Windows Server 2008 Early Adopters Resource Guide - The Dell TechCenter

Resource Guide for Windows Server 2008 RC1 Early Adopters Program

1 Introduction to Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2008 is the next generation of the Windows server operating system from Microsoft. The main design objective of Windows Server 2008 is to help IT administrators maximize control over their infrastructure while providing unprecedented availability and management capabilities. Towards achieving these goals, Windows Server 2008 introduces improvements in a wide range of areas with key new features such as Windows Hardware Error Architecture (WHEA), Server ‘Core’ aka Server Foundation, Windows Deployment Services (WDS), Network Access Protection (NAP), self-healing NTFS, read-only domain controller (RODC), Window Server Backup (WSB), native iSCSI/iSNS support, Platform Networking Features (includes the next-generation TCP/IP stack, enhancements to HTTP.SYS, NDIS 6.0), TPM based BitLocker, etc. Windows Server 2008 also includes enhancements to key technologies such as IPsec, IPv6-enabled server roles, Terminal Services, IIS web server (IIS 7.0), full-volume encryption (FVE), Multi-lingual User Interface (MUI) etc. More in-depth information on the key features that are expected to impact Dell hardware and software components is provided in the “Windows Server 2008 support requirements and engineering deliverables” section in this document.

NOTE: Please refer to for indepth OS feature discriptions.

