned its TCP/IP stack, now including integrated support for TCP/IPv6 and a rich layer of support APIs for more intelligent network packet management.

Excitement around the new Policy-based QoS feature
Digging a little deeper into application management, Longhorn is the first Windows operating system to offer what amounts to Layer 7 QoS (quality of service) capabilities. This feature is still in its early stages, but Microsoft has taken the right tack, making sure that Longhorn’s QoS profiles can filter down through third-party network infrastructure. Don’t think application protection; think hi-def voice and video protection, because that’s where this feature is really heading.

Highlights on Network Access Protection
Microsoft’s NAP (Network Access Protection) feature is also working in Beta 2. Essentially, the GPM Server communicates with Longhorn’s DHCP server. Whenever a new client logs on, GP dictates that a slew of information is conveyed from client to server concerning a number of system states about the client machines. These are compared with policies set in the GP. If the client comes up wanting, it’s quarantined. Only when the client’s various system states (anti-virus levels, system patches, etc.) have come into compliance, does Longhorn allow appropriate network access.

Now, the NAP bits mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg.  In fact, NAP is not just about DHCP, it's also about 802.1X, IPsec, and remote access a la VPN. 

My favorite flavor of NAP is the IPsec-based version, mainly for its lower impact deployment (no special switches needed) and for the way it can layer on top of an existing Server and Domain Isolation deployment. 

Visit the NAP TechNet site to learn more about these various deployment options and the long list of partners already supporting it.

There's a lot more to the new Windows Server "Longhorn" platform networking innovations and enhancements than mentioned by Oliver.  Stay tuned for more and we get closer to the launch and we publish more details on our TechNet site!

 

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