While Windows 7 is stealing most of the limelight, the release will be timed with the upgraded Windows server release, aspects of which Microsoft says are particularly well suited to Australian geography.
Microsoft has not always released server management upgrades to coincide with operating system releases but the simultaneous release was carefully engineered for Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2.
“And that lock-step isn't a coincidence, it's a design goal. Customers using Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 [together] in their enterprises has been Microsoft's intent from the first day programmers touched fingers to keyboards,” according to a windows server blog.
Microsoft Australia's Director for Server and Tools Martin Gregory expects the R2 feature to cause the biggest stir locally will be the BranchCache.
“Windows server 2008 R2 sits very well with the geographic issues we have in Australia. The Branch Cache feature allows you to reduce the amount of traffic that travels on your Wide Area Network (WAN) from Perth to Sydney [for example] and effectively cache that. It will be a better experience for end users but it should also reduce the cost of the amount of things you send over that wire,” he said.
Gregory says that Windows server 2008 has had the largest take up of all server releases so far. It's a trend he expects to continue with R2 — the uptake of which will be driven by green IT and cost savings through increased virtualisation.
“The reason for that is that IT departments are trying to do more with less. R2 focuses on reducing cost. One of the key things that helps customers do that is virtualisation.”
R2's Hyper-V makes a complete server virtualisation solution available out-of-the-box, according to Microsoft.
Gregory said that in developing R2, engineers made an effort to focus on all the different server scenarios whether it be web servers, or servers in branch offices or data centres.
“We created the functionality that suits each of those particular scenarios,” he said.
IT Professionals with TechNet Subscriptions and developers with MSDN Subscriptions will be able to download Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM in English, French, German, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish on August 14, with all remaining languages beginning August 21.
Anyone can download a 180 day evaluation version of Windows Server 2008 R2 from here starting August 20. It will be available in the retail channel from September 14.