1.1 New Windows Server 2008 Features

  • Server Core: Windows Server 2008 introduces a new capability that allows the administrator to install a minimal version of the OS (called “Server Core”) which only installs those OS components required for basic server functionality. Due to its minimal nature, this install only supports the following roles - DHCP, DNS, File Server, Domain Controller and the following features - Failover Clustering, Network Load Balancing, Subsystem for UNIX-based applications, Backup, MPIO, Removable Storage Management, BitLocker™ Drive Encryption, and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). The key differences in Server Core are that it does not have a GUI or provide the capability to run applications. Due to the reduced number of components in the install, Server Core presents key advantages such as reduced software maintenance, reduced attack surface (ASR), and also has smaller disk space requirements.
  • BitLocker™ Drive Encryption (BDE): BitLocker is a new drive encryption and data protection feature in Windows Server 2008 Server that is primarily aimed at securing data in hard drives on systems that are not in a physically secure environment including systems in remote locations. The BitLocker feature provides the customer with a transparent mechanism to encrypt their OS volume as well as data volumes. Basic data protection is available when BDE is implemented in conjunction with a USB flash key and more secure protection such as boot validation (aka SecureStartup™) is available when used in conjunction with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) v1.2. The TPM is a chip on the system motherboard that holds platform measurements and the BitLocker keys.
  • Native Watch Dog Timer (WDT): A WDT is a piece of hardware that takes certain actions (reboot a system, run a diagnostic tool, etc) when a count-down timer expires. The timer expires when the component responsible for resetting the timer is not available and that typically happens when the system is in some non-functional state. So the function of WDT is to automatically attempt to recover a system that is in a hung state. Though WDT v2.0 in Windows Server 2008 is a significant improvement to v1.0 in Windows Server 2003, v2.0 continues to not support IPMI-based timers. WDT 2.0 is chipset based and requires BIOS support via WDAT (Watchdog Action Table) fixed resource table as defined in ACPI 2.0 spec. Due to the hardware dependency, native WDT support in the OS will only be leveraged in a post-9G platform. The Dell OpenManage software stack has been providing WDT functionality with a BMC-based hardware and the plan is for this solution to co-exist with the Windows Server 2008 solution.
  • Windows Hardware Error Architecture (WHEA): WHEA is a new feature in Windows Server 2008 intended to reduce mean-time-to-recovery for fatal hardware errors through richer error reporting and to reduce system crashes related to hardware errors through effective operating system hardware error recovery and health monitoring.
  • Native PCI-Express (PCIe): Windows Server 2003 and legacy operating systems did not have native PCIe support and it treated PCIe as PCI. This required the system BIOS and firmware to handle PCIe features such as power management and hot-plug. With Windows Server 2008 introducing native PCIe support in the OS, PCIe features such as Active State Power Management (ASPM), Advanced Error Reporting (AER), Native Power Management Events (PME), Extended configuration space access, PCIe hot-plug, and Message Signal Interrupt (MSI) can be handled by the OS. The _OSC method (defined in ACPI spec 3.0) is used by the platform to grant control of PCIe features to the OS. Dell 9G and later platform BIOSes will implement this _OSC method.
  • User Access Control (UAC): The UAC feature is a key new security enhancement in Windows Server 2008 that attempts to reduce vulnerability to malware by preventing unauthorized processes from making any changes to the system and it does so by limiting the default permissions available to users. By default, Windows Server 2008 will run every application as a standard user (that has no administrative privileges) even when the user is a member of the administrator's group. And when a process attempts actions that require elevated permissions, UAC will prompt the user for consent. UAC has very strict guidelines and compliance requirements for applications and we are working with all the engineering teams at Dell to make sure all supported applications are UAC compliant.
  • Kernel Transaction Manager (KTM): The new KTM feature in Windows Server 2008 introduces the concept of “transactions” into the Windows kernel. With KTM implements the Transactional NTFS (TxF) and Transactional Registry (TxR) that allows applications to conduct NTFS and registry operations transactionally thereby preventing inconsistencies and maintaining data integrity.
  • Windows Resource Protection (WRP): WRP is a feature that improves system reliability and stability by ensuring that system static files, folders and registry keys are protected from changes by other applications and users. It achieves this by allowing only OS trusted installers from making any updates to the protected files. This technology replaces the Windows File Protection feature in Windows Server 2003.
  • Network Access Protection (NAP): The NAP technology allows administrators to create security policies that define the software and security requirements for a computer before it will be allowed to connect to a network. NAP in Windows Server 2008 allows policy servers to be hooked up to system health servers and remediation servers in order to allow clients attempting to connect to the server to become compliant in case they are not.
  • Windows Server Backup (WSB): WSB is the enhanced native backup and recovery solution in Windows Server 2008 that replaces the NTBackup solution supported in previous Windows OSes. Intended for the low and medium segment of the server market, WSB is a basic and easy to use solution that uses Volume Shadow Copy Service and block-level backup technology. It also supports backup/restore of applications such as SQL Server and Exchange. A key change in native backup in Windows Server 2008 is that WSB does not support tape devices and this reflects the change in the industry to move from tapes to disk due to the shrinking cost difference between the two storage media. To allow restoration of data backed up to tape using NTBackup in legacy OSes, a non-native NTBackup tool will be available for download that will support restore (only) from tape.
  • Dynamic Partitioning support: To support the capabilities of a dynamically partitionable server, Windows Server 2008 supports hot-add and hot-replace of processors and memory. The current Dell server roadmap does not project dynamic partitioning support.

1.2 System Requirements

· Processor: o Minimum: 1GHz o Recommended: 2GHz o Optimal: 3GHz or faster · Memory: o Minimum: 512MB RAM o Recommended: 1GB RAM o Optimal: 2GB RAM (Full installation) or 1GB RAM (Server Core installation) or more o Maximum (32-bit systems): 4GB (Standard) or 64GB (Enterprise and Datacenter) o Maximum (64-bit systems): 32GB (Standard) or 2TB (Enterprise and Datacenter) · Available Disk Space: o Minimum: 8GB o Recommended: 40GB (Full installation) or 10GB (Server Core installation) o Optimal: 80GB (Full installation) or 40GB (Server Core installation) or more Note: Computers with more than 16 GB of RAM will require more disk space for paging, hibernation and dump files · DVD-ROM drive · Super VGA (800 × 600) or higher-resolution monitor · Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device NOTE: Actual requirements will vary based on your system configuration and the applications and features you choose to install. Additional available hard-disk space may be required. Please refer to Microsoft’s latest hardware requirement for the latest information:

2 Program Overview

2.1 Purpose

Dell’s Windows Server 2008 Customer Partnership is an accompanying program to Microsoft’s Technology Adoption Program (TAP) for the pre-release versions of the Windows Server 2008. Dell intended this program for a selected number of key customers in an effort to facilitate Windows Server 2008 evaluation and deployment and provide a proactive mechanism to bring customer test information to Dell’s engineering team responsible for delivering the software on Dell PowerEdgeTM Server products. This document provides the following information: · Recommended Windows Server 2008 installation process · Supported Dell PowerEdge servers · Supported Dell OpenManage components · Dell-supported network components · Dell-supported storage components · Known issues and solution workarounds.

