Editor’s Note: Windows Server in Harmony

A Windows Server environment is like a symphony, and you’re the conductor, so refining your art and techniques is a constant learning process.

By Mitch Irsfeld

This is another in our “make it sing” series of feature packages, about how to get the most out of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. There are, of course, myriad ways to get value from your server environment. So we’ll focus on areas that have already proven beneficial and provide resources that offer more tips that you might not have considered.

Smoothing Out the WAN

Let’s start with one of the cool capabilities introduced with Windows Server 2008 R2: BranchCache. This feature is designed to reduce wide-area network (WAN) utilization and enhance application responsiveness over the network by caching frequently used data locally.

Once enabled, there are many considerations that go into configuring BranchCache to perform optimally for your specific needs. Microsoft MVP Brien Posey demonstrates how to configure BranchCache for caching file server data in his TechNet Magazine article Windows Server 2008 R2: Optimize the Branch Office Experience.

In the article, Posey also looks the Read-Only Domain Controllers (RODCs). RODCs were introduced in Windows Server 2008 to help organizations easily deploy a domain controller in locations, like branch offices, where physical security cannot be guaranteed. They do this by hosting read-only partitions of the Active Directory Domain Services database so that non-administrative domain users can log on to a domain controller without risk to the Active Directory forest. Posey explains why RODCs are so useful for branch office support and shows how to deploy and RODC.

Allocating Memory

If you are hosting virtual workloads with Hyper-V, you’ll want to read Posey’s other TechNet Magazine article Optimizing Hyper-V Memory Usage. He provides several key considerations for allocating memory to virtual machines, such has calculating the size of non-uniform memory access (NUMA) nodes, accounting for the memory overhead of Hyper-V, allocating memory for guest VMs, committing dynamic memory to VMs, and more.

A Well-Tuned Machine

Hardware considerations go beyond memory allocation and are a great place to start is the Performance Tuning Guidelines for Windows Server. This guide describes important tuning parameters and settings that can result in improved performance Windows Server 2008. Each setting and its potential effect are described to help you make an informed judgment about its relevance to your system, workload, and performance goals.

Here’s one to bookmark and keep handy: Windows Server 2008 Tipsprovides nearly 50 tips and best practices for managing, troubleshooting and using Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Speaking of troubleshooting, the TechNet Library provides documentation about guides, events and errors for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in Troubleshoot Windows Server.

The TechNet Library also maintains the following reference documentation to help you get the most from your Windows Server environment:

Windows Server continues to evolve with the goals of simplifying the management and maintenance of your server environment, and delivering the capabilities and performance that your applications and users demand. And the ability to configure and tune Windows Server to meet your needs remains an overarching goal.

Thanks for reading and happy holidays,


Mitch Irsfeld

Mitch Irsfeld*, Editor of TechNet, is a veteran computer industry journalist and content developer who managed editorial staffs at several leading publications, includingInformationWeek, InternetWeek andCommunicationsWeek. He is also an editor for* TechNet Magazine and managing editor of the TechNet Flash newsletter.