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March 12, 2013

Manage infrastructure better with Server 2012 storage and VDI


With Microsoft’s current Window Server 2012 platform it has included a number of features that enable easier implementation and management. The question for many existing businesses is whether the upgrade is worth the time and expense at this point.

Storage upgrades

Even if you’re already excited about the new Windows Server, there are a number of different storage upgrades that have been included with the WS2012 and Win8 to consider:

  • SMB 3.0 now offers multichannel support, considerable performance upgrades (now support for up to 98% of performance compared with directly attached storage) and support for remote direct memory access (RDMA) with SMB Direct.
  • NTFS Online Scan and Repair greatly alters the amount of time that is actively used to scan and repair NTFS storage devices.
  • Resilient File System (ReFS) is the new file system replacing NTFS and it offers many performance and resiliency advantages over previous offerings.
  • Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) for SMB file shares now has support for VSS on remote SMB shares including support for application consistent virtual copies.

As always the decision to upgrade from one operating system to another can be a big resource and financial decision and a cost benefit analysis is always a good idea. Keep in mind, though, Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 offering continues to refine the server experience and offer businesses the ability to keep up with the ever changing requirements of a 21st century workforce.

Cust costs through virtualization

Microsoft’s Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a big part of enabling businesses to support a number of platforms without having to be concerned with the specific client platform being used; this includes PC operating systems as well as mobile operating systems. Windows Server 2012 offers a tightening of the integration of remote desktop services, including a centralized administration console, simplified deployment offerings, centralized desktop and RemoteApp publishing and intelligent patching along with a number of different user experience enhancements.

The Hyper-V Replica feature enables VMs to be automatically replicated to a separate (Replica) server. The VMs that are configured for replication are then updated automatically and wait in a shutdown state until an event occurs. The event in this case could be anything from a planned update or reboot to a power or other failure at the primary production site.

When in a production state, server VMs and their up state are vital for many internal and external operations; the ability to keep them up regardless of situation enables a business to maintain operations through a number of different situations without any significant downtime.

Watch Hyper-V Essentials Training to learn Replica, storage migration and how to build your own lab.

DirectAccess: Simplified Deployment

With the upgrade also comes a simplified DirectAccess wizard that enables the administrator to deploy a secure remote solution (in only three clicks!! – so they say). As long as the clients that are being deployed are running Windows 8 this is true and the deployment is very simple and much more flexible than the DirectAccess deployment options in Windows Server 2008 R2. If the clients are not going to be running Windows 8 or if a multi-site deployment or enhanced security is required simplified deployment should not be used.

Learn how to support secure remote access by watching Implementing Secure Remote Access with DirectAccess.

Better management

We’ve also been introduced to the latest version of PowerShell, 3.0. This version of PowerShell builds upon the advantages of version 2.0 and works to resolve some long complained about deficiencies including more refined session connectivity and resiliency, job scheduling and a much more refined Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE).

A big upgrade between Window Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 has also been included with the new Server Manager. The new Server Manager has been upgraded to now support the management of deploy and manage multiple physical and virtual servers. Servers can now be grouped together in a number of different ways to make the management of servers that much easier.

Windows Server 2012 can now also be managed (completely, including roles and features) via a client running the Remote Server Administration Tool.

Learn Windows Server installation and configuration when you sign up for a 3-day free trial to access TrainSignal’s entire training library.

About the Author

is an accomplished networking consultant for SR-W Consulting ( and writer/editor for infoDispersion ( Sean has been in the IT field for over 15 years, working with companies like Cisco, Lucent, Verizon and AT&T as well as several other private companies. Sean holds certifications with Cisco (CCNP/CCDP), Microsoft (MCSE) and CompTIA (A+ and Network+). His educational accomplishments include: a Master’s of Science in Information Technology with a focus in Network Architecture and Design, a Master’s of Science in Organizational Management, a Master’s Certificate in Network Security, a Bachelors of Science in Computer Networking, and an Associates of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems.

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