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Windows Server 2012 – "Cloud OS" as Microsoft sometimes refers to it, and "WS2012" as we'll call it for short – is the result of the deepest and broadest developer effort in the history of Microsoft server products: 10,000 engineers working for four years. Comments from testers and early adopters have included "jaw-dropping", " …

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Anonymous Coward

Ahh

I'm interested to know what Trevor makes of it, he said he's loving it - whilst not loving win 8. Trevor, please advise, it sounds good, tell me why?

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Re: Ahh

I could guess that most of the reason is that you very rarely use the desktop on a server, the new metro interface being the worst part of W8. Because you aren't hampered (as much) by the interface all the performance improvements in 2012 actually stand out. That said, the full desktop is all boxy like windows 8, but not so colorful.

I've just started testing 2012 this week on older hardware. We're currently hot adding and expanding disks and filesystems to see how it performs. It's currently acting as a backup to the backup server so it's not mission critical if it fails, but I'm awaiting to see how the deduplication goes. That could be a major space saver in some of our applications.

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Re: Ahh

It'll be interesting to see how much it bogs down when RAM runs a bit low. Dedupe is very RAM hungry indeed.

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Pint

Re: Ahh

The tech underpinning Server 2012/Windows 8 is awesome. The GUI is trash. Servers aren't fondleslabs, they don't have any remote requirement to even pretend. Classic Shell gets a start menu back and murders hotcorners; on ssrver I won't ever need Metro.

In a server environment I add 1 minute to initial config and suddenly I can treat it mostly like I have every server since the beforetime. I loathe the new RSAT/Server management interface with the burning passion of 10,000 suns...but I only have to use the poxy thing for a few minutes a day. Servers sit around and do server things. They are not the interface I am using 16 hours a day to do productivity work. They are allowed to have a shit interface...we use Powershell, don't we?

Ultimately, the many advantages Server 2012 brings make putting up with the UI compromises worth it. Windows 8 has no features about which I give any fucks whatsoever, let alone that make the abomination formerly known as Metro worth grinding down my sanity to a mewling nub every day.

I will put up with Server 2012 because the hyper-v enhancements are awesome. I will put up with Server 2012 because the storage enhancements are awesome. I will put up with Server 2012 because DFSR is finally in standard. There are so many reasons to tolerate the abominable UI that typing this on my phone is giving me RSI.

But the UI people? Those people have joined the Microsoft licensing team as the only people not responsible for ethnic cleansings that I actively wish would get erased by a rock from space.

Give me any other OS that has the same featureset as Server 2012, isn't mostly in various stages of Alpha/Beta and a has reasonably well documented UI/CLI/API for making it go and I'll abandon Microsoft forever, screw the UI monglers and their bastard licensing team, too.

Sadly, there is no competition to Server 2012. While Microsoft seems well on track to create a GUI that is actually less usable and more difficult to master than PowerShell, the alternatives are "non-x86 Unix" or "the good bits are still marked as 'unstable releases.'"

Windows 8 has alternatives. I use them every day. Server 2012 is a TCO/ROI combo that nothing else can even approach. So that's why I love it.

Pestilence of a UI or no.

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Pint

Re: Ahh

But tell us how you really feel, trevor! :)

I would love powershell more if the documentation for it was a bit better, but that's an old, old complaint. I've managed to get by using copious amounts of google and a couple 3rd party add-ons for making powershell do what I want it to do in regards to AD and Exchange management.

Beer, because I'll need one after today.

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Gold badge

Re: Ahh

Old complaint, but COMPLETELY VALID. It's my beef with PowerShell as well. PHP.net is the reason I use PHP. The documentation is good, easy to navigate, all in one place, and contains examples on how to accomplish the most frequent tasks.

PowerShell is voodoo requiring Google because Bing isn't good enough to search the web for PowerShell documentation. *sigh*

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Thumb Up

Re: Ahh

"Windows 8 has no features about which I give any fucks whatsoever, let alone that make the abomination formerly known as Metro worth grinding down my sanity to a mewling nub every day."

Mind if I use that line? I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I read that.

Clearly, you've missed your calling as a writer.

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Pint

Re: Ahh

It's beer o'clock and my XP VMs are still working fine. To the pub, lads!

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It is the end times

The signs are all here. Storms, floods, plagues of rats (well, drowned mice), and Microsoft releasing an OS that sounds competent and capable and command-line based. I'm surprised the release date for it isn't December 21st.

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Meh

First impressions of WS 2012

Installed it in to VM this morning: so far very frustrating not being able to find (in order): the Start Menu; the Run... box; the Cmd Prompt (I did find this eventually).

Also does anyone else think the new look is VERY 1980's Windows 286?! I mean I'm all for servers dropping all the eye candy, but the chosen colour scheme is awful.

Boots bloody fast though!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: First impressions of WS 2012

May I take the liberty of introducing you to the Windows key.

