Windows Server 2008 R2 to support up to 256 CPU cores

Current version supports up to 64 logical processors

Microsoft Thursday said the next upgrade of its Windows Server operating system will scale up to 256 logical processors.

Microsoft defines a logical processor as the number of physical processors multiplied by the number of cores as well as the number of threads, said corporate vice president for Windows Server and solutions, Bill Laing, during a keynote speech at the company's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC).

Thus, Windows Server 2008 R2 will be able to, for example, support a system with 64 physical processors each with 2 cores, each supporting 2 threads (64 x 2 x 2 = 256), said Laing.

Windows Server 2008 today supports up to 64 logical processors.

Windows Server 2008 R2 is due in 2010, said Laing, who also touted its integration with the next version of Microsoft's SQL Server database, code-named Kilimanjaro, due in the first half of 2010.

Windows Server 2008 R2 will be the first version of the server operating system that will only come in 64-bit versions. Though it is considered a minor upgrade, R2 will include some new features, such as hundreds of pre-written "cmdlets" for its PowerShell script-based management interface for Windows Server.

Some IT administrators prefer to manage servers through text interfaces because they consider it more precise and economical. For those who want almost-the-same precision but through an easier-to-use graphical interface, R2 will also include an Active Directory Administrative Center built directly on top of PowerShell, Laing said.

Laing also touted the integration between between the upcoming Windows 7 client operating system and Windows Server 2008 R2. He showed how IT administrators would be able to quickly and securely manage branch office and remote PCs through R2.

He also reminded the audience, mostly engineers at Microsoft's hardware partners, that R2 will include a version of the Hyper-V server virtualization software that will have the ability to do Live Migration, or move around virtualized workloads without disruption or downtime.

R2's version of Hyper-V will allow each virtualized workload to run on up to 32 logical processors, compared with 24 today, Laing said.

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