Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 moves closer to final release

The first service packs for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 are a big deal for Microsoft, with new features that could help the company compete in the virtual desktop space.

The release candidate for Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 is now available with Microsoft’s updated RDP offering, RemoteFX, and memory management capabilities for Hyper-V.

RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory in SP1 are a big deal for Microsoft, as the two features could put the company in better position to compete against rival VMware Inc. in the virtual desktop space. In addition, the Windows 7 SP1 RC also became available Tuesday.

RemoteFX in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 is based on software Microsoft acquired from Calista Technologies, which was developing technology to improve RDP graphics and streaming media performance for remote desktops.

The updated remote protocol technology works with Hyper-V R2 and Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate SP1 to deliver virtual desktop performance closer to what users get with a traditional PC. Both the Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RDVH) and Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) role services in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 support RemoteFX.

As for Dynamic Memory, the new feature is designed to pool and distribute memory better across virtual machines. This capability gives IT pros using Hyper-V a way to increase server consolidation ratios and improve utilization rates without buying more physical memory. It also lets administrators add memory resources based on current workloads without interrupting service.

Microsoft first announced the two features back in March and released the betas during TechEd 2010 in June. The official release of Service Pack 1 is still scheduled for the first quarter of 2011. More information on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 RC system requirements and features is available at the Microsoft website.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho or follow @BridgetBotelho on Twitter.

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