Windows Server 8 first impressions (running in VMware Workstation 8)

 

I enjoy trying out new Operating Systems as soon as they are released, so naturally I had to download Windows Server 8 Beta Evaluation last night when I had an hour or so to spare.

 

I have installed it in a VM running on VMware Workstation 8.0. The requirements don’t seem to be too high with the most notable resource requirement to me being 512MB RAM. Not much has changed there since 2008 R2 then. The VMware set up was as simple as I imagined – no need to follow any guides, I just went with my gut and created a new VM as a Windows Server 2008 R2 – 64 bit machine, gave it a couple of GB RAM and vCPUs then told it I would install the OS later. After this I added the ISO for the Beta and Powered Up. The Windows 7 desktop wallpaper “fish” makes an appearance on first load and soon you are in the installer. The OS edition I installed is the “Datacenter edition”. I went with the GUI version, as I decided to check the Core edition out another time. Installation is of course very straight forward not too much has changed since 2008 R2. Within 7 or 8 minutes I was up and running at the logon screen.

 

Installation of Windows Server 8 Datacenter Edition is very straight forward.

 

Windows 8-esq Login Screen

 

Things I like so far are –

  • The new design – clearly all stylised to fit in with the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7 style etc…
  • New Server Manager – manage multiple servers from one area and create Server Groups.
  • Roles and Features guide seems to give you more detail on some roles (such as Active Directory for example)
  • Task Manager improvements – information is easier to read in my opinion – especially the resources / performance data

 

Annoying things –

  • Server Manager always pops up every time you start up – I’m sure there would be a switch to disable this like Server 2008 though.
  • Start Menu was a little difficult to locate at first! Found it after hunting around a bit though.

 

The new Server Manager

 

Of course I had to jump into PowerShell and check it out quickly- I also used PowerShell to quickly join my Server 8 VM to the lab domain.

Add-Computer -Domain domainname -Credential domainname\adminaccount

 

PowerShell 3.0

 

Task Manager in the Server 8 Beta

 

Well overall my first impressions are it looks good, and seems to run well in VMware Workstation. I’m pretty sure it’ll work fine under vSphere 5 and Fusion too. (Of course probably not officially supported yet as it is Beta etc…) I’m looking forward to exploring the new OS in more detail in the coming weeks.

 

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