Ahead of their BUILD conference, Microsoft released Windows Server 2012 R2 preview today. You can download the 3.8GB iso from the TechNet evaluation center. Improvements to virtualization and storage seem to be the big areas of improvement according to Microsoft earlier this month at TechEd.
At the heart of the Microsoft Cloud OS vision, Windows Server 2012 R2 brings Microsoft’s experience delivering global-scale cloud services into your infrastructure. Windows Server 2012 R2 offers exciting new features and enhancements across virtualization, storage, networking, virtual desktop infrastructure, access and information protection, and more.
Today’s post to the Windows Server blog, includes further details of what to expect new with Server 2012 R2 over Server 2012.
- Enabling hybrid cloud – Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center enable virtual machine portability across customer, service provider and Windows Azure clouds, while a new System Center Management Pack for Windows Azure enhances cross-cloud management of virtual machine and storage resources. Windows Azure Backup and Hyper-V Recovery Manager provide offsite backup and disaster recovery options.
- Windows Azure Pack provides Windows Azure technology that enterprises and services providers can run on their Windows Server infrastructure for multi-tenant web and virtual machine cloud services.
- Built-in software-defined networking – Site-to-Site VPN Gateway helps customers seamlessly bridge physical and virtual networks and extend them from their datacenter to service provider datacenters.
- High performance, cost effective storage – Features such as Storage Spaces Tiering, VHDX resizing and de-duplication for virtual desktop infrastructure provide high performance for critical on-premises workloads (like SQL and Hyper-V) using lower-cost, industry-standard hardware.
- Empowering employee productivity – Windows Server Work Folders, Web App Proxy, improvements to Active Directory Federation Services and other technologies will help companies give their employees consistent access to company resources on the device of their choice.
Check out the system requirements and install information for the Server 2012 R2 preview and the evaluation guide for the operating system. More resources are coming soon. You will find the product key on that same page.
Server 2012 R2 Essentials will be of interest to small to medium businesses to check out as the new features seem to integrate well with new Windows 8 features.
The ideal server for small businesses, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials provides a powerful and flexible solution that helps protect and control access to your business data, enables you to work remotely from virtually anywhere using almost any device, and simplifies the integration of optional cloud-based applications and services such as Microsoft Office 365 and Windows Azure. Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials can help to minimize the time, effort, and money that you spend on IT.