2.2 Program Goals

The program is designed to facilitate the pre-release implementation of Windows Server 2008 products on certain PowerEdge servers in conjunction with Windows Server 2008 TAP. This facilitation is limited to: · Provide advance knowledge of known hardware-related problems and workarounds, if available · Access to pre-release beta drivers, firmware, and tools, as they become available · Best practices for testing Windows Server 2008 pre-release code on Dell PowerEdge Servers · Other pertinent information related to the availability of Windows Server 2008 on Dell PowerEdge Servers · Timelines for future updates and certifications · OpenManage · Peripherals Note: All Dell deliverables and release schedules are subject to change and are dependent on Microsoft’s release schedule for Beta 3,RC1, and RTM builds.

2.3 Program Scope And Charter

· Parties testing beta and/or pre-release versions Windows Server 2008 (“Pre-release code”) are not eligible for customer support through Dell’s formal support channels for any Windows Server 2008 OS/software/driver (including OpenManage) related issues. Dell will provide best efforts for hardware in accordance with the warranty on the product only if the hardware issue is completely independent of software. To prove that the problem is software-agnostic, it may be necessary to reproduce the problem without the Windows Server 2008 operating system. · The Dell’s Windows Server 2008 Early Adoption Program ends at Dell’s release of Windows Server 2008 by Dell, and software support will revert to Dell’s formal support channels based on your level of contracted support. · Dell cannot discuss Microsoft schedules or any Microsoft-confidential information. The program does not provide: · A guarantee of a Dell fix for a problem related to Windows Windows Server 2008 o Due to schedules and project schedules, a fix may or may not be imminent, depending on the specific issue and work required to fix it · Basic hardware support for items unrelated to Windows Server 2008 (replacement peripherals, server motherboards, etc.) o These should be handled through the primary Dell support channels · Access to Microsoft software o This should be provided via the Microsoft TAP program contacts or typical channels · Information on fixes or known problems with Microsoft software o This should be provided via the Microsoft TAP program contacts or typical channels

3 Installation Process

3.1 Clean Installation

A clean installation includes installing Windows Server 2008 into a new disk partition. Depending on the server and storage adapters on the server, a mass storage device driver may be required to ensure the boot device drivers are loaded. See the storage section later in this document for more information on which devices can be loaded with the “in-box” drivers vs. those that require additional drivers. The clean installation starts with an upgrade to the server’s BIOS and firmware. This should be done before installing the Windows Server 2008 OS. The “test/fix” notation in the following diagram highlights that this scenario is being thoroughly tested by Dell and every effort will be made to fix problems before Windows Server 2008 is shipped from Dell.

3.2 Upgrade to Windows Server 2008 Is Supported by Dell with rc1 release

Please refer to the “Migrating Dell PowerEdge Server to Microsoft Windows Server 2008” document located at:

3.3 Supported Poweredge platforms and RAID controlers

The following table outlines the latest supported BIOS and firmware revisions on PowerEdge servers that are supported by the Windows Server 2008 Early Adoption Program. The versions in the table are being tested by Dell and are recommended for all testing with Windows Server 2008.
* NOTE: Some legacy components do not support the new Microsoft Storport driver architecture or the new NDIS 6.0 driver architecture; hence 6 generation servers (i.e. PE2650) will only be supported on a best effort basis. Dell Services can provide support but cannot guarantee a resolution in all cases.

NOTE: The following BIOS and Firmware versions are publicly available at

We recommend that before you install Windows Server 2008 RC1 or any beta version , you check the Dell support website for the latest BIOS and firmware revisions and upgrade your system.

