Windows Server 2012 embraces the datacentre

Windows Server 2012 is better equipped for the datacentre, observers note

Microsoft has taken its server OS a giant step forward with Tuesday's release of Windows Server 2012, making this version the first that can be controlled remotely so it is more suitable for data centers.

"Microsoft has delivered on the promise of an operating system that can be completely managed from the command line," said Don Jones, an author of a series of Windows 2012 instructional videos that have been released by the training firm CBT Nuggets. "The technologies are in place to manage 100 servers as easily as you can manage one server."

The first major upgrade since 2009 features a bevy of new features, most designed to make it more suitable for large-scale data-center deployments. Satya Nadella, Microsoft president for Server and Tools, has touted this release as Microsoft's "Cloud OS."

Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization can now support up to 64 virtual processors and 1TB of memory for guests, a marked improvement from the old limit of four virtual processors and 64GB of memory. The Server Message Block (SMB) network communication protocol has been updated to handle faster data transfers and the OS's Server Manager has been updated to handle multiple servers at once.

But perhaps the most significant enhancement is one that may not be noticed among these flashy new features. Thanks to the inclusion of the PowerShell, first introduced six years ago, this will be the first version of Windows Server that can be completely controlled through the command line, making it controllable remotely.

PowerShell provides the Windows similar capabilities that chief competitor Unix has long offered, such as the ability to forward, or pipe, the output of one process to the input of another process. It even adds a few new tricks, such as the ability to handle software objects, which have come about from studying Unix's limitations. "It is an incredibly well-designed shell," Jones said.

Of course, the GUI is still available for those who require it, but "you can remove the GUI and it will be a fully functional server," Jones said. Doing away with the need for a GUI (graphical user interface) means that servers can be managed more efficiently in multiple numbers, Jones said. "If you are still using management techniques where you are still physically touching the server, you need to move to the 21st century and managing it like a server in a data center."

For instance, an administrator may now have to execute a routine task on a server once a week -- such as backing up data -- by clicking through a series of options on a graphical program. With the command line, the administrator can write a script in PowerShell to run though all of those steps automatically and that script can run against multiple machines.

PowerShell may require some studied learning for those used to GUIs, but it is time well invested, Jones said, adding that his videos were designed to help give users an introduction to the technology. In addition to PowerShell, Windows Server 2012 also features a data-center-friendly installation method called Server Core, which provides a way to install the OS over the network.

One hardware partner, Dell, has wasted no time in updating its line of servers to run Windows Server 2012. The company designed its PowerEdge 12th generation (12G) servers around Windows Server 2012. The new blade, rack and tower servers run Intel Xeon E5-2600 processors and feature extreme memory density, hot-swappable hard drives and solid state drives, and a range of advanced features to support networking.

Microsoft "engineered the Windows Server 2012 for the private cloud. Our part of the equation is to deliver hardware and systems that are enabled for virtualization," said Brian Payne, executive director of Dell PowerEdge servers. The 12G was designed to host the many multiple virtual machines that Hyper-V can host, he noted. Dell also designed software to take advantage of Windows Server 2012's ODX (Offload Data Transfer) protocol, which allows data to be moved among different server nodes without the need of the server CPU.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?