Windows Tip Sheet
Getting Ready for Longhorn
While the next Windows Server will be huge, a core version of it will be excitingly stripped-down and efficient.
Although it's a way off, still (late 2007 is, I believe, the current estimate),
that doesn't mean you can't start thinking about what Windows Longhorn Server
will mean for your environment. And you'll want
it in your environment:
Longhorn is possibly the most compelling server OS we've had since...well, Windows
NT 3.1, I think. It's not the revolutionary change that Win2000 was (with its
introduction of Active Directory), but some of the things in Longhorn will just
beg to be used in any environment.
My current favorite is Server Core, a 500MB, stripped-down, "windowless"
version of Longhorn that can act as a file server, domain controller (DC), DNS
server and/or DHCP server. I know, 500MB. I'm thinking a nice 1U rackmount server
or blade that has, oh, 8GB of RAM (x64 processor, of course) and a pretty small
hard drive. And this is what you should be thinking of now: how you'll
utilize Server Core when it finally arrives. This is going to be the most stable
version of Windows ever, simply because it has so few "moving parts."
If the industry estimate of 1 bug per 1,000 lines of code is close, I'm betting
500MB of code will contain a lot fewer bugs than the full-on version of Longhorn,
which is going to be huge. 500MB means less patches, less potential vulnerabilities
and less maintenance. "Windowless" means servers you can lock in a
closet and manage entirely from your desktop, since there's no GUI on the server
in the first place.
My suggestion: Start arranging your environment so that infrastructure servers
include just the servers that Server Core supports. These machines can be the
first ones replaced by Longhorn machines (you can't "upgrade" to Server
Core; it's a fresh install on a replacement machine). So consolidate DCs, DHCP
and DNS onto boxes that have no other functionality on them, making them
perfect server-for-server swapouts when Longhorn finally becomes available.
Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is Curriculum Director for IT Pro Content for video training company Pluralsight. Don is also a co-founder and President of PowerShell.org, a community dedicated to Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell technology. Don has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. He’s the author of more than 50 technology books, an accomplished IT journalist, and a sought-after speaker and instructor at conferences worldwide. Reach Don on Twitter at @concentratedDon, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/ConcentratedDon.