April 2009 - Posts

A very interesting post on the official Windows Team Blog: Windows XP Mode for Windows 7. If I read this correctly, it looks like we’ll have a virtual Windows XP embedded directly into Windows 7, with the ability to run applications directly from Windows 7. From the description and the screen shot, this sounds like it has the equivalent to TS RemoteApps, but in this case connecting to a locally running virtual Windows XP. Now that would be cool! And a real solution to any lingering application compatibility problems, since you’d have an embedded 32-bit Windows XP running in your Windows 7. Legacy 16 bit application? No 64-bit compatible version? No problem, run the application in the virtual XP machine.

One thing that this seems to say, however, is that it’s only coming for Business and Ultimate versions of Windows 7. If so, a shame, since I can definitely see a place for this in Home Premium.

Update: Now that Win7 and VPC7 are publicly available, I’ll have a bit more to say shortly, including a tip on autopublishing.

Charlie.

Microsoft announced last week the release of a new edition of Windows Server 2008, The Windows Foundation Server 2008. This a limited version of Windows Server 2008 that requires no CALs, and is only available from hardware OEMs.  You can’t go out and buy a copy without buying the hardware it goes on. And that hardware is going to only be available from folks like HP, Dell, Acer, etc. Your system builder won’t be able to build or sell you a copy, at least not this first go round. Let’s look at the limitations/requirements first, then some of the opportunities for this new server.

Limitations and Requirements

  • x64 only (hardly a limitation from our perspective!)
  • 8 GB RAM maximum
  • 1 CPU socket (but as many cores as that allows.)
  • 15 Users maximum
  • No Hyper-V. Not as Parent, not as Child.
  • Hardware OEMs only. No system builder, no retail
  • If installed in AD environment, must be at the top level of the tree.

This last one might take some explanation. This doesn’t mean it needs to be in a domain, it could certainly be in a workgroup, and if it is in a domain, it doesn’t need to be a domain controller, though it could be. But it does mean that you can’t use this as a DC for a subdomain or even as a member server in a departmental subdomain.

Opportunities

Windows Foundation Server has all sorts of possibilities, especially given the price points we’re likely to see. It’s certainly NOT a replacement for either Windows Home Server or Windows Small Business Server, since it has none of the value added features of those two products. But, on a small network, it would be perfect as:

  • A Terminal Server for TS RemoteApps
  • A "Branch Office in a Box(tm)" server by installing the following
    roles:
    • RODC
    • DHCP
    • DNS
    • File Server (with Role Services:)
      • DFS
      • FSRM
    • Print Server
    • NAP with RRAS for VPN back to main office
    • Could, should you choose, be installed as Server Core
  • Backup Domain Controler

The catch to all of those choices is that it is LIMITED TO 15 USERS. None of
these options are possible on an SBS network of >15 users. Full Stop. Also,
NO CALs are required for this Server. (Well, except TS CALs if you use it as
a Terminal Server.)

I’ve seen all sorts of speculation about what this is, but most of it is utter horsepucky. Don’t complicate this or make it into something it isn't. This
is just a low end server with nothing special. Period. It has no value add at all, but will be available at a very good price point. I’m expecting to see complete servers, with hardware and Windows Foundation Server pre-installed for under $500 USD. But it is only for smaller networks where there are never more than 15 users. It doesn’t have any of the extras of Windows Home Server or Small Business Server, no special wizards, nothing extra at all. But for very small businesses, it definitely adds a low cost option that has a lot of functionality. Overall, I’m pretty excited, and I’d love to get my hands on one of the new servers to do a full review. I can see a lot of uses for this to supplement our SBS networks, or as a standalone solution. And it’s pure 64-bit only.

Charlie