10 key Windows Server 2012 features for IT pros

By Jonathan Hassell, CIO |  Data Center, Windows Server

The Hyper-V Replica feature allows you to replicate a virtual machine from one location to another with Hyper-V and a network connection--and without any shared storage required. This is a big deal in the Microsoft world for disaster recovery, high availability and more. VMware does this, too, but the vendor charges new licensees extra for the capability.

Analysis: Windows Server 2012 Release Preview: Compelling New Features

This makes standing up instances of services all around the world just a one- or two-click affair (assuming network connectivity exists). The new Hyper-V Replica interfaces within Hyper-V Manager include a much simpler interface for setting up a replication sequence and better monitoring of the process and the overall health of replication systems and partners.

5. Expanded PowerShell Capabilities

There are hundreds more cmdlets in the latest version of Windows Server. This will make your life easier, since PowerShell is essentially the preferred method of managing all of the workloads you can run on the operating system.

6. Storage Spaces: Flipping Complexity on Its Head

Storage Spaces is an innovative features that basically takes commodity storage hardware--inexpensive drives and their controllers, like a JBOD (informal parlance for Just a Bunch of Disks--and turns it into a pool of storage that is divided into spaces that are in turn used just like regular disks.

Each of these pools can contain hot standby disks, and each of the Spaces in the pool can have availability policies such as mirroring and RAID-style redundancy. You can even perform thin provisioning, which is specifying a volume that's bigger than you actually have space for. That way, when you do need the additional room, just pop in a few more drives; no reconfiguration is required. It takes the complexity and expense of network-attached storage and SANs and basically flips it on its head. You can just get a bunch of disks together and get really flexible in carving them up where you need additional space.

7. DirectAccess: A VPN Without the Pain of a VPN


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