Microsoft has been putting a considerable amount of effort in their server products over the last few years, and have been rewarded with ever-increasing sales in that division. Now, the software giant is trying to build on that momentum, with release candidates for two new server products: Windows PowerShell and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2.
Windows PowerShell Release Candidate 2 (RC2) is available for download at Microsoft's site. This "command line on steroids" was formerly known by its codename, Monad, and has been eagerly anticipated by command line fans and server administrators everywhere. At one point, Monad was to be included in Windows Vista itself, but delays forced the product to be unbundled.
PowerShell boasts over 130 command line tools, and runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server "Longhorn" (the server version of Vista, due to ship in the first half of 2007). Microsoft claims that it will make life easier for system administrators, as it allows virtually all aspects of Windows to become scriptable.
Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, now in release candidate testing, will be a major upgrade, with enhancements to the Microsoft Management Console, new Windows Deployment Services, extra firewall features, performance enhancements for SQL Server, and improved performance when running the OS under virtualization. The update covers all versions of Windows Server 2003, as well as the x64 version of Windows XP Professional, which was built on the same codebase.