Win+R = Run

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WTF?

Trivial?

"WS2012 has no Start button or menu and instead has the same full-screen widget-based Start screen as the desktop version – but that's trivial."

No , sorry, it is not trivial. If you're managing a server from it desktop you really don't want to be dicking around with a mickey mouse interface designed for a tablet.

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Re: Trivial?

Use the command line then, like a proper server admin.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Trivial?

Yes you can use Powershell and Server Manager. It doesn't change the simple fact that a tablet GUI has no place on a server!!

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Go

Re: Trivial?

Then don't install it the GUI at all - it's optional. Same as you wouldn't install all the GUI stuff into a Linux server.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Trivial?

Server Core is great idea agreed. Still doesn't change the fact that a tablet GUI has no place on a server.

There are still business requirements / applications that require a GUI on a server............and there are plenty where Server Core makes the most sense.

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PowerShell

I'm quite excited to learn more about the new PowerShell features. And IMO one has to give MS credit here; they usually also take care to "backport" those new features for older versions of Windows (server). Which can really make your life easier.

For example; my 2 Win2k3 office servers also run the WinRM service (which is basically the core of PowerShell) which got backported a few years ago. This allows me to administrate those right from within PowerShell on my Windows 7 desktop. And believe me; its much easier to open a PowerShell and type "get-eventlog -computer macron -logname system -entrytype Error -newest 10" than having to logon using remote desktop, finding the Event viewer in the admin tools and then go over all this.

Granted; it takes getting used to. But in my experience *nix users shouldn't have too much problems to familiarize themselves with the environment. Out of all the "administrative developments" MS has done in the past I think PowerShell really is an impressive one. Its good to see that they push it forward on their servers in the way they do; IMO it really can make your life a whole lot easier.

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Anonymous Coward

naaa

I think I will keep my client base on SBS 2003 until the hardware fails. I simply don't see the point of upgrading just because its the latest version. There's nothing as far as I can see that would be of any real use.

As for pushing the 'cloud', there's a lot of assumption that biz's are hooked up to fast internet and that cloud based files are the best thing ever. Let me see, some areas of the UK still don't have broadband, my clients work with 60Mb spreadsheets, have on average 200gb of live data and anything in the cloud can be taken down by the local gov (think kim dot longdong).

I think local servers will always be the better option

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Anonymous Coward

@ AC- You can still have local servers

But did you miss the rest of the article where he was talking about all the improvements?

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Surprised me..

It's a decent OS. IMO. IDK why by the I can see the Metro Interface working for this. I hate if for Windows 8, I don't mind it for the server. I think that its partly because I can go GUI less on nearly all installs, and still use a "central" manger to control it or Powershell as recommended.

One thing I disagree with is Hyper V scaring VMware. Hyper-V "matured" but I haven't found and true benefit to moving off of VMware. Talking with a VMware rep. they basically said that MS would have to servery undercut VMware or provide some as yet unreleased benefit. VMware seems pretty confident in being able to match or out perform MS.

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Re: Surprised me..

Don't MS give away the Hyper-V stuff bundled with Server, at least for smaller setups? That trick has worked pretty damn well for them (and drug dealers) in the past to grab marketshare. Once you've got people familiar with it for free, they'll stick with it rather than move to VMware.

The feature set looks ... surprisingly good.

All in all, this should push the other server and VM vendors forward nicely - a bit of competition wards off stagnation.

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Re: Surprised me..

If you have more than 5 servers, and any sort of critical application. making use of high availability, and vmotion is pretty important. (or MS equal) it's hard to justify Hyper V vs VMware. It not that I think Hyper-V is bad or having anything to do with Microsoft, but when you factor in support costs, maintenance agreements, and the each servers manager, we went with VMware (Cost less, which was surprising.)

It bundled in the sense that its a role you install and can manage like any other server role and the licensing doesn't restrict you to using the key for VM's from other server setups.. You can even make it GUI less, and access it from a Remote console (Server Manger, etc) but it actually feels like more work to setup vs Downloading ESXi 5 for free and using their client.

The only thing I truly despise about MS's new OS is its licensing. They they still tie the fucking thing to hardware, than tell you well you can Vmotion it for maintenance, but need to put it back to the server it was running. (Words from the rep) .

It feels like the technical guys are going "We really got something good here" and Licensing went "We'll we can't have that."

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Mushroom

Re: Surprised me..

You havnt calculated correctly then. Hyper-V (totally free) + manangement tools (not that much) + support (less than VMWare) is vastly cheaper than VMWare.

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Re: Surprised me..

nb - Hyper-V also includes for free shared nothing Live Migration, replication, software defined networking, etc in the standard product. Thats free as in zero license fee for the whole product.

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Facepalm

Re: Surprised me..

