My Top Features in Windows Server 2012

Author by Nathan Lasnoski

There is a lot to be excited about around Windows Server 2012. Microsoft has done a great job of addressing key feature requests across the entire platform. I thought I'd share the top things that I'm excited about, now that Windows Server 2012 has officially hit RTM.

Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012

Microsoft has hit the ball out of the park on Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012. In case you've missed it, let's recap: • Scalability : Up to 64 VPs per VM, 1 TB RAM, 64 TB VHDX • Hyper-V Replica • Networking optimizations • Cluster scalability to 32 nodes • Live Migration to/from anywhere Check out these references: New Hyper-V Features: Hyper-V vs. Vmware:

Remote Desktop Services

The Microsoft RDS solution has made major strides in Windows Server 2012. It now includes loads of new capabilities, especially the addition of my favorite feature, USB remote pass-through. This is made possible through RemoteFX. I really appreciate the features of user VHDs, USB redirection, and audio / video improvements. Check these out: RDS in Windows Server 2012: RDS Step-by-Step:

PowerShell Everywhere:

There is PowerShell literally everywhere in Windows Server 2012. This means with Service Manager and Orchestrator we can automate almost anything. The ubiquitous nature of PowerShell in Windows Server 2012 means that (1) you need to learn PowerShell now, (2) you will be able to get a lot more done. Check this out to see the full list:

Network Virtualization

This is a feature totally geared to hosters, large datacenters, and labs. It allows for the creation of a "network within a network", which is huge for people constantly spinning up new environments or for those needing to deal with ever tightening belts of the IP address police. Check this out to learn more:

DirectAccess Improvements

I'd say that DirectAccess was an underappreciated feature in Windows Server 2008 R2. For those of us using it, we couldn't imagine not having it. That said, it was rather complicated to deploy, so it took survival guides, like the one written by our very own Shannon Fritz. In Windows Server 2012 Microsoft has significantly simplified DirectAccess deployment, improved performance, and removed the requirement to have a UAG. Here is more information about DirectAccess in Windows Server 2012:

Active Directory

The Active Directory platform in Windows Server 2012 has implemented resiliency in virtualized domain controller scenarios, improved the PowerShell capabilities, and implemented a Recycle bin that you don't need LDP to use! Here is an overview of Active Directory changes in Windows Server 2012: What are your top new capabilities? Let me know if I'm missing something here that I should have addressed. Nathan Lasnoski


Nathan Lasnoski

Chief Technology Officer