Technologies to Watch 2013: Windows Server 2012 Cannot be Ignored

Windows Server 2012 packs so many new features large and small that any Microsoft shop looking to gain advantages in cost and functionality will have to seriously consider upgrading this year.

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Wed, January 02, 2013

Network WorldWindows Server 2012 packs so many new features large and small that any Microsoft shop looking to gain advantages in cost and functionality will have to seriously consider upgrading this year.

Slideshow: Windows Server 2012 Highlights

What's more, the product is winning high marks for its flexibility and support of cloud architectures, leading Microsoft to crown it the Cloud OS. When introducing that concept this year, the company's server chief Satya Nadella defined Cloud OS as a blend of Windows Server 2012 and Windows Azure cloud service, each optimized to support large data center infrastructures that embrace a combination of traditional corporate-run data centers, private clouds and public clouds.

A LOOK AHEAD: Read through Network World's entire Outlook 2013 package

BACKGROUND: Microsoft targets virtualization with Windows 8/Windows Server comboA

ADVICE: Quick Windows Server 2012 tips

The result, Nadella says, is a more flexible environment that will make it possible to add and remove capacity as needed and take advantage of the economy of public clouds. The change would be transparent to end users; resources become available as summoned regardless of where they actually reside. And because of the variety of options where resources might be housed, businesses can make decisions about which option is best for which type of data and application.

All other things being equal they can choose, for example, the best method based on price.

While Microsoft itself is using Windows Server 2012 in its Azure cloud, other cloud service providers are also climbing onboard. Rackspace and Amazon Web Services have fired up services that include as many as 31 different Windows Server 2012 virtual images for customers to choose from.

Windows Server 2012 offers service providers and enterprise buyers alike a host of major advances, including:

* PowerShell: Microsoft has expanded the number of PowerShell commands 10-fold, making it possible to control just about all aspects of the server from command lines rather than the graphical user interface. The latest version also enables scheduling when jobs run, making it possible to batch them ahead of time to run later.

* Dynamic Access Control: This sets policies at the server that could, for example, deny access to a confidential file that is being accessed via remote desktop or even from a corporate laptop if it's connecting from a home network. In the past, access would be denied with no explanation, prompting help-desk calls. With a Windows 8 client the user is told why access is being denied rather than just being denied access.

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