I attended the "HEROS happen {here}" event in Milwaukee Wisconsin. This launch event covered Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, and SQL Server 2008. I'm including my notes here in case they are of use to anyone.

Microsoft always does a good job putting on events, and this was no exception. There were a lot of third party vendors, and there was no lack of freebies from all. Microsoft gave everyone a nice lunchbox with a decent breakfast inside.

Microsoft also gave out copies of Vista Ultimate SP1, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (including a virtual key), and Visual Studio 2008 Standard. Stay tuned for a post where I'm going to have details about giving away some of this software to you.

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Windows 2008 Server

  • Powershell can easily manage remote machines, including executing a command line remotely.
  • Group policy is now a serviceGroup policy now has extensive logging
  • Custom group policy (preferences) allows you to arbitrarily add registry settings or files.
  • RSAT - Allows you to manage your 2008 policy settings with Vista.
  • WinRS is basically an SSH alternative for Windows.
  • You can set up a custom view to filter (search) for event log events for all computers in your network.
  • The old 64KB receive Window limitation has been replaced with a receive window system that auto-tunes. This provides a significant increase in network speed. The benefit increases as the latency increases.

Virtualization & Hyper-V

  • The feature set appears to be one step ahead of VMware Server in many ways. For example, you can do CPU throttling and multiple snapshots.
  • There is a version that will give you a bare bones version that is ONLY Hyper-V, and it's only 40,000 lines of code.
  • Application Virtualization (SoftGrid)
  • Requires VT extensions
  • Can be scripted using Powershell
  • Based on the OS you buy, you can get free Windows licenses for the virtual machines. For example, if you buy Datacenter Edition, you can run unlimited Windows 2008 virtual machines on it without buying multiple licenses. Enterprise edition covers 4 virtual machines. Standard covers 0. You actually get virtual keys for the virtual machines.
  • Licensing is per socket, not per core (which is the same as VMware licensing)
  • Terminal services features EasyPrint so that virtual printers don't have to be installed. It uses XPS (think MS PDF) as a common communication format.
  • You can set up a terminal services gateway to provide access to any terminal server behind your firewall.

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Visual Studio 2008

  • MOSS is very popular right now (really?).
  • Expression Web just released version 2.0.
  • HTML 5 is about to be finalized.
  • CSS 2.1 is about to be finalized.
  • Visual Studio allegedly writes decent cross-browser XHTML code.
  • ASP.NET starter kits are available at www.ASP.net, and look pretty interesting.
  • The AJAX control toolkit has some very impressive controls that let you easily add functionality to your pages. For example, there is one that adds a watermark to a TextBox. Another confirms button actions (delete for example).
  • Test inheritance
  • The ScriptManager can localize formats
  • Easily call server methods with JavaScript
  • New profiling tools
  • More tools are available in Professional that used to be only available in higher editions.