From our guest contributor by Peter Green.
As an engineer, I really believe in starting with the fundamentals, so I can understand what goes on under the covers (although I must admit that I can no longer fix most things on my Jeep as it apparently has 28 on-board processors). So I purchased an inexpensive 64 bit motherboard, a 5.8 Gbit/sec 64 bit dual core AMD processor, 2 GBytes of memory and a couple of 250GB Sata drives (to run as mirrored Raid 1 hard drives), all for about $300 and then loaded on Windows server 2008.
Some of the things I learned:
You don’t need an expensive server to run Windows 2008 Server. Any computer that will run Vista will run Windows 2008, although you should have at least 2 GBytes of memory (for both Vista and Windows). Also the Windows Server 2008 standard software can be purchased at retail with 5 client access licenses (5 CALS) for about $700.
Windows 2008 and Vista use the same Version 6 kernel. So any driver that will work for Vista will work on 2008. Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 were Kernel version 5. Windows 7 presumably is the new version 7 kernel. I don’t know why, but all the board and peripheral manufacturers specifically do not list Windows 2008 as a compatible operating system but only list Vista; and yet, in my limited experience, the Vista drivers seem to work fine.
Despite a lot of misinformation, some by Microsoft itself, Kernel 6 is a nice incremental improvement on Kernel 5. I am pleased that I started my testing with Server 2008 rather than Vista as I did not have to deal with a lot of the interface “improvements” added to Kernel 6 by Microsoft in making Vista. I did have to turn off User Account Control (brings to mind the great MAC versus Microsoft advertisements) but that was easy.
Windows 2008 was about the same complexity to setup as Windows Sever 2003. They made some things easier by combining roles and some things harder with improved security features. They tried to make the firewall simple but in reality you have to use the advanced security firewall (which appears to be an updated version of their existing security server). This has great features but is complicated to setup.
IIS version 7, used for hosting web based applications on Windows 2008, has a new improved administration console over version 6 (which came with kernel 5 – how’s that for confusion). Out of the box Windows 2008 comes with the old kernel 6 FTP server, which had many shortcomings. It is highly recommended that, if you need to support FTP on your server, you do not install FTP 6 but download the newly released FTP 7 sever, which runs as an integrated part of IIS7.
All in all, Microsoft Server 2008 with the 64 bit version of kernel 6 and the latest service packs runs very well and appears to be very stable. My box runs runs faster than any other server I have, without any special parts. As a result, we are adding the 64 bit version of Windows Server 2008 to our supported platforms. We will not be supporting the 64 bit versions of kernel 5 or the 32 bit versions of Kernel 6 as we understand that Microsoft will not be supporting these on a going forward basis. So make sure that you buy 64 bit processors running the 64 bit version of Vista and Server 2008.
Dr. Peter Green is the founder and Chief Technology Officer of BellHawk Systems Corporation.
Peter is a leader in the barcode industry and his thoughts are especially important at a time when we all want to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs. Check out Peter’s site, www.bellhawk.com.