Microsoft's lead architect for the Windows Server Division on the latest server operating system
Otey: So, that can give you linear scaling as you're moving up, as far as processing and cores and that type of thing.
Snover: Did you see those numbers? I had to go back and say, "You need to check your numbers, because I've never heard of this." The scalability of VMs and basically -- it's 8 to 16 -- for a SQL Server workload. You went from an 8-CPU VM to a 16-CPU. I think it's 1.7x scaling, which is just phenomenal. You'd expect 1.4, 1.5, and let me shake your hand. But here's one, I didn't think it was possible, but from 16 to 32, it was 1.9 -- those are crazy numbers.
And it's not just a bolt-on. It requires work at every layer of the stack -- and in the management space, the same thing. We have this new multi-machine Server Manager, but in fact that's just a very thin layer on top of the multi-machine management capabilities within the OS. And it changes at the protocol level, at the PowerShell level. They had to make changes to WMI. At each layer, we had to make changes to be able to support that.
Otey: You touched on something that's going to be super important with Server 8, which is the changing management paradigm. With Server 8, you've taken a different look at how admins should manage Windows Server.
Snover: Absolutely. In the past, you bought a server, and a full server was the default. You got a GUI with it, and there was Server Core and a few specialized people would use Server Core, but there were a lot of issues with it. So with each release we've invested in Server Core, made it better and better, made it able to support more roles, be able to do more manageability.
With Server 8, we're now confident enough to say that Server Core is the preferred management deployment role. Full Windows Server is still there as a compatibility mode, but by and large we want everybody to use Server Core, which is basically to say "headless server."
We still support GUIs -- we're not walking away from GUIs. GUIs are what make the company great. GUIs help customers, but those GUIs should run on the client, and the client consumes as much CPU and as much memory as you want -- it's a client. Obviously you don't want that on a server. And then layer that GUI on top of PowerShell, remote PowerShell, so that it can do multi-machine management, and anything I can do from the GUI, I can then automate.
Otey: So you're saying out of the box, Server Core is going to be the default installation option. But in the past, it was difficult to switch back and forth between Server Core and the full installation. Has that changed?
Snover: Yes. Why are we confident? Basically, three answers: In the past, you chose Server Core or Windows Server -- and if you made a mistake, you started over. Now you can go from Server Core to full Server and back again. And there's something in between, which is to say that with full Server, you can take off the Metro shell in IE. So you can still run GUIs, you can still run Server Manager, but you launch it from the command line. This gives you many of the benefits of Server Core in terms of reduced footprint and reduced serviceability, which means it takes fewer patches. For those people who've been able to make the full transition -- maybe the admin hasn't been able to do that, they're not fully cognizant of PowerShell, or remote management, or an application. Often what we've found in our compatibility tests is that an application will require the GUI for installation but not operation.
I mentioned three things -- that was one. Now it's safer; reduce the risk. The second is manageability. In the past, PowerShell 1.0 shipped with about 130 cmdlets; PowerShell 2.0 shipped with 230 cmdlets; and now we ship with more than 2,300 cmdlets -- so over a factor of 100 more cmdlets.
And now, you can really do full management of the box locally. And if you want to, we now have remote management. In the past, Server Manager couldn't remotely install a role. But now you can. You still use the GUI, but you do it remotely.
The third thing is role availability. There were certain roles that required full Server. Now, more and more of those roles require Server Core. And more importantly, the Denali release of SQL Server [SQL Server 2012] runs on Server Core. So we're feeling pretty confident. This is certainly one of the strong messages we have for everyone in the community, for the ISVs: Love the GUI, just don't run it on the server. Run it on the client, and use PowerShell remoting to the server.
Deuby: Much of what Server 8 is focused on is helping customers build their own private cloud -- and certainly it will be used as a major component of the public cloud as well. Are there any enhancements that have been made to identity to help with the integration because we're looking at building private cloud now and going to something that's hybrid? So the ability to have some portability between the two certainly has something to do with Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS). Has anything been done in that area?