DirectAccess allows VPN-like secure tunneling from any endpoint back to the corporate network without the overhead and performance hit of a true VPN. There is also no management agent on the client. When the technology is configured correctly, it just works--users have seamless connectivity to file shares, on-premises equipment and other resources just as if they were on the corporate campus. In addition, group policy objects get applied and administrators can manage machines wherever they are, not just when they come to headquarters or when they connect up to the VPN. This technology had previously been difficult to set up, but in Windows Server 2012, it very much just works.
8. Dynamic Access Control: New Way of Thinking
Dynamic Access Control (DAC) is a suite of facilities that really enhances the way you can control access to information. It's no longer about taking files or folders and making decisions about "Yes, these people can" and "No, these people can't."
Slideshow: Hands-On with Windows Server 2012 Beta
Instead, it's about abstracting away the individual data and making larger assignments about the types of data that live on your system, as well as the types of users that should and should not have access to it. It's a new way of thinking that very much complements the strong abilities of the file system to secure data. There are minimal schema additions to make to Active Directory, and you can begin using the lion's share of the feature set of DAC with just a Windows Server 2012 file server and a domain controller.
9. Resilient File System: An Evolution of NTFS
The Resilient File System (ReFS) was designed as an evolution of the New Technology File System (NTFS) with a focus on availability and integrity. ReFS writes to different locations on disk in an atomic fashion, which improves data resiliency in the event of a power failure during a write, and includes the new "integrity streams" feature that uses checksums and real-time allocations to protect the sequencing and access of both system and user data.
Problems identified by Windows Server 2012 on volumes protected with these features can be automatically repaired without bringing the disk or volume offline in most cases--and in many cases without any administrative intervention either. ReFS is also built to scale further than NTFS as well, which is an important point in the age of big data and private cloud operations.
10. Out-of-the-Box IP Address Management