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A new year means new opportunities. Here are ten compelling reasons to make the move to Windows Server 2012.
Server 2012 makes the GUI a “feature” — one that can be turned on and off at will. You do it through the Remove Roles Or Features option in Server Manager.
The multi-server capabilities makes it easy to deploy roles and features remotely to physical and virtual servers. It’s easy to create a server group and the remote administration improvements let you provision servers without having to make an RDP connection.
The Server Message Block (SMB) protocol has been significantly improved in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. The new version of SMB supports new file server features, such as SMB transparent failover.
Dynamic Access Control creates more centralized security models for access to network resources by tagging sensitive data both manually and automatically, based on factors such as the file content or the creator.
Storage Spaces is a new feature in Server 2012 that lets you use inexpensive hard drives to create a storage pool, which can then be divided into spaces that are used like physical disks. They can include hot standby drives and use redundancy methods such as 2- or 3-way mirroring or parity.
Hyper-V Replica is a replication mechanism that logs changes to the disks in a VM and uses compression to save on bandwidth, replicating from a primary server to a replica server. You can store multiple snapshots of a VM on the replica server and then select the one you want to use.
Renamed Remote Desktop Services, Windows Terminal Services has expanded to encompass much more than the ability to RDP into the desktop of a remote machine. You no longer need a dedicated GPU graphics card in the server to use RemoteFX. Instead, you can use a virtualized GPU on standard server hardware.
In Windows Server 2012, DirectAccess works with IPv4 without having to deal with conversion technologies, and the server running DirectAccess at the network edge can now be a Hyper-V virtual machine. The Server 2012 version of DA is also easier to configure, thanks to the new wizard.
Windows Server 2012’s Resilient File System gives us data verification and auto correction, and it’s designed to work with Storage Spaces to create shrinkable/expandable logical storage pools.
Windows Server 2012 is offered in only four editions: Datacenter, Standard, Essentials, and Foundation. The first two are licensed per-processor plus CAL, and the latter two (for small businesses) are licensed per-server with limits on the number of user accounts (15 for Foundation and 25 for Essentials).