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Windows Server 2012 is Still Where It’s at in 2013

Word on keyboard Choosing a server operating system is a lot more complicated than "Just put the latest version of Windows on it," which is the treatment most workstations get. Server operating systems have different needs and requirements from your workstations, such as administration plug-ins, higher security requirements, and compatibility with common server hardware configurations. Windows Server 2012 is the latest Windows server operating system, with a number of new features that enhance Windows hosting and other server applications. Here’s everything you need to know about Windows Server 2012.

Cloud Effects

You can immediately tell cloud computing had a big effect on the design philosophy behind Windows Server 2012. Microsoft focused heavily on its Hyper-V technology that enables platform virtualization, allowing for the creation of public or private clouds that are completely virtualized and isolated from other users in the environment. The Hyper-V improvements will hopefully help Windows catch up to Linux in the cloud environment, as the OpenStack platform has gotten a great deal of attention for Linux cloud servers. Hyper-V virtualization can also be used in non-cloud virtualization tasks for your network. Centralized control features allow admins to keep track of everything from a single workstation, instead of going from server to server.

Many of the new security features are also cloud-oriented, such as authentication changes. The Deployment Wizard included with Server 2012 makes it easy to deploy services and policies, greatly simplifying administration tasks. Other advantages include enhanced disk encryption, Direct Access, and Active Directory Domain Services, as Redmond Magazine outlines.

Application Platform

The application platform is another improvement in Windows Server 2012. Microsoft designed the technology to work better with Windows Azure, along with adding frameworks and tools focused on simplifying application and cloud application development. PHP is supported natively in 2012, making it much easier to use PHP scripts than in previous versions, according to Microsoft’s website.

Data Control

Server Message Block 2.2 has gotten a big overhaul, allowing it to transfer 6 gigs of data per second. The scalability has also been addressed, allowing file servers to scale to take advantage of the amount of data transfer available now. Dynamic Access Control improves the permissions on shared folders, allowing you to specify a great deal of parameters that controls who can access folders. This allows administrations to have fine-tuned control over data, improving the security of the network overall. PowerShell increases the automation opportunities within the Windows server environment, allowing administrators to work smarter, not harder, on common and complex admin tasks.

Considerations to Keep in Mind

The development of Windows Server 2012 reflects a few Windows 8 influences, notably in the user interface, according to State Tech. The Metro interface, designed primarily for touch screens, eliminates the start button and provides a different Start screen, as well. Since this is a new operating system, carefully investigate hardware and vendor compatibility. Not all vendors have drivers available for this OS yet. Some are working through compatibility issues.

What are your thoughts on Windows Server 2012? Share them in the comments.

Posted in: Editorial