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Microsoft shines a light on efficiency in Windows Server 2008 R2

R2 appears to be Microsoft's "greenest" server OS to date.

While Windows Server 2008 R2 has certainly gotten its fair share of attention over the past year, it’s hard to argue that it still hasn’t been somewhat overshadowed by the hype surrounding Windows 7. After all, even Microsoft has dubbed it “Windows 7 Server” on occasion.

The new server OS is getting it’s due this week, however, at Tech-Ed Europe 2009 in Berlin. During the opening keynote, for example, R2 was featured prominently. Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet wrote a piece about this very subject, with details on some of the new R2 features Microsoft is touting.

Some of these enhancements underscore the fact that Windows is continuing to become greener and greener, which is evident by the operating system’s increased efficiency and power consumption improvements. Since this is one area that can have a direct (and potentially immediate) effect on the bottom line, it’s no surprise that Microsoft is shining a light on it this week.

“Out of the box, [with] no configuration changes, on the same hardware, [Windows Server 2008 R2] compared to 2003 is 18% more efficient,” said Robert Wahbe, corporate vice president of the Server and Tools Marketing Group at Microsoft. He added that combined with power controls with server hardware vendors, companies can expect massive cost-savings for the data center. “Taking all of these savings together, the overall study is that you can get your return on investment in less than six months with R2,” he said.

Jonathan Hassell wrote earlier this year that these improvements are focused on three main areas: adjustable processor speeds, lower power use on multi-core chip systems, and reduced power for SAN components. Group Policy settings have also been added to help reduce power usage during network slow periods, for example.

Virtualization is a factor as well. Results of a recent survey of over 800 respondents showed that 32% consider power savings and better resource utilization to be a key factor in adopting server virtualization. Still, not all companies have experienced the level of savings they had hoped, so perhaps the combined changes to virtualization and power management with Windows Server 2008 R2 will prove to be extra-enticing to those looking to shave a little more off the bottom line.

It’s important to note that Microsoft has been comparing power consumption details from Windows Server 2003 to Server 2008 R2, where the savings are more dramatic. However, many of these changes have also been included with the second service pack for Windows Server 2008, so that’s definitely something to be aware offer those who already have Server 2008 in production.

For more information on Windows Server 2008 R2, visit

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