06 February 2011

Almost a year

So in May, we migrated from our old company name and a Windows Server 2003 infrastructure to Windows Server 2008.

While configuring back then was very interesting (especially Exchange 2007) and finding vendors which supported their apps under WS08 wasn’t always easy, it worked out.

We’re running McAfee VirusScan Enterprise, which was supported WS08. Unfortunately, the ProtectionPilot Management App was not supported on WS08, which is why it’s running in an WS03 x32 VM. For Backup, we’ve used Symantec BackupExec 12 (since then, upgraded to 12.5).

I’ve been running six productive VMs in Hyper-V since May. The upgrades to the RTM version of Hyper-V ran flawlessly, and we’ve had zero production issues with those VMs. The VMs are a mix of WS03 x32 and WS08 x64.

Except one WS08 Core x32 Domain Controller, all WS08 machines are x64. Even the setting up an x64 print server for x32 clients was less of an issue than i initially thought.

The feature most applauded by our users is probably the TS Gateway.

We currently OCS 2007 in an (unsupported) VM, because we only use the IM functionality right now (the reason that VMs are unsupported is that voice heavily depends on timing, which can be icky in VMs). Our plan is to migrate to OCS 2007 R2 when it comes out, this time running on WS08 on native hardware, so we can start our internal VoIP rollout.

IBM has finally released Director 6.1, which supports running on WS08 x64.

For Active Directory, i run two WS 08 Core DCs, one x64 (on newer hardware) and one x32 (on rather old hardware). We also have an RODC in our branch office. BackupExec has it’s fair share of troubles running on RODCs and so do other apps that depend on SQL Server, like WSUS. So keep this in mind if you want to deploy branch offices – the single server approach worked with DCs, but it won’t with RODCs. Get two machines, one for the RODC, another one for the rest.

For branch office connectivity, we’ve always used DFS-N and DFS-R, which has continued to work flawlessly on WS08.

In our Edge environment, i’ve deployed an Exchange 2007 Edge Server, an OCS 2007 Edge Server and an ISA 2006 server. The latter two are still running on WS03, which i plan to upgrade as soon as it is possible.

I currently only have one unresolved issue, which is NTLM Authentication for Outlook Anywhere. UR4 should have resolved it, but i haven’t gotten around to test this.

As for the clients: We run three quarters Vista (yeah, yeah, i know), one quarter XP. The XP machines only remain because i don’t have any jurisdiction over them, there are no technical reasons why they shouldn’t get upgraded.

So, after this you will probably assume that i got paid to write this. Well, i do work for a Microsoft Partner, so the Software cost associated with upgrading to WS08 was rather low, as we have Software Assurances for our Volume Licenses and we also get many internal use licenses through the MSPP.

The experience of deploying and running a production system has been a tremendous help for me to get acquainted with WS08 as a platform. I’m currently in the process of deploying my first SBS08 into production, about which i’ll write as soon as that project is done.

Still, i honestly believe that WS08 is ready to deployed. Not anywhere, mind you. Application Support is still an issue, and especially ERP vendors are slow to catch up (not us, though – we supported WS08 TS as platform from the start).

So, what do you think about WS08? Looked at it? Tried it? Running it?

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