Five Things About Windows Server 2008 You Probably Don’t Know (part 2)

Previously, I started writing about five things about Windows Server 2008 that you probably don’t know, noting that some Windows Server 2008 Network Policy Services features were available in Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2003 R2, but Windows Server 2008 has much much more! Now, here are two more things.

2. Did you know that there’s an amazing new automation environment for administrations of Windows Server 2008 which can also be used on Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, and Windows Vista? And it looks like Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 will get a newer snazzier version?

Of course, you might have known I’m referring to Windows PowerShell. Some people think it’s just a new command line interface with different syntax than the classic Windows Command Prompt and old Disk Operating System (and virtual DOS machine of Windows ilk). And it is a hot little shell, but the automation and scripting capabilities are where it’s at. There is such an incredible wealth of tools and utilities available for download to extend the reach and capabilities of Windows PowerShell. Did you know that Windows PowerShell version 1.0 does indeed work with XP, Server 2003, and Vista as well? All of those versions of Windows could be managed with one shell. One shell to rule them all – just think about it. And yes, there are certainly graphical interfaces for PowerShell. When PowerShell version 2.0 comes out of Community Technology Preview (CTP) and hopefully gets bundled with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7, we get even more remote administration capabilities built in to Microsoft’s official shell.

3. Windows Server 2008-based servers which are installed with Server Core installation mode can still be managed in many ways across the network with Windows PowerShell.

Assuming that the existence and exciting capabilities of Windows PowerShell, did you know that you don’t have to wait for Windows PowerShell version 2.0 to get many remote management capabilities? Good ol’ PowerShell version 1.0, which is included as an addable feature for Windows Server 2008 Full Installation has a lot of remoting built in.

Although there are ways around it, officially Windows Server 2008 which is installed with the much-recommended-because-it-helps-to-reduce-attack-surface-and-updates-and-a-whole-lot-more Server Core installation does not support the .NET framework which is a prerequisite to install and run Windows PowerShell. So does that mean that officially there is no way to manage a W2K8 Server Core server? Hardly.  Windows PowerShell comes with strong Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and some other remote administration features built in. For example, Windows PowerShell can be installed on a management workstation (or other server) and used to manage Server Core machines across the network. That’s just one way PowerShell can help you do remote management today.

How are you doing so far? Were any of these three things thus far new to you? That’s only 3 out of 5 things I’ll be writing about in this article, but I’ll post the other 2 soon so stay tuned.

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