PowerEdge Server x86 support x64 support Minimum supported BIOS Minimum supported ESM & BMC F/W Minimum supported DRAC F/W
A05 N/A Not Supported
A14 ESM A37 Not Supported
A21 ESM A02 Not Supported
A13 ESM A37 Not Supported
A17 ESM A33 Not Supported
A17 ESM A33 Not Supported
A06 N/A Not Supported
A12 ESM A37 Not Supported
A03 BMC A06 (v.1.72) DRAC 4/P&I A00 (v.1.60)
PE830 A04 BMC A04 ( v.1.72) DRAC 4/P&I A00 (v.1.60)
PE840 A05 BMC A03 (1.75) DRAC 4/P&I A00 (v.1.60)
PE850 A04 BMC A04 ( v.1.72) DRAC 4/P&I A00 (v.1.60)
PE860 A05 BMC A03 (v.1.75) DRAC 4/P&I A00 (v.1.60)
PE1800 A07 BMC A08 (v1.72) DRAC 4/P&I A00 (v.1.60)
PE1850 A06 BMC A09 ( v.1.72) DRAC 4/P&I A00 (v.1.60)
PE1855MC A05 BMC A04 (v.1.11) DRAC /MC A00 (1.5.0)
PE2800 A06 BMC A09 ( v.1.72) DRAC 4/P&I A00 (v.1.60)
PE2850 A06 BMC A09 ( v.1.72) DRAC 4/P&I A00 (v.1.60)
PE6800/800T A05 A10 (v.1.77) DRAC 4/P&I A00 (v.1.60)
PE6850/800T A05 A10 (v.1.77) DRAC 4/P&I A00 (v.1.60)

PE1900 2.1.0 A03 (v.1.69) DRAC 5 A00 (v.1.32)
PE1950 2.0.1 A07 (v.1.77) DRAC 5 A00 (v.1.32)
PE2900 2.1.0 A05 (v.1.77) DRAC 5 A00 (v.1.32)
PE2950 2.0.1 A06 (v.1.77) DRAC 5 A00 (v.1.32)
PE1955MC 1.4.2 A04 (v.1.69) DRAC /MC A00 (v1.5.0)
PE6950 1.3.5 A03 (v.1.69) DRAC 5 A00 (v.1.32)
PE2970 1.3.4 A01 (v.1.52) DRAC 5 A00 (v.1.32)
SC440 1.5.0 N/A N/A
SC1430 1.4.0 N/A N/A
SC1435 1.3.4 A04 (v.1.78) N/A

Device Native Support Minimum Supported F/W
PERC 3/ Di SCSI No Not Supported
PERC 4/Di SCSI Yes A05
PERC 4e/Di SCSI Yes A30
PERC 5i SAS Yes A07
PERC 5/E SAS Yes A06
SAS 5 /iR Yes A03
SAS 5 E Yes A04
SAS 6/iR Yes A02
PERC 6 i SAS Yes A01
CERC 6 Ch Sata No Not Supported

Caution : PERC 3 QC, PERC 3 DC, PERC 3 SC, and CERC 2S are not supported with the Windows Server 2008 operating system running on PowerEdge servers.

4 Supported Peripherals

4.1 “Inbox” Drivers Defined

“Inbox” driver refers to drivers that are in the OS media/image from Microsoft. Vendors can submit drivers to Microsoft and Microsoft will take ownership of testing the device. Inbox drivers are automatically signed by Microsoft. All devices that do not have an inbox device driver will need to have a non-native signed driver available at Dell Windows Server 2008 RTS. Devices with inbox drivers may also have to provide non-native signed drivers with fixes for issues that could not be fixed in the inbox driver versions.

4.2 Supported peripheral driver status

All Dell Windows Server 2008 EAP supported PowerEdge servers integrated and add-in peripherals have “indox” drivers that are native to Windows Server 2008 Beta 3 builds.

