Server 2008 as a Workstation, Speed and Reliability

Overall I'd rate the issue of speed and reliability as a conditional win for Server 2008 compared with Vista, granting that I have all of one week's experience under my belt (!). I haven't done any formal benchmarking, but even running the AERO interface, Server 2008 feels faster than Vista on the same hardware. It doesn't seem plagued by the same bizarre delays that Vista encounters when doing things like copying large files or enumerating a network share. Yes, installing roles via Server Manager is slower than one might like, especially considering the frequent required reboots; but that's not a daily task. The daily tasks, by and large, feel crisp and responsive.

Overall reliability seems good so far, but with asterisks. Server 2008 has definitely done some strange, and potentially dangerous, things: for example, when I connected a perfectly good (and data-filled) USB flash drive, Server 2008 told me I needed to format it before I could use it, and did I want to format it now (NOOO!). There's a potential nightmare scenario - recommend that a user format a perfectly fine data storage volume!

The OS also had a terrible time getting the RTM version of Hyper-V role installed, doing some significant damage to my NTFS file system in the process. You should definitely back up your system before installing Hyper-V; it doesn't install as smoothly as most of the other Server 2008 roles, plus it took about half an hour, including the required reboots.

Speaking of Hyper-V, some of you are probably remembering that it was the whole reason for doing this little experiment in the first place. Now that Server 2008 seems to be a better-than-OK Vista replacement for workstation use, next week I'll get into Hyper-V in some detail, with the usual assortment of tips, tricks, caveats, and rants. See you then.

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