Migrating to a newer version of Windows Server – particularly the just-released Windows Server 2008 R2, and modern server hardware, offers a variety of advantages.
Security. Newer versions of Windows Server are more secure, and currently-supported versions of Windows Server receive updates on an ongoing basis.
Compliance. Currently supported software, such as newer versions of Windows Server, can help businesses comply with various government regulations and standards that apply to many businesses.
Cost. Modern server hardware and operating systems are more stable, helping avoid costly downtime, and power-efficent, helping to save electricity. Up-to-date hardware and software, still supported by vendors, represent a more cost-effective method to deliver business solutions.
Performance. Newer, more powerful hardware and more recent versions of Windows Server perform better, offer new capabilities (faster network connections, virtualization capabilities…) and are more power efficient than older versions.
New Capabilities. Newer versions of Windows Server offer new capabilities which can help improve productivity of IT staff and other workers. For example DirectAccess, new to Windows Server 2008 R2, enables users to stay connected to corporate resources wherever they are on the internet, while administrators can manage those users laptops as if they were in the office. Hyper-V, Microsoft’s hypervisor technology for server virtualization, enables businesses to consolidate frequently underutilized server hardware, helping create a more flexible, efficient, and cost effective server environment.
Windows Server 2008 R2 has been well received by partners, and customers. Customer case studies showcasing the benefits and cost savings of newer versions of Windows Server are available at http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies.
The press has recognized the benefits of Windows Server 2008 R2, as exemplified here:
“With all these new features, R2 is certainly the best Windows Server operating system to date.” Jonathan Hassell, ComputerWorld
“This is, in short, Microsoft's best server operating system to date.” Samara Lyn, CRN
“This version of Windows Server is also the first in a decade to be released in tandem with a new Windows client (in this case, Windows 7).
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As such, Windows Server 2008 R2 includes many features that make it and Windows 7 "better together.“ Jason Perlow, ZDNet
Furthermore, Forrester Consulting conducted a study on Windows Server 2008 R2 using their Total Economic Impact (TEI) Model. They interviewed real customers who have already deployed R2, and the model is based on their actual results. Their framework identified 13 potential areas of savings for customers, and can be used as a template for examining potential savings in your environment. The TEI model shows that medium sized customers could see a break-even Return on Investment (ROI) in less than 6 months. The study is available at http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9695563.