|Windows Server 2012|
|Part of the Microsoft Windows family|
|Windows Server 2012 Start screen|
|Initial release||August 1, 2012info][|
|September 4, 2012info][|
|6.2 (Build 9200) (August 1, 2012info]) [|
|Source model||Closed source / Shared source|
|License||Commercial proprietary software|
|Update method||Windows Update, Windows Server Update Services, SCCM|
|Preceded by||Windows Server 2008 R2|
Windows Server 2012, codenamed "Windows Server 8", is the sixth release of Windows Server. It is the server version of Windows 8 and succeeds Windows Server 2008 R2. Two pre-release versions, a developer preview and a beta version, were released during development. The software was generally available to customers starting on September 4, 2012.
Unlike its predecessor, Windows Server 2012 has no support for Itanium-based computers, and has four editions. Various features were added or improved over Windows Server 2008 R2, such as an updated version of Hyper-V, an IP address management role, a new version of Windows Task Manager, and ReFS, a new file system. Although it has a Metro user interface (which has led to a mixed reception for Windows 8), the operating system has generally received positive reviews for these features.
Windows Server 2012, codenamed "Windows Server 8", is the sixth release of Windows Server family of operating systems developed concurrently with Windows 8. It was not until 17 April 2012 that the company announced that the final product name would be "Windows Server 2012".
Microsoft introduced Windows Server 2012 and its developer preview in the BUILD 2011 conference on 9 September 2011. However, unlike Windows 8, the developer preview of Windows Server 2012 was only made available to MSDN subscribers. It included a graphical user interface (GUI) based on Metro design language and a new Server Manager, a graphical application used for server management. On 16 February 2012, Microsoft released an update for developer preview build that extended its expiry date from 8 April 2012 to 15 January 2013.
Before Windows Server 2012 was finalized, two test builds were made public. A public beta version of Windows Server 2012 was released along with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on 29 February 2012. The release candidate of Windows Server 2012 was released on 31 May 2012, along with the Windows 8 Release Preview.
The product was released to manufacturing on 1 August 2012 and became generally available on 4 September 2012. However, not all editions of Windows Server 2012 were released at the same time. Windows Server 2012 Essentials was released to manufacturing on 9 October 2012 and was made generally available on 5 November 2012. As of 23 September 2012, all students subscribed to DreamSpark program can download Windows Server 2012 Standard or Datacenter free of charge.
Unlike its predecessor, Windows Server 2012 can switch between "Server Core" and "Server with a GUI" installation options without a full reinstallation. Server Core - an option with a command-line interface only - is now the recommended configuration. There is also a third installation option, exclusive to Windows 8, that allows some GUI elements such as MMC and Server Manager to run, but without the normal desktop, shell or default programs like Windows Explorer.
Server Manager has been redesigned with an emphasis on easing management of multiple servers. The operating system, like Windows 8, uses the Metro UI unless installed in Server Core mode. Windows PowerShell in this version has over 2300 commandlets, compared to around 200 in Windows Server 2008 R2.
Windows Server 2012 includes a new version of Windows Task Manager together with the old version. In the new version the tabs are hidden by default showing applications only. In the new Processes tab, the processes are displayed in varying shades of yellow, with darker shades representing heavier resource use. It lists application names and status, as well as CPU, memory, hard disk and network utilization. The process information found in the older versions are now moved to the new Details tab. The Performance tab shows "CPU", "Memory", "Disk", "Wi-Fi" and "Ethernet" graphs. The CPU tab no longer displays individual graphs for every logical processor on the system by default; instead, it can display data for each NUMA node. When displaying data for each logical processor for machines with more than 64 logical processors, the CPU tab now displays simple utilization percentages on heat-mapping tiles. The color used for these heat maps is blue, with darker shades again indicating heavier utilization. Hovering the cursor over any logical processor's data now shows the NUMA node of that processor and its ID, if applicable. Additionally, a new Startup tab has been added that lists startup applications, however this tab does not exist in Windows Server 2012. The new task manager recognizes when a Windows Store app has the "Suspended" status.
Windows Server 2012 has an IP address management role for discovering, monitoring, auditing, and managing the IP address space used on a corporate network. The IPAM is used for the management and monitoring of Domain Name System (DNS) and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers. Both IPv4 and IPv6 are fully supported.
Windows Server 2012 has a number of changes to Active Directory from the version shipped with Windows Server 2008 R2. The Active Directory Domain Services installation wizard has been replaced by a new section in Server Manager, and a GUI has been added to the Active Directory Recycle Bin. Multiple password policies can be set in the same domain. Active Directory in Windows Server 2012 is now aware of any changes resulting from virtualization, and virtualized domain controllers can be safely cloned. Upgrades of the domain functional level to Windows Server 2012 are simplified; it can be performed entirely in Server Manager. Active Directory Federation Services is no longer required to be downloaded when installed as a role, and claims which can be used by the Active Directory Federation Services have been introduced into the Kerberos token. Windows Powershell commands used by Active Directory Administrative Center can be viewed in a "Powershell History Viewer".
