Windows Server 2008 R2 Editions

Before you start

Objectives: Learn the specifics about each Windows Server 2008 R2 edition.

Prerequisites: you should understand what a server role is.

Key terms: server, services, edition, hot, connections, memory, directory, Windows, limited, RAM


Windows Editions

The most important difference between Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 is that Server 2008 R2 is only available as 64 bit version. Also, Server 2008 editions are different from Server 2008 R2 editions. Different editions of Windows have different specification and different features. Here we will be talking about Server 2008 R2 editions, and there are seven of them: Foundation, Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, Web, HPC Server, Itanium and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 (Essentials Edition).

 Foundation Edition

The Foundation edition is used for small and medium sized businesses. It supports up to 8 GB of RAM and one physical CPU. With routing and remote access (Network Access Connections), there is a limit of 50 RRAS connections and 10 IAS connections. Terminal Services (Remote Desktop Services) is limited to 50 TS Gateway connections. Server roles which are available in full are:

  • Active Directory Domain Services
  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services
  • Active Directory Rights Management Services
  • Application Server
  • DHCP Server
  • DNS Server
  • Fax Services
  • Print and Document Services
  • Web Services (IIS)
  • Windows Deployment Services (WDS)
  • Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)

Partially available server roles are:

  • Active Directory Certificate Services – limited to creating Certificate Authorities. There are no features like NDES and Online Responder Services.
  • File Services – limited to 1 standalone DFS root.
  • Network Policy and Access Services – limited to 50 RRAS connections and 10 IAS connections.
  • Remote Desktop Services – limited to 50 Terminal Service Gateway connections.

Hyper-V server role is not available. When it comes to technical specification, the Foundation edition doesn’t support Cross-File Replication (DFS-R), Failover Cluster Nodes (Nodes), Fault Tolerant Memory Sync, Hot Add Memory, Hot Add Processors, Hot Replace Memory, Hot Replace Processors, IA64 RAM, and IA64 Sockets. There are no Virtual Image Use Rights.

 Standard Edition

The standard edition is also used for small and medium sized businesses. It supports up to 32 GB of RAM and 4 physical CPUs. There is a limit of 250 RRAS Network Access Connections and 50 IAS Network Access Connections. Terminal Services (Remote Desktop Services Gateway is limited to 250 Terminal Services Gateway connections.

Server roles which are available in full are:

  • Active Directory Domain Services
  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services
  • Active Directory Rights Management Services
  • Application Server
  • DHCP Server
  • DNS Server
  • Fax Services
  • Hyper-V
  • Print and Document Services
  • Web Services (IIS)
  • Windows Deployment Services (WDS)
  • Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)

Roles that are partially available are:

  • Active Directory Certificate Services – limited to creating Certificate Authorities. There are no features like NDES and Online Responder Services.
  • File Services – limited to 1 standalone DFS root.
  • Network Policy and Access Services – limited to 350 RRAS connections, 50 IAS connections and 2 IAS Server Groups.
  • Remote Desktop Services – limited to 250 Terminal Service Gateway connections.

When comparing Foundation and Standard edition, note that in Standard edition we have a Hyper-V role available. When it comes to technical specification, the Standard edition doesn’t support Cross-File Replication (DFS-R), Failover Cluster Nodes (Nodes), Fault Tolerant Memory Sync, Hot Add Memory, Hot Add Processors, Hot Replace Memory, Hot Replace Processors, IA64 RAM, and IA64 Sockets. However, we have Virtual Image Use Rights for the host (physical instance) and 1 virtual machine.

Enterprise Edition

The Enterprise edition provides additional hardware support and some additional server roles, when compared to Standard edition. It supports up to 2 TB of RAM and 8 physical CPUs. There no limit on RRAS or IAS Network Access Connections, and no limit on Terminal Services Gateway connections.

Enterprise edition supports all available roles in full (including Active Directory Federation Services).

When it comes to technical specification, the Enterprise edition supports Cross-File Replication (DFS-R), 16 Failover Cluster Nodes (Nodes), Fault Tolerant Memory Sync, Hot Add Memory and Virtual Image Use Rights for the host (physical instance) and 4 virtual machines. Enterprise edition doesn’t support Hot Add Processors, Hot Replace Memory, Hot Replace Processors, IA64 RAM, and IA64 Sockets.

Datacenter Edition

The Datacenter is similar to the Enterprise edition, but provides additional hardware support. It supports up to 2 TB of RAM and 64 physical CPUs. There no limit on RRAS or IAS Network Access Connections, and no limit on Terminal Services Gateway connections.
Enterprise edition supports all available roles in full.
When it comes to technical specification, the Enterprise edition supports Cross-File Replication (DFS-R), 16 Failover Cluster Nodes (Nodes), Fault Tolerant Memory Sync, Hot Add Memory, Hot Add Processors, Hot Replace Memory, Hot Replace Processors, and unlimited Virtual Image Use Rights. Enterprise edition doesn’t support , IA64 RAM, and IA64 Sockets.

Web Server Edition

This edition is intended to provide a low cost server edition for those who only want to use a web application server role. It supports up to 32 GB of RAM and 4 physical CPUs. There no support for RRAS or IAS Network Access Connections, and no support for Terminal Services Gateway connections.

Server roles that are available in full are Web Services (IIS) and DNS Server. Other roles are not available.

The Web Server edition doesn’t support Cross-File Replication (DFS-R), Failover Cluster Nodes (Nodes), Fault Tolerant Memory Sync, Hot Add Memory, Hot Add Processors, Hot Replace Memory, Hot Replace Processors, IA64 RAM, and IA64 Sockets.

Itanium Edition

The Itanium edition can be used on Intel Itanium 64 bit processor. It supports up to 2 TB of RAM (IA64 RAM) and 44 physical CPUs (IA64 Sockets). There no support for RRAS Network Access Connections, but it supports 2 IAS Network Access Connections. There is no support for Terminal Services Gateway connections.
Server roles that are available in full are Application Server, and Web Services (IIS). Other roles are not available.
The Itanium edition supports Cross-File Replication (DFS-R), 8 Failover Cluster Nodes (Nodes), Fault Tolerant Memory Sync, Hot Add Memory, Hot Add Processors, Hot Replace Memory, Hot Replace Processors, IA64 RAM, and IA64 Sockets. Virtual Image Use Rights are unlimited.

Server Core Installation

All Windows Server 2008 R2 editions (except Itanium and Foundation) can be installed as a server core installation. Server core installation option provides a minimal, low-maintenance environment of Server 2008 R2. By using server core installation we reduce the attack surface of our server.

On the server core installation we use a command prompt for administration (it has limited GUI support). This also means that core installations have lower hardware requirement. However, in core installations there is no .NET framework support.

Server core can only run a limited set of server roles. The Web Server edition can run:

  • Web Services (IIS)
  • Media Services – must be downloaded separately
  • DNS Server

The Standard edition can run:

  • Active Directory Certificate Services
  • Active Directory Domain Services
  • Active Directory Lighweight Directory Services
  • DHCP Server
  • DNS Server
  • File Services – limited to one standalone DFS root
  • Hyper-V
  • Media Services – must be downloaded separately
  • Print Services
  • Web Services (IIS)

The Enterprise and Datacenter core installations can run all Standard edition core roles, in addition to BranchChache Hosted Cache role.

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