While there are many reasons to upgrade to Server 2012, one primary feature stands out – Centralized Management.
Whatever your server management responsibilities are, Server 2012 will greatly enhance your capabilities and management scope by allowing you to manage multiple servers from one central console.
Server Manager 2012
The core management utility, Server Manager 2012, now allows for simultaneous analysis, management and administration of multiple servers, including virtual servers, on one console. You can target individual servers or multiple servers in groups for administrative tasks, feature management, and more. These server group assignments can also be extended to include virtual servers. Virtual servers can populate server groups alongside physical servers, so your management services can seamlessly impact both physical and virtual platforms at the same time.
There are also many core functions that utilize 2012 Centralized Management functionality. Some of the 2012 enhancements include:
- Networking services such as DHCP IP Address Management (IPAM) and clustering can be administered remotely by centrally integrating with a new enhanced ADDS model.
- ADDS enhancements now provides for Directory Services cloning and streamlined provisioning of multiple Domain Controllers at one time.
- Server 2008 R2 tools such as Direct Access, VPN Reconnect and Branch Caching have enhanced management consoles.
- Storage clustering and File Share services have some tremendous enhancements that provide for greater flexibility and fail over capacity.
- IIS 8.0 supports both ASP.Net 3.5 and 4.5 simultaneously by provisioning ASP.NET services to specific application pools.
- PowerShell 3.0 has commands specifically tailored for multiple server administration.
- System Restore is now a Server function.
I am also in agreement with the Microsoft pundits that say one of the most outstanding features of Server 2012 is its enhanced ability to administer Virtual Private and Public Cloud services.
Virtualization and Private Cloud Services
Server 2012 Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Management now offer several different ways to combine virtual and physical services into one management interface. As a result applications can now be simultaneously accessed and managed through in-house, cloud, and hybrid virtual networks.
Virtual machine deployment is also simplified. Virtual machines can be created, copied and moved across cloud networks from one SCVMM console. Federation Identity Management with Forefront can now also centrally service multiple cloud networks, and provide single-sign-on authentication access to different cloud networks.
Server 2012 Virtual Machine Management now also offers live migration. That means virtual servers can maintain operations while being replicated and updated in multiple could environs at the same time.
Hyper-V also supports VMWare ESX as well as NFS, so it’s now a cross platform virtual provider. And for hosting providers, virtual network clusters are now capable of supporting as many as 4,000 virtual machines per cluster.
Server 2012 isn’t even in a full release state yet, and I’m sure there will be more productivity features that Microsoft will introduce when the final product arrives. As for now – I’m very excited about the core operations of Server 2012 – and I think you will be too.
You can check out Server 2012 at our First Look Clinic.
If you want to try out some of these features, you can also visit the Server 2012 Virtual Labs, which step you through the most important features using VM’s hosted by Microsoft.
James Dalton is a Learn iT! Microsoft Certified Trainer with over 15 years of experience as a solutions developer, consultant, and teacher of networking, applications and Microsoft server solutions for various universities and private companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. His certifications include Microsoft IT Pro for Server 2008, SharePoint, and Windows 7.