Windows Server 2012, along with Windows 8, includes a new version of Hyper-V, as presented at the Microsoft BUILD event. Many new features have been added to Hyper-V, including network virtualization, multi-tenancy, storage resource pools, cross-premise connectivity, and cloud backup. Additionally, many of the former restrictions on resource consumption have been greatly lifted. Each virtual machine in this version of Hyper-V can access up to 64 virtual processors, up to 1 terabyte of memory, and up to 64 terabytes of virtual disk space per virtual hard disk (using a new .vhdx format). Up to 1024 virtual machines can be active per host, and up to 8000 can be active per failover cluster. The version of Hyper-V shipped with the client version of Windows 8 requires a processor that supports SLAT and for SLAT to be turned on, while the version in Windows Server 2012 only requires it if the RemoteFX role is installed.
Resilient File System (ReFS), codenamed "Protogon", is a new file system in Windows Server 2012 initially intended for file servers that improves on NTFS in some respects. Major new features of ReFS include:
Some NTFS features are not supported in ReFS, including named streams, object IDs, short names, file compression, file level encryption (EFS), user data transactions, hard links, extended attributes, and disk quotas. Sparse files was not supported by Preview, but it is supported by RTM. ReFS does not itself offer data deduplication. Dynamic disks with mirrored or striped volumes are replaced with mirrored or striped storage pools provided by Storage Spaces. However, in Windows Server 2012, automated error-correction is only supported on mirrored spaces, and booting from ReFS is not supported either.
Windows Server 2012 includes version 8.0 of Internet Information Services (IIS). The new version contains new features such as CPU usage caps for particular websites, centralized management of SSL certificates, WebSocket support and improved support for NUMA, but few other substantial changes were made.
|Specification||Windows Server 2012||Windows Server 2008 R2|
when Hyper-V is disabled
when Hyper-V is enabled
|Memory||4 TB||2 TB|
|Failover cluster nodes (in any single cluster)||64||16|
|Processor||1.4 GHz, x64|
|Free disk space||32 GB (more if there is 16 GB of RAM or more)|
Upgrades from Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 are supported, though upgrades from prior releases are not.
|Processor chip limit||
|File Services limits||1 standalone DFS root||1 standalone DFS root||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Network Policy and Access Services limits||50 RRAS connections and 10 IAS connections||250 RRAS connections, 50 IAS connections, and 2 IAS Server Groups||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Remote Desktop Services limits||20 Remote Desktop Services connections||250 Remote Desktop Services connections||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Virtualization rights||N/A||Either in 1 VM or 1 physical server, but not both at once||2 VMs[c]||Unlimited|
|DNS server role||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Fax server role||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Print and Document Services||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Web Services (Internet Information Services)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Windows Deployment Services||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Windows Server Update Services||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Active Directory Rights Management Services||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Application server role||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Active Directory Domain Services||Must be root of forest and domain||Must be root of forest and domain||Yes||Yes|
|Active Directory Certificate Services||Certificate Authorities only||Certificate Authorities only||Yes||Yes|
|Active Directory Federation Services||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Server Core mode||No||No||Yes||Yes|
Reviews of Windows Server 2012 have been generally positive. Simon Bisson of ZDnet described it as "ready for the datacentre, today," while Tim Anderson of The Register said that "The move towards greater modularity, stronger automation and improved virtualisation makes perfect sense in a world of public and private clouds" but remarked that "That said, the capability of Windows to deliver obscure and time-consuming errors is unchanged" and concluded that "Nevertheless, this is a strong upgrade overall." InfoWorld noted that Windows Server 2012 has the Metro UI, which had led to mixed reviews for Windows 8, but mentioned that "Microsoft is pushing harder for a GUI-less install than a Metro-based screen", with reference to the improved Server Core installation option and the improvements for Windows PowerShell. However, Michael Otey of Windows IT Pro expressed dislike with the new Metro interface and the lack of ability to use the older desktop interface alone, saying that most users of Windows Server manage their servers using the graphical user interface rather than PowerShell. The Australian construction company Kennards found the OS stable.
Paul Ferrill wrote that "Windows Server 2012 Essentials provides all the pieces necessary to provide centralized file storage, client backups, and remote access," but Tim Anderson contended that "Many businesses that are using SBS2011 and earlier will want to stick with what they have", citing the absence of Exchange, the lack of ability to synchronize with Active Directory Federation Services and the 25-user limit, while Paul Thurott wrote "you should choose Foundation only if you have at least some in-company IT staff and/or are comfortable outsourcing management to a Microsoft partner or solution provider" and "Essentials is, in my mind, ideal for any modern startup of just a few people."
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