Here’s my short analysis. The following are based on RC1. Features may change between now and R1.
Windows Server 2008 Key New Features
BitLocker Drive Encryption
Integrated Multipath I/O
IIS Health, Diagnostics, Performance Tools
Remote Differential Compression - Replicate files/directories over a WAN more efficiently (Better than rsync)
Server Roles - Streamlines server management by defining what a server is used for (ex: Web Server). Can download additional roles from MS by clicking “Check for New Roles.”
Remote Server Administration Tools (Roles and Features Only)
Storage Manager for SANs
Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications - Basically gives you the ability to run Unix apps in a Windows environment. You’ll need to recompile, but shouldn’t need to change the code much.
Windows PowerShell (New, more robust scripting language)
Windows Server Backup
Windows System Resource Manager (Limit/prioritize CPU/Memory access at the service level)
VMWare tools installs fine from VI Client. Network card drivers won’t show up until you install VMWare tools.
I’m aware some of these features were available in previous versions, but now they’re brought to the front of the show.