Determine which edition of Windows Server is appropriate for a specific set of circumstances

Exam: Microsoft 70-646 - Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator


Windows Server 2008 R2 is available in various editions. The reason for having various editions is that they have been developed with the objective of catering to different environments and performing specific roles. While one edition and configuration may be suitable for a branch office another edition and configuration may be more suitable for a head office. Let us look at the features of these editions in detail in order to understand the suitability to specific circumstances.

Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition

Suitable for small to mid size businesses, the main features of the standard edition of Windows Server 2008 R2 are summarized in the table given below:

Memory Maximum upto 32 GB of RAM
No. of Physical Processors supported: 4
Failover Clustering Not supported
Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) Not supported
Connections Maximum 250 (incoming Routing and Remote Access or Remote Desktop Gateway connections)

This edition is selected for filing in the roles of DNS Server, domain controller, DHCP Server, application server, file and print server. The services being vital are not dependent on the Enterprise and Datacenter editions of the operating system.

Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition

Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise edition is suitable for large businesses. It is suitable for applications like the Exchange Server 2010 if the aim is implementation of Database Availability Groups or Microsoft SQL Server failover clustering. It provides the extra processing power, RAM and other features that are required for features like failover clustering. The features of this edition can be summarized as follows:

Memory 2 terabytes of RAM maximum
No. of Machines Supported Host + 4 virtual machines
Failover Clustering Supported
Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) Supported
AD CS All features supported

The Edition is best suited where the server has unusual demands for example being a part of failover clustering.

Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition

The Datacenter edition is best suited for business that are very large in size. The reason why an organization may chose it over the Enterprise edition is the fact that is supports an unlimited number of virtual machines. The edition is most suitable for organizations where virtualization is used for consolidating existing servers or simply where major hardware capacity is required for application servers.

Memory 2 terabytes of RAM maximum
No. of Machines Supported Host + unlimited virtual machines
Failover Clustering Supported
Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) Supported
AD CS All features supported

Windows Web Server 2008 R2

This edition is designed to serve as a Web application server. It does not support roles like Windows Deployment Server and Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). Deployment of the server role is done on a screened subnet for supporting a website that can be viewed by external hosts or as an internet server.

Since it is a lighter edition, it does not support the hardware configurations that are demanding.

Memory 32 GB of RAM maximum

The Windows Web Server 2008 R2 should be deployed in the Server Core configuration. This helps to keep the attack surfaces to the minimum. The edition should be preferred only in case the web applications of the organization are dependent on features that are not available in the Server Core Version.

Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-Based Systems

The edition is designed specifically for the Intel Itanium 64-bit processor architecture. The architecture is different from the x64 architecture that is found in chips like the Intel Core i7 or AMD Turion series of processors. This is the only edition that can be installed on an Itanium based computer.

Foundation Edition

The edition is best suited for organizations that are aiming for 15 or less than 15 users. The server is configured as a domain controller. In case the users increase more than 15 the functionality reduces.

HPC Server

This edition is aimed at organizations requiring high performance calculations.


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