So Microsoft bounces in with another brand new server product. Generally, we find new versions of Microsoft server products are better than their predecessors and certainly much better than their desktop operating system counterparts which have caused a few ripples of excitement but more of nervousness and people seem to be awaiting the inevitable service pack 1 release.
Having had a play with the release preview of Windows Server 2012, we have discovered some interesting things about the new server to share with you. Some people are sceptical about the new interface formerly known as Metro, but with more emphasis on Server Core and the Minimal Server Interface, the UI is unlikely to be the deciding factor when choosing to upgrade. More important are the big changes and new capabilities that make Server 2012 better able to handle your network’s workloads and needs.
Here are 11 reasons to give serious consideration to upgrading to Server 2012 sooner rather than later.
1: Freedom of interface choice
A Server Core installation provides security and performance advantages, but in the past, you had to make a choice: If you installed Server Core, you were stuck with it with only the command line as your interface. However, this changes with Windows Server 2012.
Microsoft realised that the command line is great for some tasks and the graphical interface is preferable for others. Server 2012 makes the GUI a “feature” – one that can be turned on and off at will, therefore saving resources when the server is simply being a server. You do it through the Remove Roles or Features option in Server Manager.
2: Server Manager
Regarding the Server Manager, even many of those who dislike the new (metro) tile-based interface overall have admitted that the design’s implementation in the new Server Manager is brilliant.
One of the best things about the new Server Manager is the multi-server capabilities, which makes it easy to deploy roles and features remotely to physical and virtual servers. It’s easy to create a server group – a collection of servers that can be managed together. The remote administration improvements let you provision servers without having to make an RDP connection.
3: Server Message Block 3.0
The SMB protocol has been significantly improved in Windows Server 2012 as well as Windows 8. The new version supports new file server features, like SMB transparent failover, SMB Scale Out, SMB Multichannel, SMB Direct, SMB encryption, VSS for SMB file sharing, SMB directory leasing, and SMB PowerShell. It also works beautifully with Hyper-V, so that VHD files and virtual machine configuration files can be hosted on SMB 3.0 shares. A SQL system database can be stored on an SMB share, as well, with improvements to performance.