Overview of Windows Server 2012 features

Overview of Windows Server 2012 features

PowerShell v3, Hyper-V 3.0 and System Center 2012 are in this collection of guides about some of best features administrators can expect to find in Windows Server 2012.

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.

Table of contents:

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.

View Microsoft System Center 2012 overview

Beyond the hype: Hyper-V 3.0 features and enhancements

By Julia Anderson, Assistant Site Editor

Partly in response to previous failings and user complaints, and partly to keep up with the competition, Microsoft outfitted Hyper-V 3.0 with an extensive list of new, improved and revamped features. Designed to make the lives of IT pros easier, Hyper-V 3.0 features include:

  • scalability upgrades for virtual machines (VMs), hosts and clusters;
  • redesigned live migration; and
  • support for extensible virtual switches.

The enhancements will not necessarily fit every virtual data center, however, and many may require extra hardware or software that could put added strain on an IT budget.

If the hypervisor is on your radar, take a closer look at its under-the-hood changes, and determine which Hyper-V 3.0 features could benefit your infrastructure.

View Beyond the hype: Hyper-V 3.0 features and enhancements

What a Hyper-V 3.0 upgrade can mean for your environment

By Julia Anderson, Assistant Site Editor

Since its preview at last year's Build 8 conference, Hyper-V 3.0 has become one of Microsoft's most anticipated releases. Users and pundits have dissected and scrutinized the hypervisor, and some say it will be the first virtualization platform to truly challenge VMware.

The increasing hype and constant comparison to vSphere can make it hard for IT pros to get a clear view of how the new hypervisor would change existing Hyper-V environments. Installing the hypervisor on a test server, however, gives you an accurate evaluation of its features and capabilities. You'll get a better idea which bells and whistles are worth listening to and you'll get a head start on how to manage Hyper-V 3.0 in production workloads.

This guide gives you a closer look at the process of upgrading to Microsoft Hyper-V 3.0.

View What a Hyper-V 3.0 upgrade can mean for your environment

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.

View Microsoft PowerShell v3 overview