It's huge...it's here...it's cool...and, um...it's got the Metro interface. Better get over it!
So ok...the latest incarnation of Microsoft's foray into SMB and Enterprise has finally arrived. And it looks remarkably promising (like most versions of Microsoft's server) even if it is sporting that annoying new front-end Microsoft insists is such an improvement.
With this release, Microsoft fully embraces virtualization and "cloud" technology - and significantly
blurs the differences between "enterprise" and "non-enterprise" servers. This is not
your grandfather's server by any stretch. There's a heavy emphasis on "private cloud" and virtualization strategies. Something which will soon redefine much of what (and how) things are done in the Microsoft ecosystem. About the only gotcha I can see that may
create problems for organizations with a lot of legacy hardware is the new Hyper-V. The version supplied with this server now requires
there be Secondary Level Address Translation
support in the host CPU. Most Intel-based servers built in the last few years will have this however.Windows Server 12 shipping Nov 1, 2012
Microsoft Press has published a 240+ page ebook (available free for download) that gets you up to speed on what this new puppy is all about. More info and download links here
There's also a very good write-up (with a large number of screenshots) over at the ActiveNetwork website. (Link to full article here
Their conclusion reads as follows:
Windows Server 2012 represents a trend that has been happening since Windows Server 2008, a rapid pace of innovation. For many businesses, Windows 8 on the desktop might require careful planning in regards to deployment. With Windows Server 2012, it’s a different story, deploying Windows Server 2012 not only guarantees immediate productivity gains but significant value by bringing businesses the benefits of the Cloud while maintaining the assurance in on premises deployment that Administrators still depend on and prefer. Windows Server 2012 redefines scalability, a buzz word that you heard a lot more than a decade ago when Windows 2000 Server was launched. Windows Server 2012 really provides opportunities for businesses to not only consolidate on physical hardware investments, but eventually take their entire datacenter to the cloud using services such as Windows Azure. Private Clouds is a significant theme of this release and when you look at the features like Hyper-V Switch, Hyper-V Replica, Dynamic Memory improvements you sense this is a release built from the ground up for a new era in computing. Windows Server 2012 should be a breath of fresh air in many datacenters and if you have not investigated this release, you should start now.
Significant support in cloud computing.
Improvements in automation and deployment
Faster deployment of VMs in addition to management
Hyper-V features such as Replica and Hyper-V Switch
Improved Dynamic Memory support.
Active Directory Recycle Bin UI improvements for restoring objects
Enhanced Remote Management Tools for easier management of multiple servers
IIS 8 CPU utilization management and optimization options for websites.
Powershell 2.5 and .Net Framework 3.5 features do not work.
Metro interface might take some adjustment, especially navigation.
More clicks required than necessary for simple task.
I'm pretty much on record for being skeptical of what Windows 8 is bringing to the table. And I think my skepticism is largely justified. When it comes to Windows Server however, I think Microsoft has once again hit that elusive sweet spot for this type of system if it all works as advertised. And I have no reason to believe it won't based on my experiences with previous incarnations of Windows Server. Bill & Co. have always made a very
Microsoft has 180-day trial versions available for download from TechNet. Link here
. Hardware requirements are fairly minimal for this class of product : CPU 64-bit (1.4Ghz min/3.1 recommended); RAM 2Gb min/8Gb recommended ; HD 160Gb minimum; NIC 1-gigabit.
It's a whole new world folks!