4.3 no Windows Server 2008 support

The following non-supported Dell PowerEdge platform and periphals with no planed Windows Server 2008 support are listed below.
  • DRAC III has no Windows Server 2008 support.
  • CERC2 controllers.
  • PERC 3 DC & QC controllers.
5 OpenManage support

5.1 Overview

OpenManage versions 5.2 enables systems management on Windows Server 2008. Only select components of this OM version will support Windows Server 2008. The components supported include (and are limited to) the following:
  • Dell OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA)
  • Dell OpenManage Storage Services (OMSS/OMSM)
  • Online Diagnostics (OLD)
  • DRAC IV and DRAC V
The following components DO NOT enable Windows Server 2008 support and are NOT supported during the Beta 3 and RC Windows Server 2008 versions of this program.
  • Dell Server Assistant (DSA)
  • IT Administrator (ITA)
OpenManage version 5.3 will be fully Windows Server 2008 enabled except for DSA/CDU support and 5.4 will release in tandem with Windows Server 2008 launch in 1st or 2nd quarter 2008 and will be full feature enabled and supported.

6 Appendix

6.1 Definition of Terms

Acronym Description
AHCI Advanced Host Controller Interface (Windows Server 2008 has inbox AHCI support)
BC Business Contract (owned by Program Manager)
DIFx Driver Installation Framework
DTM Driver Test Manager (New in Windows Server 2008 to replace HCT)
EDP Engineering Development Process
EFP Engineering Functional Plan (Owned by Engineering)
FVE Full-Volume Encryption
IOAT Intel I/O Acceleration Technology (Natively supported in Windows Server 2008)
IE7 Internet Explorer version 7
IPMI Intelligent Platform Management Interface
IPv6 Internet Protocol Version 6 (Natively supported in Windows Server 2008)
iSNS internet Storage Naming Server (Natively supported in Windows Server 2008)
ITCU Inventory Tool for Custom Updates
KTM Kernel Transaction Manager (new kernel enhancement in Windows Server 2008)
LIP Language Interface Pack (also referred to as Partial LP)
LP Language Pack (MUI implementation in LH. LPs may be Full LPs or Partial LP)
LUA Least User Access (Same as UAC)
MPIO Multi-Path IO (Natively supported in Windows Server 2008)
MUI Multi-User Interface (Localization feature in Windows Server 2008)
NAP Network Access Protection (Natively supported in Windows Server 2008)
NDIS Network Driver Interface Specification (Windows Server 2008 natively supports NDIS 6.0)
OA OEM Activation (new name for SLP – see SLP definition below). Windows Server 2008 requires OA 2.0.
OOBE Out-Of-Box-Experience
PFG Product Feature Guide (Owned by Marketing)
PSHED Platform-Specific Hardware Error Driver
PT Product Test
RC Release Candidate (This is an OS Milestone)
RMT Role Management Tool
RSM Removable Storage Management (Feature in Windows Server 2008)
RSS Receive-Side Scaling (Natively supported in Windows Server 2008)
SEL System Event Log
SLP System Locked Pre-installation is the technology when implemented by OEMs in media/FI allows OS installs to be done without entering a PID or requiring activation. The new name for SLP is OA (OEM Activation)
TOE TCP Offload Engine (Natively supported in Windows Server 2008)
TPM Trusted Platform Module (Hardware module to support FVE in Windows Server 2008)
UAC/UAP User Access Control (New in Windows Server 2008) or User Access Protection
WDK Windows Driver Kit (New in Windows Server 2008)
WDS Windows Deployment Services (Replacement to RIS in Windows Server 2008)
WDT Watch Dog Timer (Native driver in Windows Server 2008 – wd.sys)
WER Windows Error Reporting
WHEA Windows Hardware Error Architecture (New feature in Windows Server 2008)
WHQL Windows Hardware Quality Lab (applies to device/server certification)
WinRE Windows Recovery Environment (New recovery feature in Windows Server 2008)
WRP Windows Resource Protection (New feature in Windows Server 2008 replacing File System Protection in W2k3)
WSB Windows Server Backup (New feature in Windows Server 2008 – an enhanced version of NTBackup in W2k3)
WSMAN WS-Management (feature introduced in Windows Server 2003 R2)
WU/WUS Windows Update/Windows Update Services