Windows Server 8 beta available for evaluation

Microsoft wants IT Professionals to dive into the Windows Server 8 beta, according to the Windows Server blog post that announced its availability today. You can download a 64-bit ISO or VHD to evaluate and provide feedback of the limited-time trial OS. You can find the download from TechNet behind a Windows Live login. The 64-bit ISO is 3.3GB in size.

Server 8 is being called Cloud-ready and advances beyond Server 2008 R2. Here are some of the new features boasted in the blog post:

With the new Hyper-V we are taking virtualization above and beyond to provide a multi-tenant platform for cloud computing. For example, with Hyper-V Network Virtualization you can create virtual networks so different business units, or even multiple customers, can seamlessly share network infrastructure.  You will be able to move virtual machines and servers around without losing their network assignments.

In Windows Server “8” we are delivering high availability and disaster recovery through software technology on much more cost effective hardware. For example, with File Server Transparent Failover you can now more easily perform hardware or software maintenance of nodes in a File Server cluster by moving file shares between nodes with little interruption to server applications that are storing data on those file shares.

We’re also delivering a tremendous amount of new capabilities for multi-machine management and automation. You will want to explore the dramatic new improvements to Server Manager, as well as the new Windows PowerShell. With 2,300 commandlets provided out of the box, Windows PowerShell allows you to automate everything you can do manually with the user interface. And, with technologies like Intellisense, we’ve made it very easy for you to master all of that power.

Additionally, Windows Server “8” provides a powerful server application platform that enables you to develop and host the most demanding of application workloads. For example, with .NET Framework 4.5 you can take advantage of new asynch language and library support to build server and web applications that scale far beyond what other platforms provide. Our new IIS 8 web server provides better security isolation and resource sand-boxing between applications, native support for web sockets, and the ability to host significantly more sites on a server.

You can find out more about Windows Server 8 at the Microsoft Server site. Otherwise, grab the .iso file and dive in and check it out for yourself. Minimum requirements include a 1.4 GHz 64-bit processor, 512MB RAM, and 32GB disk.

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