Admins hoping to get a clear view of how Microsoft's Cloud OS strategy will impact Windows Server may get a glimpse next week.
Microsoft is expected to take the wraps off the much-leaked Windows 8.1 (previously Windows Blue) during TechEd North America in New Orleans June 3-6. Later that month, at the Build developer conference in San Francisco, Microsoft will likely deliver a preview build for testing.
While there will be plenty of focus on the desktop operating system at TechEd, there will also be a major disclosure that will detail "the next wave" of technology investments that will focus on the data center, Microsoft said at its Management Summit last month.
That may mean additional Microsoft Cloud OS products and technologies, including Azure private and hybrid cloud capabilities, as Brad Anderson, Microsoft's corporate vice president for the Windows Server and System Center division, will cover those in his keynote address.
Some expect additional Windows Server 2012 features to improve support of Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1.
"The lack of VPN support for Windows Phone 8 has been a major gripe, so if there's some talk of how to support that on the Windows Server side, that'll be a sure hint it's to come by the end of the year for the clients," said Serdar Yegulalp, a SearchWindowsServer.com contributor.
Hyper-V, Active Directory and cloud-enabled storage features could all see an update.
"I hope this will be more than just a simple patch rollup and tweak release," said Eric Beehler, IT consultant and SearchWindowsServer.com contributor.
Windows Server Blue still a mystery
Many reports indicate that the Windows Blue strategy will extend to servers, meaning Microsoft will buck its previous trend of iterating the Windows Server offering on a three-year cycle.
"The thinking is that cloud customers appreciate turning on new features and capabilities more rapidly than on-premises customers traditionally have," wrote Jonathan Hassell, SearchWinServer.com contributor.
Some reported leaks say that admins should be on the lookout for BaseFS, which may be a common file system that spans multiple Windows platforms.
The Cloud OS influence on Windows
At TechEd 2012, Microsoft formally rolled out its Cloud OS branding to signify the modern data center and to spur creation of cloud-ready server and desktop applications.
This year, that trend may continue.
"We should see a renewed push for Azure for the enterprise, with the latest hooks into Server and an updated System Center extending your infrastructure into Microsoft's cloud," said Beehler.
Last year at TechEd, Microsoft also delivered a new version of Intune for managing mobile devices in the enterprise, a preview of the now-available System Center SP1 and a stand-alone version of Hyper-V Server 2012.