Growing interest in Microsoft Windows Server 2008

About 2,600 Web sites are already running Microsoft Corp.’s forthcoming Windows Server 2008, a small but increasing number that indicates rising interest in the OS, according to new statistics from Netcraft Ltd.

Microsoft is now using Windows Server 2008 and its Internet Information Server (IIS) 7.0 for its main Web site,, said Colin Phipps, Internet security services developer at Netcraft, which releases a monthly survey on what OSes are being used for Web hosting.

The move means Windows Server 2008 is “production-ready for Microsoft,” Phipps said, but “it’s different when you have the Microsoft engineering team behind a Web site. They can pick up the phone and immediately get the engineer who worked on it.”

A majority of the 2,600 sites, however, are not run by Microsoft, which would indicate developers are exploring the beta versions of Windows Server 2008, Phipps said. Still, the number of sites using the new OS is tiny in proportion to Netcraft’s survey, which queried some 122 million Web sites.

The Apache Web server came top, used by 53.7 percent of sites, with Microsoft products following at 31.8 percent, Netcraft’s survey said. Interestingly, Netcraft placed Google Inc. in third at 3.9 percent. While Google doesn’t have an OS, “Google’s services are an increasingly popular alternative platform for running a blog or simple web site or content that would have formerly been hosted on a desktop or networked file system,” according to Netcraft’s blog.

Phipps expects use of Windows Server 2008 will rise over the coming months. Microsoft released the latest beta version of the server, formerly code-named Longhorn, on Tuesday, adding the ability to use IIS. Windows Server 2008 is expected to be released by the end of this year.

Microsoft has introduced a number of new features into Windows Server 2008, which was code-named Longhorn. Depending on the server manufacturer’s implementation, a Longhorn-equipped server may also be able to spot hardware components that are about to fail and do a hot-swap on its own without human intervention.

The demonstration of Longhorn running on an NEC Express5800/1000 server running Intel Corp. Itanium 2 chips, took place at last month’s Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC). NEC is the first hardware vendor to incorporate Longhorn’s hot-swap feature, but other server vendors are working on it, too.

Microsoft is partnering with suppliers to vertical markets including financial services, or for applications including database or e-mail, where server availability is critical. Microsoft is making available an API (application programming interface) to allow server vendors to implement the hot-swap feature with their respective systems-management software and firmware.

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