First Look: Windows Server 8

Microsoft's proposed Server Manager for Windows 8 Server Editions helps explain a lot of what Microsoft proposes in Windows Server 8: Ease and flexibility.

First Look: Windows Server 8

Windows Server 8 is categorically different than its predecessor versions. There's an argument to say that it's not actually Windows as its default will run in Server Core format, although the Windows GUI will be available if desired. The center of Windows Server administration is now to be PowerShell-driven, rather than through the maze of administrative GUIs that have been the mainstay of Windows Server versions for nearly two decades. What follows is a first look at the new Server Manager shell as it exists in the pre-beta Windows Server 8 developer edition.

Server Manager Combines Many Admin Functions

The proposed Windows 8 Server contains a Server Manager that combines formerly separate administrative utilities. In this screenshot, roles and services are combined with graphing (performance), and the Best Practices Analyzer, which fits server instances against best practices and policies models.

Server Manager Takes a Cue from Systems Manager

Server Manager provides a Systems Manager-like view of servers, along with events and services, although we could not find a way to filter via Active Directory views, like forests.

Grouping Services Across Instances

Services can be grouped among like-type server instances for rapid examination or group control -- shutting down, turning on, or modifying services among groups.

The Drill-Down Effect

For administrators of larger systems, Service Manager can put a lot of information on a single screen to drill down to or correlate -- and it begs for multiscreen monitors on NOC video consoles.

Very Alarming

The proposed Windows 8 Server Manager positively freaks out with alarms, if desired, and allows fast drill down to problem triggers.

Build Your Own Groups

With Windows 8 Server Manager, it's possible to group servers and instances in any desirable way, such as by location, task, purpose, infrastructure deployment, or whatever is logical for the site.

Easy, Flexible Failover

Windows 8 Server Manager is proposed to allow one-click server failover, and perhaps to non-identical server types for flexibility.

Looks a Little Cloudy

Windows 8 Server Manager can deploy machines in a library-like fashion, into local virtualized hosts, cloud-style.

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors