• Microsoft debuts Windows 8 client, server

    Windows 8 Microsoft's next-generation client and server OS will have a wide range of features for the enterprise. The company has held details about its future OS strategy very close but IT managers expect big changes to the ubiquitous platform.

    Check back here daily for the latest news and follow us on Twitter @WindowsTT for additional conference coverage.

  • Windows Server 8 guide

    Windows Server 8 Windows Server 8 might be years away from widespread adoption, but it's a good task for any IT pro to learn about the potential benefits the operating system can bring to an enterprise.

    With improved virtualization capabilities via Hyper-V 3.0 and its live migration features, plus Windows Azure integration that enables moves to the cloud, Windows Server 8 marks an important and substantial change in Microsoft's server strategy.

    In this guide, you'll learn all about the laundry list of features Microsoft has planned (and which are the most important), how Hyper-V 3.0 compares to other established virtualization options, Windows Azure's upgraded role and more.

  • Start here: a guide to Active Directory

    Active Directory is an important facet of enterprise management that admins need to get right. Security threats loom, and poor planning can cause trouble and, ultimately, cost money if not implemented properly.

    This series of guides will help explain many of the numerous features in Active Directory. Jump in anywhere: feel confident about knowing the AD basics? Skip down to replication or security.

    Can't get enough? Find recent tips and features on the Active Directory topic page.

  • Microsoft System Center 2012 overview

    As cloud and virtualization technologies enable administrators to extend the scalability of their systems, they also present a very real issue: How can these increasingly abstract and sprawling environments be managed?

    Microsoft System Center is a systems management suite that aims to equip admins with the tools to monitor issues and automate management within their networks. Microsoft System Center 2012, the latest version, includes a revamped group of integrated offerings that reflect recent acquisitions and are focused around managing cloud deployments.

    While all System Center products were previously offered in standalone versions, System Center 2012 will now only be available as a bundled offering -- in two editions, Standard (which can be deployed to a maximum of two virtual machines) and Datacenter (which allows for an unlimited number of virtual machines).  The new licensing structure is seen as a move to compete with VMware's vCenter systems management product, which charges per VM, but it also brings up questions for any shops previously using only part of the suite.

    The links below offer further details on Microsoft System Center 2012, reviewing licensing news, important features and suggested implementations. Check back for future updates as the story becomes clearer.

  • Microsoft PowerShell v3 overview

    It's been over five years since PowerShell was first released. It's now the scripting language most experts suggest admins should be learning and paying attention to.

    After all, Microsoft is heavily pushing the GUI out the door in favor of the powerful command-line interface.

    PowerShell v3 boasts over 2,300 new cmdlets, covering many operating system functions, which means admins can automate tasks in a much simpler fashion.

    Find more PowerShell tips and features on our topic page, and follow us on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

  • Windows Server 2012 launch: Review, news and more

    Windows Server 2012 is now available to the general public, bringing with it 300 new improvements over its predecessor, Windows Server 2008 R2. It is the first major release of a server operating system since 2009.

    What can users expect from the new server? A revamped and modernized virtualization option in Hyper-V 3.0, an overhauled PowerShell language, a new UI and a lot more.

    We've compiled our best features, news and more into this guide. We'll answer the basic question: should I buy it? Plus, we'll explain how to prepare for the upgrade and dive deeper into the technologies. After poring through the news and tips, you can test your knowledge of Windows Server 2012's newest features with our quiz.

    Learn more about the product on our Windows Server 2012 topic page and for the latest news and stories, follow us on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

  • An admin's guide to 2012's Patch Tuesdays

    Every second Tuesday of the month, administrators plan for Microsoft sending fixes and updates for operating systems and software during an event called "Patch Tuesday."

    As a whole, 2012 kept Microsoft busy. Multiple patches were issued to address continuing security issues in Internet Explorer. Many of the critical patches were for vulnerabilities that could allow for remote code execution and attackers gaining the same rights as users. Microsoft even updated some of its policies regarding digital certificates to make its operating systems more secure, following the discovery of the Flame malware.

    In this guide, you’ll learn about some of the most critical patches and bulletins Microsoft has issued since February and what administrators should be using to keep their systems secure.

  • Overview of Windows Server 2012 features

    With the release of Windows Server 2012, the public finally got a taste of what Microsoft has been working on during the last few years. The Redmond, Wash.-based company is looking to become a competitive and viable cloud computing option for IT enterprises, and Windows Server 2012 features are evidence of the company's move.

    Some of these features have been found in previous versions of Windows Server, but they are improved in the latest version of Windows Server to put cloud computing and all of its benefits within reach for administrators.

    One of these features, Hyper-V 3.0, underwent a major makeover for Windows Server 2012 and includes two new options for admins to use. The extensible switch extends a virtual network's functionality in ways that weren't possible until now. Replica makes planning for disaster recovery easier for admins by creating copies of virtual machines.

    PowerShell v3 has been in focus for much of Microsoft's move toward cloud computing. With over 2,300 cmdlets and counting, PowerShell v3 makes automation throughout the server the new norm while working with programs such as Active Directory to promote cloud-based servers without the need of a deployment wizard directly on the server.

    Microsoft System Center 2012's suite of updated products help admins run enterprises smoothly with cloud computing. They include Virtual Machine Manager 2012 and Configuration Manager 2012 and make the management of cloud deployment easy.

    Check out this collection of guides about Windows Server 2012 features and what they mean for admins considering adopting the product.

  • Guide to clustering in Windows Server 2012

    The release of Windows Server 2012 came with many changes, but some of the most striking changes came to clustering. In previous versions of Windows Server, clustering was thought to be unstable and complicated because of numerous limitations and dependencies. But in Windows Server 2012, Microsoft got rid of those and simplified the clustering process.

    While admins consider an upgrade to Windows Server 2012, clustering improvements are something to add into the mix. In addition to no more irritating limitations and dependencies, admins can expect to see changes in managing failover clusters as Microsoft continues to push for management through PowerShell cmdlets. The Cluster-Aware Update Wizard gets rid of manual updating to ease the update process. And with improvements to CSV 2.0 and SMB 3.0, high availability can become the new reality for admins.

    In this guide, you'll learn everything you need to know about what's new with clustering in Windows Server 2012.

    To keep up with the latest information on clustering in Windows Server, head over to our Windows Server clustering page, or follow us on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

  • An admin's guide to SMB 3.0

    The release of Windows Server 2012 meant that some technologies would undergo major improvements. Server Message Block protocol fell into this category.

    Server Message Block (SMB) provides a method for client applications in a computer to read and write to files on, and to request services from, server programs in a computer network. The latest version of this technology, SMB 3.0, offers features admins have been waiting for.

    We compiled our best news and tips covering SMB 3.0 to highlight its features and capabilities for you. We included an interview focusing on what's changed, a look at why some IT shops are waiting to take advantage of the new version and the best ways to configure SMB 3.0 to protect against failure.

    For the latest on SMB 3.0, be sure to check out our Microsoft Windows Storage Management page, or follow SearchWindowsServer on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

  • A quick overview of System Center 2012 SP1

    Microsoft System Center 2012 came with plenty of new features when it was released in the spring of 2012, but it was missing some key features admins had hoped for, including support for the Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 releases later in the year.

    That's where System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 came in. Even though Service Pack is in its name, don't be fooled: It can be a vital tool for admins.

    We compiled everything you need to know about System Center 2012 SP1 in this quick and easy guide. We included news items detailing the road to its release, a Q&A with an expert about what admins can expect from it, and an evaluation of its beta version for admins seriously considering giving it a try.

    To keep up with the latest news about System Center 2012 SP1, be sure to check out our Microsoft System Center page and follow us on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

  • The Windows PowerShell cmdlets you need to know

    When Microsoft launched Windows Server 2012, one of the most talked about changes was the increased reliance on PowerShell scripting. With more than 2,300 cmdlets to pick from, Windows administrators have the chance to take advantage of Windows PowerShell cmdlets and automate tasks more simply than ever before.

    We compiled the best tips that put the spotlight on what makes Windows PowerShell cmdlets work so well in Windows Server 2012. We included one expert's argument for why PowerShell is the best scripting language as well as tips that highlight what cmdlets admins can use for tasks like troubleshooting clusters, administering Group Policy and managing Hyper-V 3.0.

    For more information about PowerShell in Windows Server, be sure to visit our PowerShell scripting page.

  • An overview of Windows Server 2012 Server Core

    After Microsoft said Server Core was becoming the default installation option in Windows Server 2012, we were pretty sure we heard the collective angry gasp from admins everywhere.

    But Windows Server 2012 was designed with Server Core functionality in mind, so Server Core might not be as scary as admins think. In fact, it's actually possible for admins to have an easier time using Windows Server 2012 Server Core in their server infrastructure.

    Here are the best tips about how admins can make Server Core work for them in Windows Server 2012, including how to decide if running Server Core is the best choice for an organization and how to have an easy Server Core installation.

    For more news and information about Windows Server 2012 Server Core, head over to our Windows Server 2012 administration page and follow us on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

  • Windows Server 2012 handbook for every admin

    Upgrading to Windows Server 2012 affects IT folks from systems and desktop administrators to the virtualization team.

    With this guide, each group will get answers to questions about Hyper-V 3.0, Remote Desktop Services 2012 and all the other new enhancements. Windows Server 2012 comes with a new user interface, a revamped PowerShell version and more product integration to facilitate cloud computing.

    For server virtualization administrators, Microsoft's Hyper-V 3.0 hypervisor reinvents virtual networking and makes disaster recovery easier with Replica. Plus, it adds the VHDX virtual hard disk format. Desktop virtualization admins, on the other hand, will be interested in changes to Remote Desktop Services (RDS). The new version improves the RemoteFX protocol technologies and simplifies virtual desktop provisioning.