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Understanding different editions of Windows server 2008

It is important to understand the various 'flavors' or Editions of Windows server 2008 before you start planning the deployment of same in your infrastructure. Given below is a brief description of the various versions and scenarios

Standard Edition:

This edition is ideally suited for the role of DC, File and print server, DNS,DHCP & application server in medium-small sized buisiness. Basically all your infrastructure network requirements can be met by this edition.It also supports Network load balancing clusters

Processing Power maximums: 

  • 4 GB RAM, & 4 Processors in SMP configuration(32-bit(x86) version)
  • 32 Gb RAM & 4 processors in SML configuration(64-bit(x64)version)


Limitation: Cannot be used in failover clustering or installation of enterprise edition features like AD federation services. Though it spoorts Hyper-V, it will bundle windows license for only one VM.Hence it is not an ideal choice for large scale virtualization

Enterprise Edition:

This edition is more suitable for large buisinesses. You can use this edition if you plan to install SQL server enterprise edition, Exchange server 2007, Active directory fedeartion services or install failover clustering etc. The said products would need the extra processing power that enterprise edition supports

Processing Power maximums:

  • 64 GB RAM, & 8 Processors in SMP configuration(32-bit(x86) version)
  • 2 TB RAM & 8 processors in SMP configuration(64-bit(x64)version)


Limitation: One limitation that I can think about is again in Virtualization area. Though it bundles more licenses(ie for 4 VMs) than standard edition, again not very useful for large scale virtualization

Datacenter Edition:

This edition is dierectly targetted at large buisinesses. The main advantage is that it offers unlimited Vituial image rights.This will be the first choice for organizations going for large scale virtualization.It also supports enterprise edition feattures like failover clustering and ADFS. Datacenter edition is onlu available through OEM manufactures and implies a significant captital investment

Processing Power maximums:

  • 64 GB RAM, & 32 Processors in SMP configuration(32-bit(x86) version)
  • 2 TB RAM & 64 processors in SMP configuration(64-bit(x64)version)



Web server Edition:

This is a stripped down version of Windows server 2008, which is specifically targetted for Web applications. It doesnt support high end hardware configurations like other editions of the server. However, it does support Network load balancing clusters

Processing Power maximums:

  • 4 GB RAM, & 4 Processors in SMP configuration(32-bit(x86) version)
  • 32 GB RAM & 4 processors in SMP configuration(64-bit(x64)version)


Windows server 2008 for Itanium based systems:

The Intel Itanium 64 bit arhitecture is significantly different than the usual x64 based architecture in Inter Core 2 Duo or AMD Turion processors. You will need the Windows server 2008 Itanium edition if you are using an Itanium 2 processor. It provides both application and web server capabilities, but lacks other roles like virtualization  & Windows deployment services

Processing Power maximums:

  • 2 TB RAM & 64 processors in SMP configuration

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