Microsoft’s long-awaitedWindows 8 was officially releasedjust last week, but Windows Server 2012 has been up for public analysis and use for almost two months. The server update — the first in three years for Microsoft — may not appear to have received the same major makeover that the new operating system did, but a glance under the hood reveals a slew of additions and improvements. Here is an overview of the most significant upgrades from Windows Server 2008 that you may want to consider for your organisation’s next technology renovation.
1. Windows Server 2012 is simply more powerful than Windows Server 2008
Microsoft set out to build a new server that would both embrace virtualisation and complement a new breed of scalable, workable data centres. Whereas Windows Server 2008 R2 allowed users to support up to 64 logical processors on hardware, Windows Server 2012 upped the number to 320. Overall memory jumped as well, with 4 terrabytes of physical memory available now, versus 1 in Windows Server 2008, and up to 1 terabyte of memory on a virtual machine, up from 64 gigabytes previously. These increases present in Windows Server 2012 can translate to higher-quality platform performance and an overall longer lifespan for your enterprise devices.
2. Windows Server 2012 is more secure than Windows Server 2008
With the global movement toward cloud and virtualisation, security is the top concern for individuals on their personal phones and tablets, but even more so for the IT department and the infrastructure it oversees. Microsoft recognised this concern and applied it to Windows Server 2012, which now offers a fully isolated data centre network layer for better separation between virtual machines, as opposed to the more limited privacy of Windows Server 2008. A new safety feature in Windows Server 2012, unseen in Windows Server 2008, is support for private virtual local area networks (PVLANS), which prevent interaction between virtual machines on the same server without sacrificing network connectivity for each.
3. Windows Server 2012 is more flexible than Windows Server 2008
Technology, like your business, is always transforming and growing. Flexibility is critical to ensure that a server can adapt to your organisation’s fluctuating needs; Windows Server 2012 seems to have a better grasp on this expectation than Windows Server 2008 did. Server management is even more centralised and customisable with Windows Server 2012 Server Manager, which lets administrators control all locally and cloud-hosted servers from one, sleek dashboard. The Windows Server 2008 version used virtual LANs to virtualise networks, albeit in a complicated fashion when done on a large scale.
With Windows Server 2012, Microsoft’s Hyper-V Network Virtualisation isolates network traffic without VLANS, letting users switch virtual machines at will within the infrastructure, with no extra servers, switches or maintenance necessary. Performing a live migration or storage migrations is much simpler in Windows Server 2012, which supports multiple, simultaneous VM migrations across cluster boundaries and allows storage migration even while the machines are running.
Deciding to overhaul your organisation’s entire data centre won’t happen overnight. Now, however, is the time to evaluate your business needs and goals, and determine if the switch from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2012 is justified. Feel free to reference this spec sheet for more information on how Windows Server 2012 measures up to Windows Server 2008.