Review: Weighing Windows Server 2012

From network services and storage to virtualization and private cloud, the beefy new Windows Server leaves no server role unturned

By Oliver Rist, InfoWorld |  Windows, Windows Server

Load balancing, however, is the default mode. It's designed to work best for failover servers located on the same site, though they can span multiple subnets. True, this isn't as powerful as Windows Server's full-on failover/clustering capability, but having it as an integrated feature in the DHCP server role makes it much easier to deliver resilient DHCP services quickly.

Another key role to explore is Hyper-V. This one became notably beefier since Windows Server 2008, growing from 64 logical host processors to 320 with support for 2,048 virtual processors. Host memory support went from 1TB of physical memory to 4TB and memory per VM jumped from 64GB to 1TB, and you can now cluster up to 4,000 VMs. But Microsoft has more in mind with Hyper-V than simply pushing out its hardware limits, or even beefing up its networking and storage capabilities. Hyper-V is the foundation for Microsoft's much, much-promoted private cloud solution, which pairs WS2012 and System Center 2012.

Pillars of the private cloud The combination of the two builds a stack that covers all the features you'd expect from a private cloud, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and hybrid cloud computing, but also adds a sophisticated service delivery capability that combines application management and data center orchestration. That combo allows you to manage applications as workloads rather than isolated tiers, and deliver them to users as admin-designed service offerings.

Users can select services from a self-service menu or portal and the private cloud will kick off associated back-end workflows automatically. This feature set takes the Microsoft private cloud right to the feature peak when it comes to today's private cloud offerings, and it's a feature set you'll need to evaluate in-depth if cloud computing (read: virtualization and automation) is on your agenda. To make that a little easier, Microsoft is offering a truckload of free and pay-based training via its MSDN, TechNet, and Learning sites.

All these high-level abilities are built in conjunction with System Center 2012. But Windows Server 2012 contains the foundation features necessary to make the private cloud happen. Hyper-V Network Virtualization is one such example, allowing administrators to build networks based on multitenant designs. Think of these as VLANs on steroids.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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