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Windows Server 2008 CTP packs IIS punch

Fat lady goes back to trailer

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Two months after releasing a "feature complete" third Windows Server 2008 beta, Microsoft has added new features to the planned operating system's code base.

Microsoft today issued a Community Technology Preview (CTP), featuring the ability to run Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0 as a Server Core installation - a feature only announced at the start of June. Microsoft claimed 200,000 downloads for its third beta.

In a further development, eager users can fire up IIS 7.0 using Microsoft's Go Live license, which removes legal restrictions to running pre-release Windows code in full deployment environments only without the safety net of Microsoft support.

In other words, customers will effectively be testing IIS 7.0 on Microsoft's behalf in real-world scenarios to help meet Microsoft's goal of going up against Apache in terms of scalability, performance and security.

The Server Core installation means that Microsoft users can potentially install a Windows web server without the full operating system's libraries or user interface, for simplified administration and reduced possibility of attack. Microsoft had hitherto announced a number of Server Code installations.

Microsoft credited its late addition to a "huge request" from customers; however, its late appearance is the latest twist in a Windows Server 2008 feature set that owes more to a vendor version of the hokey pokey than a planned product roadmap. Separately, Microsoft has announced and then ripped out planed features from Viridian, its virtualization software due within 180 days of Windows Server 2008, indicating the company is unable to make a final commitment.

Aside from IIS7 in this CTP, Microsoft has also squeezed in a new Secure Sockets Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) for http, for creating a virtual private network (VPN) connection where firewalls or proxies might otherwise block it.

This latest CTP comes after Microsoft last week shut down an independent effort to build a version of the company's latest client operating system, Windows Vista, modeled on code used before Microsoft yanked out features unique to that particular version of Windows. Called Longhorn Reloaded, it was to have been crafted on the 4074 build of Longhorn and featured WinFS along with features such as the Avalon interface that did make the cut.

Microsoft has apparently issued a cease and desist order to project organizers.®

High performance access to file storage

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