Windows 2008 Impressions (Part III):Roles and Features

Another thing that has changed with the advent of Windows 2008 us that we no longer have
the old Add/Remove Programs with us(there is something similar, called Programs and Features
yet it is for external applications and the link to turning features on and off lead to Server Manager).
Instead when we want to augment the functionality of a Windows 2008 based server we can either

A role can be thought of as the main function of a server. Keep in mind that a server can have
several roles(you are not limited to a specific role). Features on the other hand are secondary
functions that can be added to a server.
The distinction might seem a bit confusing at first yet once you look at the different roles and
and features that are available things tend to get clearer.

Active Directory Certificate Services  [AD-Certificate]
Active Directory Domain Services
Active Directory Federation Services
Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services  [ADLDS]
Active Directory Rights Management Services
Application Server  [Application-Server]
DHCP Server  [DHCP]
DNS Server  [DNS]
Fax Server  [Fax]
File Services
Network Policy and Access Services  [NPAS]
Print Services  [Print-Services]
Terminal Services  [Terminal-Services]
UDDI Services
Web Server (IIS)  [Web-Server]
Windows Deployment Services  [WDS]

When looking at the top level of the roles hierarchy, you can see that these roles depict major functions of servers.
As an example, the File Server role includes Distributed File System,or in other words DFS is part of the File Server

.NET Framework 3.0 Features  [NET-Framework]
BitLocker Drive Encryption  [BitLocker]
BITS Server Extensions  [BITS]
Connection Manager Administration Kit  [CMAK]
Desktop Experience  [Desktop-Experience]
Failover Clustering  [Failover-Clustering]
Group Policy Management  [GPMC]
Internet Printing Client  [Internet-Print-Client]
Internet Storage Name Server  [ISNS]
LPR Port Monitor  [LPR-Port-Monitor]
Message Queuing  [MSMQ]
Multipath I/O  [Multipath-IO]
Network Load Balancing  [NLB]
Peer Name Resolution Protocol  [PNRP]
Quality Windows Audio Video Experience  [qWave]
Remote Assistance  [Remote-Assistance]
Remote Differential Compression  [RDC]
Remote Server Administration Tools  [RSAT]
Removable Storage Manager  [Removable-Storage]
RPC over HTTP Proxy  [RPC-over-HTTP-Proxy]
Simple TCP/IP Services  [Simple-TCPIP]
SMTP Server  [SMTP-Server]
SNMP Services  [SNMP-Services]
Storage Manager for SANs  [Storage-Mgr-SANS]
Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications  [Subsystem-UNIX-Apps]
Telnet Client  [Telnet-Client]
Telnet Server  [Telnet-Server]
TFTP Client  [TFTP-Client]
Windows Internal Database  [Windows-Internal-DB]
Windows PowerShell  [PowerShell]
Windows Process Activation Service  [WAS]
Windows Recovery Disc  [Recovery-Disc]
Windows Server Backup Features  [Backup-Features]
Windows System Resource Manager  [WSRM]
WINS Server  [WINS-Server]
Wireless LAN Service  [Wireless-Networking]

Features are supporting tools to a major role a server has. Several interesting points to note here,WINS is no
longer considered major(it has been diminishing for a long time and people actually expected it to disappear,yet
it’s still here) as it is designated as a feature and not as a role. Another interesting (in my opinion sad) thing to note
is that as with Vista the Telnet client is NOT installed by default.
In my opinion this is a mistake,telnet is used a troubleshooting tool by most network admins,I am guessing that there
is some logic in not installing it by default,I simply can’t understand it for now.
On the same note,I have also noticed that Network Monitor is nowhere to be found(maybe I just missed it),and I ask

Ok,so now we know that we have Roles and Features(we will learn about the new ones and discuss new features
added to the familiar ones later on),how do we install them?

There are several ways to install them,yet we will start with the simplest and most intuitive method for a newly installed
server:Initial Configuration Tasks. At the bottom of this screen you are provided with the opportunity to initiate the wizards
used for adding new Roles and Features.
Once you choose to add either a wizard presents the different Roles or Features and you can choose to install them.
Note that while you are using the wizard it will automatically adapt and change according to your choices(add additional screens
if needed) and that you are able to traverse between the screens presented simply by clicking on the lines (that act as hyperlinks).

There are two major advantages to the new method:

  1. Adding Roles in this manner,enables the system to check for dependencies. When a role is installed
    the wizard ensures that all components needed for the role are installed. This also works the other way around,
    meaning, that when an attempt is made to remove a component the wizard makes sure that there are no dependencies
    on it.

  2. When adding a role using the wizard the role is configured with the recommended security settings so it is no longer needed
    to run the Security Configuration Wizard.

Basically Roles and Features are aligned with the modular concept introduced by Windows 2008. You install a foundation, then
you build upon it and you build only what is necessary to carry out a specific task.  

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