Windows Server 8 took the stage on Day 2 of the BUILD conference. This OS was built from the ground up to be highly optimized for private and public cloud computing. To have an OS that is optimized for the cloud, there must be a management framework built into the OS that can be used to manage hundreds of thousands of servers reliably and securely.
The Windows Management Framework is that framework. The entire stack has been updated. Windows 8 brings with it a new version of WMI, WMI v2. It is now an order of magnitude easier to write WMI providers. WSMan, the HTTP protocol used under the hood of PowerShell remoting has been updated as well. In a presentation at Build, Jeffrey Snover mentioned that something gets built very well when you rely on it 100%. Microsoft is going all in on WSMan and the Windows Management Framework.
To manage an OS optimized for cloud computing, GUI’s are simply not an option. Windows 2008 introduced the first version of Server Core, removing the GUI from the OS completely. Microsoft is starting to push Server Core as the preferred installation for Windows Server 8. To enable this, remoting must work all the time. Therefore, in Windows 8, PowerShell remoting and WSMan is on by default, out of the box.
Not only is remoting on by default, but MS has invested a great deal of engineering into this technology to make it incredibly robust. Users can now create a session, connect to it, disconnect, and reconnect at a later time. This enables many different scenarios. Just imagine you are at work and kick of a set of jobs across 250 servers that will take a while. You can disconnect from those sessions and go home. After dinner, you can connect back in and check on the jobs by reconnecting to those sessions.
In addition to having a great robust remoting story, the Framework must also be able to cover as much of the OS as possible. MS has made it incredibly easy for teams to add PowerShell cmdlets to their product. When teams create a WMI V2 provider, there are now tools that can be used to automatically generate all the cmdlets associated with their WMI provider. Because of this, there are now cmdlets to manage nearly all aspects of Windows, including low level disk management and networking.
Finally, on top of all these requirements, the Framework must run as fast as possible. PowerShell V3 leverages the Dynamic Language Runtime (the DLR) in its execution engine. This allows script code that is running a lot to be compiled on demand and then executed. The PowerShell team has seen up to a 600% increase in performance of script execution because of this change.
The combination of the performance increase, a robust infrastructure, and an incredibly large foot print across the OS will make Windows 8 a highly optimized cloud computing platform. It is absolutely clear that if you have invested in PowerShell, you will not be sorry. It is likely one of the best investments you have ever made in your IT Pro career.