Microsoft just released Longhorn Server, build 6001.16497 (compiled on March 31st) to Technical Beta testers. The FAQ is expremely sparce (allthough it is called beta_3_faq, so they are definitely gearing up for the 3rd beta), so no word yet on what is different. But if you're a beta tester, log into Connect and download it now! Otherwise, it will be available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers next week.
I had originally thought I couldn't post about this, because the newsgroups said not to. But since the Windows Server Blog has posted all the details, including the fact that Windows Powershell is now baked in, I'm gonna talk about it anyways.
I took an hour and installed it on a virtual machine yesterday, and I'm very impressed. Longhorn Server is actually a joy to manage. Weird, huh? The only thing I don't like is that the sheer size of the installation footprint makes virtualization a bit more of a pain. Instead of a 3 GB server images I get to upload to my web farm, I have a 10GB image that must be uploaded. That kinda sucks... but oh well.
What I'm really excited to try out is the new Web Farm support in IIS7. Scott Guthrie has the details:
The web farm support in particular is really cool, and will allow you to deploy your web applications on a file-share that contains all of the code, configuration, content, and encryption keys needed to run a server. You can then add any number of stateless and configuration-less web-servers into a web farm and just point them at the file-server to dynamically load their configuration settings (including bindings, virtual directories, app pool settings, etc) and application content. This makes it trivial to scale out applications across machines, and avoid having to use replication schemes for configuration and application deployment (just copy over the files on the file-share and all of the machines in the web farm will immediately pick up the changes).
I'm working on an application deployment for a client where that would come in particularly handy.
I wonder if the fact that another CTP is out means that Beta 3 won't be out until May...