Business Servers- particularly the possible advantages of Windows Server 2012-  are the talk of the town in the world of corporate IT right now.

With support ending for Windows Server 2003, smart business owners want to move their company infrastructure to reliable, secure and powerful new servers.

If you’re one of the 1-in-4 business who are yet to move away from Windows Server 2003, check out our comprehensive blog on why this is incredibly dangerous for your company, and create a migration strategy today.

If you’re taking action or want a significant competitive edge with the latest, contemporary business server solution – read on for the advantages of Windows Server 2012:

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One of the main advantages of Windows Server 2012 is that it does away with the limitations of a Server Core installation commitment. Way back when, if you installed Server Core you were obligated to make changes and tasks through the infamous “dark place” – the command line interface.

Windows Server 2012 changes all of that. Microsoft realise that the command line is perfect for some tasks, and even preferable for some users, but choice is always a good thing. WIth the advantages of Windows Server 2012, your GUI (graphic user interface) is now a feature that you can simply switch on or off at will. Nice!

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This or Command Prompt?

Which do you think is easier on the eye?
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Another one of the choice advantages of Windows Server 2012 is that it makes multi-server capabilities a breeze, resulting in easy and intuitive role deployment to physical and virtual servers via a remote client. It’s also easy to create a server group – letting you manage a collection of servers together.

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Sure, it’s one of the more plain advantages of Windows Server 2012, but what’s not to like about a simple and intuitive dashboard?
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Integrated security has been one of Microsofts core focuses in recent years – doing away with separate security products in favour of a more integrated or “baked in” approach. Fully integrated security measures in operating systems grant instant, proactive results and protection.

A third example of the advantages of Windows server 2012 is therefore found in the Dynamic Access Control. This helps IT professionals create centralised security models for access to network resources. This is achieved by tagging sensitive data both manually and automatically, based on factors such as the creator or files content. One these tags have been set up, claims-based access controls can be set applied. Simple.

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Centralised security models, access to Network Resources, Data Tagging and more.

All at your fingertips.
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Talk about professional IT and the complex topic of storage space will inevitably come up. We could harp on about how everyone should be in, or at least on their way to, the cloud (seriously) – but there are still many security and reliability concerns in doing so for organisations.

As such there are tonnes of storage solutions for storing data on your network in a way that provides optimised utilisation of storage resources, centralised management and better scalability – along with reliability and security. So sure, storage area networks (SANs) and network attached storage (NAS) sound great, until you realise how expensive and difficult to configure they are.

One of the largest advantages of Windows Server 2012 stems from the new ‘Storage Spaces’ feature, which lets you use affordable and inexpensive hard drives to create a ‘storage pool’. This can then be divvied up as you see fit, just like a physical disk. Your storage can then be added to or subtracted from whenever the need arises – even letting you add space larger than the physical capacity of the pool. When you add new drives, your space automatically uses the extra capacity – just like that!

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What may sound like an intimidating process is made easy and accessible by an intuitive and accessible dashboard.
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In the wide world of servers, virtualisation is the name of the game, and Hyper-V is Microsofts answer to VMware. VMware was indeed released a long time ago, gaining a significant head start, but Microsofts virtualisation platform has been hard at play matching and surpassing its features and benefits. Many IT professionals agree that Hyper-V now surpasses its rival in numerous key areas. With each update and development the Windows hypervisor brings a whole host of new features to the table. One of the most noteworthy is Hyper-V Replica, one of the more innovative advantages of Windows server 2012.

Hyper-V Replica is a replication mechanism that is any SMB’s dream when it comes to disaster recovery, namely those who are unable to deploy costly and complex replication solutions. Any changes now are logged to the disks in a VM (Virtual Machine) and are compressed to save on bandwidth, replicating from the primary server to the replica server. You can now also store multiple snapshots of a virtual machine on the replica server and simply select the one you want to use. This powerful yet simple feature works with both standalone hosts and cluster of any combination (standalone to standalone, cluster to cluster, standalone to cluster or cluster to standalone – take your pick!).

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With the advantages of Windows server 2012, has Hyper-V surpassed VMware? We certainly think so.
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Since the Windows NT TS Edition, Windows Terminal Services have come a long way. Renamed ‘Remote Desktop Services’, the feature set has been improved to encompass much more than just the ability to remote into the desktop of a remote machine. Microsoft offered a centralised Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution in Server 2008 R2 – but it wasn’t exactly perfect and was still a little rough around the edges. One of the many advantages of Windows Server 2012 is that huge improvements to this have been made.

Firstly, gone are the days of dedicated GPU graphics card dependency to use RemoteFX (which vastly improves the quality of graphics over Remote Desktop Protocol). You can now use virtualised GPU on standard server hardware. Combine this with the Fair Share feature, which manages how CPU, disk space, memory and bandwidth are allocated among users, to make bandwidth hogs a thing of the past.

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DirectAccess is Microsofts “VPN replacement” – a way to create a fully secure connection from a client to corporate network without any performance drain (and with a more transparent / intuitive user experience). Another of the advantages of Windows Server 2012 is that users no longer have to deal with making the VPN work, and administrators have more control over machines – with the ability to manage them before user even log on. Applying group policies is also achieved using the same tools used to manage computers physically on the corporate network.

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Create a fully secure connection from a client to corporate network.
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We’ll forgive you if you scoffed at this last header, as anyone in the IT / Server profession will know that server licensing has never been particularly straightforward. You’ll then be very glad to hear that Microsoft have fully taken criticism on board and done away with the complex process for finding the right edition and what it will cost.

The final advantages of Windows Server 2012 are the 4 editions; Datacentre, Standard, Essentials and Foundation. Datacentre and Standard are licensed per-processor (plus Client Access License or ‘CAL’), and the latter two (for small businesses) are licensed per server with limits on the number of user accounts.

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This is just scratching the surface of the advantages of Windows Server 2012 and what it can do for you, or your business. If you have any questions, curiosities or want to see the advantages of Windows Server 2012 in action for yourself, do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

Are you still operating Windows Server 2003? Check out our blog post on how you’re putting your business at risk:

 

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