Microsoft is now offering a public beta of Server 2008 R2 available alongside the Windows 7 beta. The new Windows client OS seems to be getting all the attention, but Server 2008 R2 makes bold changes over its predecessor. John Savill, author of FAQ for Windows, has been using the R2 beta and provided a list of new features. Some of the major differences from R1 include:

Live Hyper-V Migrations
Virtual machine (VM) live migrations were missing from Hyper-V until now. R2 allows migrations with no downtime, a feature already present in VMware's ESX Server.


In this screencast, John Savill explains how live migration works in Hyper-V. Also see part two.

Session Broker Improvements
R2 provides a session broker that can handle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and can be made highly available using Microsoft Cluster service.

No 32-bit Programs
The shift to 64-bit computing has taken a while, but with R2 Microsoft has released an OS without 32-bit support. Windows 7 will have a 32-bit version, but Server 2008 R1 was the last 32-bit server OS from Microsoft.

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