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Product: Windows Server 2012
Company: Microsoft
See Pricing
Review By: Andre Da Costa

with Robert Stein contributing


Table Of Contents (45 Pages)
1: Introduction
2: Key Attributes
Editions, Setup. Deploying Controllers
4: Start Screen & Server Manager
5: Introducing the Private Cloud
6: Internet Information Services 8.0 & the Modern Work Style
7: Hyper-V Extensible Switch
8: Server Message Block 3 & VHDX Disk Format
9: Task Manager & Chkdsk Improvements

10: Other Features
11: Conclusion & Online Resources

2012 promises to be an avalanche of releases from Microsoft. On the desktop, Windows 8 remains the most talked about release, but within the datacenter, Windows 8s counterpart on the server is also creating its own noise amongst Sys Admins and Integrators. One of the themes around Windows 8 is mobility and Touch, Windows Server 2012 itself follows a theme that is part of an industry trend, the Cloud. Windows Server 2012 promises to embrace the concept of private clouds fully while maintaining the traditional concept of on premises administration using its familiar tools. In this review, ActiveWin takes a look at the user experience and improvements.

Microsoft delivers best of both worlds solution for businesses looking to complement existing on premises infrastructures with Cloud Technology that will harness new opportunities for growth and consolidation in strategic areas. The argument that many businesses want a private cloud is a strong one and its part of the key business value of Windows Server 2012. Not every business is ready to trust their data to a third party cloud, but at the same time, many businesses both old and emerging ones want the benefits of the Cloud. This is includes faster deployment and delivery of services to market. These key areas have emerged as a response to the high cost and lack of agility of traditional approaches to IT.

The needs of IT users and the rate of technological change have increased significantly. At the same time, the need to improve IT efficiency and reduce costs are high-priority objectives in most businesses today. Server consolidation through virtualization has been a key driver of cost savings over the past several years. Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V provide significant improvements in scalability and availability, which enables much higher consolidation ratios. Combined with the flexibility of unlimited VM licensing in some Windows SKUs, high-density virtualization can reduce costs significantly. With Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V supporting clusters up to 64 nodes running up to 8,000 VMs, a relatively small amount of physical hardware can support a large amount of IT capability. Further improving the consolidation story is the ability to run significantly larger  VMs, resulting in a higher percentage of physical servers being candidates for virtualization. Individual Windows Server 2012 VMs are able to support 64 virtual processors and 1 terabyte (TB) of random access memory (RAM), providing the ability to virtualize the vast majority of physical servers deployed today. Examples include large database servers or other high-scale workloads that previously could not be virtualized. In addition to scale, a substantial number of new capabilities in the Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V platform enable cloud computing scenarios.

Virtualization has been a big part of the strategy of moving to the Cloud for the past 5 years. Virtualization alone provides significant benefits, Windows Server 2012 make it a key attribute of this release, by ramping up support in critical areas such as, easier deployment, management and performance. What this means is providing the foundational technologies and features that enable cloud attributes such as elasticity, resource pooling, and measured service, while providing significant advancements in the virtualization platform.

  Key Attributes


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