Microsoft has released Windows Server 2012 today. As from now it is also available as a product option on our order form. We have been testing with Windows 2012 for a few weeks already and definitely like some of its new features. The first reactions from the market are also positive.
Some nice new or expanded features:
PowerShell / GUI improvements - PowerShell is extended to customize and control the server OS and its features. Customers can also choose to deploy 2012 with the full GUI or as Server Core. With Server Core the customer gets a minimal user interface that includes the command line and PowerShell.
Server management - The management of servers has also been improved. The interface of Server Manager has been made more user friendly and can now also be used to instantly jump into a remote PowerShell session on a remote server.
Integrated cloud - It is also easier to set up a virtual network between your servers and services, no matter if they are located in the office or in a cloud. This provides the flexibility to move services to where it is best to run them. Security management has been simplified in order to accommodate this.
Replication - We are enthusiastic about the replication options in 2012. Windows server 2012 contains a lot of possibilities to synchronize the content of harddisks. This will make it easier to set up datacenter redundant solutions. We will provide more information on this in the near future.
Improvements in Hyper-V - The virtualisation layer also features some improvements that we will result in added features for our virtual servers. We expect to start using Windows Datacenter 2012 in our Windows clusters in about 4 months, after we have thoroughly tested its virtualisation capabilities. After this we can add console functionality to our Windows server offering. Snapshots have been rumored to be more efficient in 2012 so we will also test if we are able to start offering this product to our Windows customers.
You can download the datasheet here.
OS of the cloud
For Microsoft, Windows Server 2012 represents an important step on the way to becoming the "OS of the cloud". The idea is that tremendous profits can be made by building the platform that becomes the way to tie together all the different cloud components, especially for big organisations. We believe Microsofts' claim to to have built the foundation of the Cloud OS is a bit over-done because the hyper competitive cloud market is not at all likely to support a closed source platform taking that role. Over the next months we will engage you about our vision regarding the future of the cloud and the implications for you and for us. In the meanwhile Windows Server 2012 is a solid product that does pose a big challenge to VMware, the other big closed source cloud software builder.
Since about one month we have the 2012 version of MSSQL available. There are some welcome improvements that address a number of issues that had been bugging DB admins.
Groups of databases can be set up as an 'availability group' for example. This means replication can be set up for a group of databases instead of just for a single database or server. It also enables multi-site clustering over more than two sites. An other change is that a single database can be much more easily migrated to a new environment as a 'contained database'. MSSQL also sports a number of performance improvements, additions to the T-SQL language and more information about the layout of your architecture.
2012 Licensing Changes
The Web en Enterprise versions of Windows Server 2012 have been discontinued. Only the Standard en Datacenter versions are still available. We will continue to offer the Standard version at the same price level.
The Workgroup version of MSSQL has been discontinued. The actual licensing structure of MSSQL has also changed. You pay the same amounts for the remaining versions: Web, Standard and Enterprise. You only procure the right to use four cores for this. If your virtual server has more cores, additional usage rights can be purchased per two cores. This is not a problem for our current customers as the maximum number of cores Hyper-V has thus far allowed stands at a convenient four.
We hope we have provided you with a good summary about Microsofts' latest products. Please contact us if you have any further questions.