Microsoft announces Windows Server 8 beta

Time-limited preview of 'cloud-optimised' Windows offered for free download

The next generation of Windows Server will be heavily cloud-optimised, based on the experience and insight from building and operating public cloud services, Microsoft has said.

The company made the claim as it offered IP professionals and software developers the opportunity to download and preview a beta version of the new operating system.

In a Technet blog Bill Laing, Microsoft's corporate VP for server and cloud, said that Windows Server 8 includes a number of key developments aimed squarely at cloud computing, whether public, private or hybrid.

"With the new Hyper-V we are taking virtualisation above and beyond to provide a multi-tenant platform for cloud computing," he wrote. "For example, with Hyper-V Network Virtualisation you can create virtual networks so different business units, or even multiple customers, can seamlessly share network infrastructure.  You will be able to move virtual machines and servers around without losing their network assignments."

There are also major scalability and flexibility boosts for anyone constructing and hosting complex applications, he said.

"Windows Server 8 provides a powerful server application platform that enables you to develop and host the most demanding of application workloads. For example, with .NET Framework 4.5 you can take advantage of new asynch language and library support to build server and web applications that scale far beyond what other platforms provide, " he added.  

Laing said the new OS would also enable cheaper high availability and disaster recovery by allowing file servers to fail-over transparently within a cluster, "with little interruption to server applications that are storing data on those file shares," while improved versions of Server Manager and Windows PowerShell bring new capabilities for multi-machine management and automation. "With 2,300 commandlets provided out of the box, Windows PowerShell allows you to automate everything you can do manually with the user interface," he claimed.

This new public beta of Windows Server 8 follows a closed beta release late last year, which Laing said had brought an "incredibly positive" response from developers and hardware partners.

Read more about:

Sign up for our free newsletter