Windows VPS hosting is centered around the Windows Server platform and its most current iteration of Windows 2008 R2. Unlike Linux, which has a broad variety of flavors to choose from, those who prefer Windows servers have essentially two choices – Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008. Despite the fact that the number in the name is almost three years out of date, Microsoft continues to release updates for its server platforms and has garnered a reputation as one of the most stable and reliable systems on the market. Windows VPS hosting has now become commonplace thanks to the usability and scalability of Windows 2008 R2 Server.
Basics of Windows 2008 R2
Windows 2008 is based on Windows NT 6.X, just like the Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems. Released in February 2008, it was the successor to Windows Server 2003 and in 2009 got its first major upgrade, Windows 2008 R2. It was originally known by the codename “longhorn”.
Minimum specifications for running a Windows 2008 environment include 1.4 Ghz of processor speed, 512 MB of RAM, and 32 GB of hard drive space. Running a Windows VPS hosting environment includes recommendations to increase RAM especially.
Features of the Windows 2008 Server
Although Windows 2008 Server R2 is based on the same code as Windows Vista, there are a number of features it contains that are not found in the typical Windows operating system, starting with the smaller server core. Microsoft decided to scale down the server core found in Windows 2008 and removed things like the .NET framework, Internet Explorer and PowerShell in order to limit the “attack surface” that hackers would have to affect the program. Estimates made by those at Microsoft indicated that approximately 70% of security breaches made on previous versions of their non-server OS could have been prevented with a smaller server core.
Failover clustering in Windows Server 2008 allows features and roles to be kept running with almost no downtime. A cluster validation wizard was introduced, which allowed tests to be run on collections of servers and provide real-time data on how well failover clustering would perform. Another key feature of Windows Server 2008 is the self-healing NTFS. A self-healing NTFS means that if a corrupt file in the NTFS system is detected, and entire shutdown of the system will not be necessary. Instead, a worker NTFS thread is spawned in the background which can conduct on the spot fixes to keep the server running.
The Role of Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008
One of the key components in Windows VPS hosting using Windows Server 2008 is the Hyper-V VPS server. Microsoft developed what is known as the Hyper-V hypervisor, a meta-supervisory program that allows a server to be partitioned into multiple instances, each of which is independent of others, at least from the perspective of a user. Hyper-V technology is then able to control resource allocation for all users, and ensure that no one user is taking up too much RAM or bandwidth at a time. For a hosting provider, a Hyper-V server can mean minimal downtime, and for a user, having a Hyper-V controlling the server means that resources will always be available. Hyper-V comes packaged with Windows Server 2008, though a standalone version of the program is also available.
In addition to the features inherent to Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V server technology, users often find that pairing Internet Information Services (IIS) for Windows Server can improve overall performance. This flexible Web server is meant to be secure and easy to manage, offering users the ability to scale as needed, and perform tasks such as media streaming, web hosting and the ability to develop and deploy PHP and ASP.NET applications on the same server.
Windows VPS hosting has become far more powerful in recent years, and moved beyond simply the local server to be sold commercially and used by a wide variety of providers. The utility of the Windows OS, stripped down to its bare bones and given enhanced repair structures, in combination with Hyper-V and IIS, make this server and hosting platform one that will continue to deliver and perform, and that is backed up by Microsoft’s technological clout and reliability.
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