Guess some reading is in order - So many hidden costs in MS and you forgetting it is not what does it cost but what does it cost to run an application... have a look and they even publish a PDF so you can see how it is worked in case they cheating in their favor. Yes I do think 2012 will have an impact as it's performance improvements will help reduce the HW cost to run Hyper-V vs VMware.

http://www.vmware.com/technology/whyvmware/calculator/?rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CB8QFjAA&url=http://www.vmware.com/go/costperappcalc&ei=9bGUUISJKs2Z0QW6uICABg&usg=AFQjCNHrd5qCynXr5iBnz2wqjuu6QLMBAQ&sig2=P683eeTyJQY1y1rzN4EKPw

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Mushroom

Re: Surprised me..

Server 2012 is not = Hyper-V.

Hyper-V is a seperate product that can be installed on it's own with no other operating system required.. (It can also be installed as an optional sevice on a 2012 Server)

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Silver badge

Serious question: Who cares?

I mean people who want a decent shell and a manageable system have moved to Linux years ago. Or if they still need some Windows server software, they run it inside a virtual image.

Pure Windows sysadmins are getting rare, and those who remain often cannot program. A shell is therefore quite useless to them.

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Mushroom

Re: Serious question: Who cares?

Strange that Windows admins get so much better pay rates than Linux admins then if that were true. Oh wait, it isnt - there we go. Windows server market share is still growing massively - at the expense of UNIX.

nb - Powershell is also way head of anything used as a standard shell on Linux.

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Trollface

1970 called, they want their OS back

1. The GUI tools emit powershell commands so you can look and learn? Great, now I am having a flashback to AIX's admin tool, smit, which did exactly the same thing. If it has a little running man icon I'm jumping out the window now.

2. MS recommend running everything virtualized? Those MVS jokers over in Armonk must be laughing their heads off. Oh wait, they're all so old they live in Florida now.

Kudos to Microsoft, but....plus ca change.

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Re: 1970 called, they want their OS back (nearer 1965)

While we in "plus ca change" mode, can I put in a reminder that the George 3 filestore design used exactly the same block write mechanism - for the same reason. Whatever next? Ordered metadata writing? Are they going to get a patent for it?

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Loving 2012. More please!

As someone who is actively and actually using Server 2012, I think I can probably give a real world experiences view.

First off, the interface changes are getting overblown by people resistant to change if you ask me. Yes, 2012 isn't perfect on this front, but actually once you get past the admittedly mindless metro front screen bit, the rest is pretty good. They're finally getting shot of many of the legacies of old versions and putting together more sane management interfaces. The more I use it, the more I'm really starting to hate having to go back to 2008/2003. Progress is needed and once you spend a bit of time using 2012 you just get used to it and it no longer irritates you. Apart from "Log Off" being "Sign Out" and not where you'd expect it anymore (which really is a minor grumble).

By far the biggest win on 2012 is Hyper V - it's really, really, really good. Miles better than the prior release and in our particular scenario will give us the features we want and could really benefit from without the cost and sub-par VMware world having to become part of my world. I used to really like VMware but it's just not doing it anymore - of course different people may have different views but in practical terms, for us, Hyper V has come of age.

Storage Spaces is really handy too - particularly in the SME space (it's pretty similar in basic terms to the much loved and now gone feature of "Home Server" for many purposes), but as it stands we've no real use for it internally - but give it a few weeks, I'm sure we'll end up with some scenario.

There are so many small/trivial little changes that all make a big difference when put together - if you're a clued up admin who actually admins Windows regularly (and not a very competent Linux admin that has to look after some windows but hates it and blah blah) you might actually want to spend a bit of time on 2012 before moaning, and then realise it's going to make your life easier.

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WTF?

A couple of notes on the filesystems

After poking around 2012 on the weekend:

Dedupe is not at all RAM-intensive as it's run as a scheduled task, it doesn't run on-the-fly.

Dedupe is, for some baffling reason, only available under NTFS and not ReFS

One of the features touted for ReFS is storage data integrity. This is only enabled for mirror volumes. For parity volumes, only file *metadata* is checksummed. However, write performance of parity volumes has been reported to be so slow that I'm not even going to bother testing parity volumes.

Overall, it looks like Microsoft decided to catch up to ZFS, but made a rather half-arsed job of it.

I'm probably going to use this for a home fileserver, but I'm seriously unimpressed with this for an enterprise environment.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Parity - bad

You just don't want to be using parity volumes any more - you're needlessly sacrificing performance.

For the price of one more drive you could do RAID 10.

The write performance of parity schemes has ALWAYS been terrible.

Unless you really, really need to eke out maximum usable storage from a limited budget.

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Mushroom

Re: A couple of notes on the filesystems

This is because REFS is new and Microsoft have chosen stability and conservative approach over features and functionality.

Microsoft have already stated that once it is proven REFS will replace NTFS for boot volumes and all current NTFS functionality will gradually be added.

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