Windows Server 2008 SP1 Review
Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Has a Docile Personality
Any program's service pack 1 will be the easiest to install simply because you don't have to worry about accumulating all the previous SPs as you do with SP2s and SP3s.
We expect that service packs will contain hot-fixes and security updates, but what's almost unprecedented is that Windows Server 2008 R2's SP1 brings so few new features. Actually, the fact that SP1 is so boring is a compliment to Microsoft testing the original Windows Server 2008 R2 so thoroughly.
When Windows Server 2008 SP1 arrives, one service pack will cover all 64-bit editions of both Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. Naturally, there is a separate SP1 file for the 32-bit version of Windows 7.
No review of Windows Server 2008 SP1 would be complete without a mention of RemoteFX. If you have used Remote Desktop then you will have been disappointed with the graphics experience compared with running Windows 7 locally. SP1 introduces an updated client to supply RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) connections with RemoteFX.
With Windows 7 SP1, RemoteFX improves the Remote Desktop experience by supporting Windows Aero, full-motion video, and 3D graphics. To reap these benefits make sure the Windows 2008 Server has a DirectX 10.0 graphics card to support the Windows 7 SP1 guest operating system.
Incidentally, this technology has undergone more re-naming than any other Windows component, what used to be called Terminal Services is now Session Virtualization.
According to Microsoft, dynamic memory "allows customers to achieve increased density when they're consolidating physical servers into a virtual realm, providing them with predictable performance and linear scalability". Translated: IT administrators can dice up the physical memory on a machine, like a server, and dole it out to many different virtual machines on the fly.
Summary Windows Server 2008 SP1
Actually, your Windows Server 2008 R2 will probably already have 95% of the fixes and updates supplied by SP1. Nevertheless, when you are rebuilding a machine it's handy to have them all in one file.
Although there is every indication that Windows Server 2008 SP1 will be trouble-free, best practice recommends that you test on one machine before applying to a whole network. In addition, take the opportunity to check both Windows Update settings and your Restore points.
The highlight of my review of Windows Server 2008 SP1 is RemoteFX. What this does is give Remote Desktop the graphics performance of a local machine.
With SPM you can push out patches, which companies such as Mozilla Firefox or Adobe Acrobat provide. The point is that because WSUS does not do this for non-Microsoft software updates, you need a good add-on to take care of this task. With the Patch Manager you can even create your own packages to apply to your servers or clients.
Service Pack's Personality
Each service pack has its own personality. Just as the children, and grandchildren in any family show different traits, so Microsoft's service packs vary in their characteristics. Any program's SP1 will be the most docile and easiest to install simply because you don't have to worry about accumulating all the previous SPs as you do with SP2s and SP3s.
First born children are often the favorites, and the birth of any SP1 is traditionally the trigger for businesses to order that particular operating from their system supplier. However, don't be premature installing a beta version of Windows SP1, my advice is to wait for delivery of the final RTM version.
For me a service pack also provides peace of mind. I don't often check my Windows Update History, but when I did I was shocked to see that some updates failed. To be fair, it seemed that the Automatic Update Service tried again and invariably succeed in the next update cycle. My abiding thought is that SP1 will 'roll-up' these updates, and thus ensure that I have not missed any. See review of Windows 7 SP1
One of the most enduring myths is that applying SP1 to an evaluation copy will break the time-lock and thus give you a fully functioning version of Windows Server 2008. Not true. This myth started in the days of Windows NT4, and even back then I did not believe that a service pack could transform an evaluation copy into a fully functioning version.
Hans K writes to say that Windows 2000 Server Evaluation and key (One that came with MOC) Copy source off - slipstream to SP1 - then upwards if you like and viola full version ;-)
There is also the reverse of the above myth, the theory that SP1 will make pirate versions of Windows Server 2008 R2 unusable. There has long been a threat that Microsoft would add code to service packs that detect pirate product keys, and then cause those systems to lock until that machine gets a genuine licence.
Back with XP Microsoft flirted with such ideas to tackle software piracy, for example they introduced the Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM) and Non-Genuine State (NGS). The problem is that this also irritated people with genuine licences when things went wrong, for example internet connection problems when authenticating genuine product keys could lead to NGS. However, there is no indication of any such anti-piracy tricks in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.
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