What is Windows Server?

Technically, the name Windows Server is the brand name for a series of server operating systems that was released by Microsoft Corporation. It is often defined as any server that is operating with any of the Windows family of operating systems. These servers are generally capable of providing services that are server-oriented like hosting a website, user management functions, resource management functions across applications and users as well as security and authorization, messaging among a host of other server-oriented services. Basically, all servers operated with the Windows family of servers can provide the same features, capability and operating mechanism of a standard server operating system.

The Windows family includes the Windows 2000 Server that was released last February 2000, the Windows Server 2003 (April 2003), followed by its successor Windows Server 2003 R2 that was released on December 2005. By February 2008, Microsoft released Windows Server 2008, followed closely by Windows Server 2008 R2 released a year later. The latest, Windows Server 2012 R2, whose beta version was called Windows 8, was released last October 2013 was the successor of Windows Server 2012 that was released last September 2012. Microsoft also released the Windows Server Essentials, also known as Windows Small Business Server, and the Windows Essential Business Server, which included a Windows Server operating system among other Microsoft Server products.

However, the Windows Home Server and the Windows MultiPoint Server operating systems – for file sharing, remote access and automated backups and for computers with multiple simultaneous local users respectively – are not a part of the Windows Server family.

What are the features and the advantages of using the latest Windows server?

The latest Windows Server version brings along with it a lot of enhancements and features that should be beneficial to its users. Among these features and advantages are the following:

  • Data Deduplication – eliminates space duplication by about 90 percent across the operating system resulting to recovery and savings of hundreds of gigabytes, even terabytes of space.
  • There are only a two versions released, the Standard companies version – designed for small-sized businesses – and the DataCenter version – designed for large, highly virtualized environments, making the choice of licensing the preferred version easier.
  • The Thin Provisioning is a feature found is Windows Storage System which reduces storage waste by allowing you to start small and let your storage grown as needed. This effectively eliminates wasted and unused storage spaces.
  • Windows Servers are easy to deploy, use and manage.
  • The Diskless Boot feature allows you to boot across the network, eliminating the need for hard disk space within the server saving much needed storage space and ease in management.
  • The Hyper-V 3.0 which can support 64 processors, a terabyte of RAM, 1,024 active virtual machines (VMs) per host, 8,000 virtual machines per cluster, 64TB VHDx with 256 disks per VM, means that it can run almost all applications in a HyperV VM.
  • The PowerShell 3.0, with its PowerShell console and IntelliSense, greatly reduces administrator workload.

What are the disadvantages of using Windows server?

Despite the advantages that Windows Server brings, it also bring with it a number of disadvantages. These are as follows:

  • Most servers running on Windows is not as stable as those that run on Unix.
  • Windows servers often run sluggishly and perform slowly.
  • It needs more resources to run effectively; more RAM, more disk space and more bandwidth.
  • It is more expensive and costly compared to Unix based servers as it is not a free operating system.
  • It often suffers compatibility issues with a great number of applications especially with applications built with CGI and PERL, which are both developed by Unix.
  • It cannot run Telnet, a network protocol developed by Unix.

Is Windows server the best choice for me?

Cost consideration aside, the question of which is the best server operating system for you depends upon your needs, your resources and your future services and clientele. However, it is safe to say that Windows Server is good choice for a server operating system.