Windows Server 2008 as a development workstation

Windows Server 2008 as a development workstation

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When I'm not messing with WPF and SL, I write software that needs to run on servers (behing WCF endpoints, usually.)  I started experimenting with using Windows Server 2008 directly for this purpose, and I'm pleased to report that this experiment was quite succesful.  What many folks don't know is that you can get the full desktop UI experience working on Windows Server 2008 (complete with Aero Glass if you like.)

There are detailed postings out there that tell you everything you'll need to do for this (such as http://blogs.msdn.com/vijaysk/archive/2008/02/11/using-windows-server-2008-as-a-super-desktop-os.aspx ), but the twist I'd like to mention here is that this even works on my vintage 2006 iMac (I keep an OSX machine around mostly to test for cross-platform compatibility in web sites, plug-ins, and document rendering.)  I had been hesitant to dual boot a server OS there, but I need not have feared - the install went seamlessly.  No troubles with VS 2008, SQL 2008 Feb CTP, or the Silverlight 2 Beta there either.

The only compatibility issue I ran into was with the Windows Live Messenger - the installer didn't like the OS version (and I haven't found a workaround yet.)

If you're developing for the server OS, you can expect a friendly environment there waiting for you.

  • I have even gone as far as using it on my main machine (a laptop) for everyday use, with Hyper-V providing a great environment for my dev and test environments.

    It really is the business, my favourite OS yet.  There are a couple of irritations, especially when using it on a laptop, finding drivers, hyper-v disabling sleep/suspend etc, but it is a net win for me.

    The great thing is its modularity - you can have it bare bones for maximum responsiveness, or if you need a bit more functionality or eye candy, you can add or remove those elements as you wish.

    I was able to do a live SharePoint / Excel Services demo with our own products, SQL, in fact everything but the kitchen sink running in a VM under Hyper-V, plus the overhead of a stacked host OS with no problems, in fact the performance looked impressive.  

    Admittedly it is a decent laptop with 4GB RAM, but it makes these kinds of demos much simpler than they previously were.

    Let me just add another useful link:

    http://www.win2008workstation.com/wordpress/

    Gareth

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