With the release of Windows Server 2012, there is so much to learn from each version and this release is no excuse. In this post, let us look at some of the enhancements done with Windows Server 2012 for reference. There are some interesting features introduced for SQL Server 2012 too and we will look at it in future posts.
What’s New in Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) in Windows Server 2012 includes new features that make it simpler and faster to deploy domain controllers (both on-premises and in the cloud), more flexible and easier to both audit and authorize access to files, and easier to perform administrative tasks at scale, either locally or remotely, through consistent graphical and scripted management experiences.
- Dynamic Access Control (DAC), permissions based on AD attribute eg. Location, Department
What’s New in BitLocker
BitLocker encrypts the hard drives on your computer to provide enhanced protection against data theft or exposure on computers and removable drives that are lost or stolen.
- Used Disk Space Only encryption allows for a much quicker encryption experience
- Support for Encrypted Hard Drives for Windows
What’s New in BranchCache
BranchCache in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 provides substantial performance, manageability, scalability, and availability improvements.
- Data De-duplication, duplicate content is stored once and downloaded once
What’s New in Failover Clustering
Failover clusters provide high availability and scalability to many server workloads. These include file share storage for server applications such as Hyper-V and Microsoft SQL Server, and server applications that run on physical servers or virtual machines.
- Scalability, Scales to 64 nodes and 4,000 virtual machines per cluster
- Cluster-Aware Updating, applies software updates across the cluster nodes while maintaining availability
- Scale-Out File Servers, provides CSV storage and integrates with File Services features to support scalable, continuously available application storage
- Dynamic Quorum, simplifies quorum setup and increases the availability
What’s New in File Server Resource Manager
File Server Resource Manager provides a set of features that allow you to manage and classify data that is stored on file servers.
- File Classification, automatic classification processes
What’s New in Hyper-V
The Hyper-V role enables you to create and manage a virtualized computing environment by using virtualization technology that is built in to Windows Server 2012. Hyper-V virtualizes hardware to provide an environment in which you can run multiple operating systems at the same time on one physical computer, by running each operating system in its own virtual machine.
- Client Hyper-V, now available in a desktop operating system
- Hyper-V Replica, replicate virtual machines between storage systems
- Live migration, perform a live migration in a non-clustered environment
- Scale and resiliency, significantly larger compute and storage resources
- SMB 3.0 file shares, SMB 3.0 file shares to provide storage for virtual machines
- Virtual switch, open framework that allows third parties to add new functionality, extensible capabilities to connect virtual machines to the physical network
What’s New in Networking
Discover new networking technologies and new features for existing technologies in Windows Server 2012. Technologies covered include BranchCache, Data Center Bridging, NIC Teaming, and more.
- SMB 3.0 and RDMA, very fast inter-process communication (IPC) and inter-computer communications
- Network (IP) virtualization and Virtual switch, decouples virtual networks for customer virtual machines from the physical network infrastructure
- NIC teaming, bandwidth aggregation and traffic failover
- Quality of Service, deliver predictable network performance to virtual machines
- DirectAccess and RRAS, new Remote Access server role allows for centralized administration, configuration, and monitoring
What’s New in Remote Desktop Services
The Remote Desktop Services server role in Windows Server 2012 provides technologies that enable users to connect to virtual desktops, RemoteApp programs, and session-based desktops. With Remote Desktop Services, users can access remote connections from within a corporate network or from the Internet.
- Fairshare experience (Network, Disk, and CPU), one user does not negatively impact the performance of another user’s session
- Multi-Touch RDP
What’s New in Smart Cards
Smart cards and their associated personal identification numbers (PINs) are an increasingly popular, reliable, and cost-effective form of two-factor authentication. With the right controls in place, a user must have the smart card and know the PIN to gain access to network resources.
- Virtual smart cards, emulate the functionality of traditional smart cards
PowerShell 3.0 and ISE, improved IDE eg. Intellisense
Storage Spaces, virtualize storage by grouping industry-standard disks into storage pools (thin provisioning)
SQL on SMB, store clustered user database files on SMB file shares
Hope these will make a good weekend reads. If you feel we missed something significant from Windows Server 2012 in this post, feel free to write it over the comments.
UPDATE: Links and resources to Microsoft Virtual Academy Courses on Windows Server 2012.