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back to article The 10 best … Windows Server 2012 features

Microsoft's Windows Server 2012 is out. For many systems administrators, the question about this latest iteration of Microsoft's server family is not "What's new?" but "Why care?" Server 2008 R2 is a great operating system, while Server 2012 bears the stigma of Metro and the Windows 8 controversy. But the answer to "why care" …

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Anonymous Coward

excited is an understatement

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Anonymous Coward

Sugercoating for ignorant sods.

Perfectly suited to solving probems that are already solved, and targeted at managment that thinks that money solves problems.

If you need to solve new problems, look elsewhere.

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Difficult to see

how you can say that MS has surpassed other OSs. Looks to me that it's a nice release if your a Windows shop but I can't see it winning any converts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Difficult to see

I disagree: I work in backup and I'm seeing (albeit anecdotal) more and more demand for Hyper-v backups, it appears that MS is offering serious competition to VMware at this level at least.

Also - If MS are offering features in Windows for which you have a few legacy proprietary RISC UNIX servers kicking around in a predominantly Windows estate, it'll win those tasks from legacy UNIX.

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Re: Difficult to see

Erm, while there are versions of VMWare that will run under Windows, ESX server is a bare metal hypervisor (so Windows runs as a guest under it) and there are VMWare clients that run on non Windows machines, so they aren't exactly joined at the hip.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Difficult to see

@Eadon - Two things:

Hyper-v and VMware are competing mainly at the hypervisor/bare metal level. Although there is virtualisation at the workstation, where both have been in the market for a long time.

Are you saying that an OS manufacturer shouldn't be able to make applications for their OS? It's like saying IBM make z/OS, so they shouldn't be allowed to make DB/2 because Oracle made mainframe relational databases before them.

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JDX
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Re: Write apps for windows at your own risk

"Write apps for windows at your own risk. If you start to make money, then Microsoft will bring out their own version and attempt to steal the market you created."

Yes, it's called capitalism. When companies try to stop others doing this, you complain about "stupid software patents stifling free competition". Make up your damn mind.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Write apps for windows at your own risk

Oracle, IBM, RedHat, HP, Google and any other OS manufacturer all write at least some software which directly competes with software that someone else writes for their platform.

This isn't a case of "ooh look at MS being teh evils, taking the business of the poor small sofware companies", it's just how things are across the whole industry and in many others to boot. If you don't like the manufacturer of an OS selling more of their equivalent product than you, write better software.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Difficult to see

It has many of the advantages of Linux land (scripting, modularity etc) with a much lower bar of entry in terms of technical skills.

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@JDX' sports taste

When companies try to stop others doing this, you complain about "stupid software patents stifling free competition"

It seems that you would be enjoying the type of boxing where an opponent is kicked, elbowed and spit at by another. It's like in a racing competition. Companies should not try to hamper others running to keep up with, they should instead be better racers to be ahead.

Survival of the fittest: speedier racers, more agile boxers not a clingier stoppers or more dodgy elbowers is what a good Capitalism is all about, not the other way around. Unless, you're a Marxist.

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Re: Difficult to see

"Windows is no match, on servers it's just a toy that needs rebooting all the time, requires anti-virus, doesn't scale and is generally poor at file and memory management."

You do know that we aren't in the '90s talking about NT here? If I wanted to slag Linux off with old stereotypes, I'd bleat about poor driver support and the need to recompile the OS for any minor rubbish, but I'd be wrong to do so.

If you run a file server of any OS without antivirus, you get what you deserve (infected clients most likely....)

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Re: Write apps for windows at your own risk

OK, I'll bite. Bad old OS vendor writes apps for their OS. Shocked, shocked.

First, where is the grass any greener?

Apple? They'll happily write iOS apps that compete with what someone else did. It's happened before and it will happen again.

Linux? Lemme laugh on that one. Let's say you are for-pay software vendor writing an app with a wide potential user base. How long before a GPL clone of it comes out? Not to criticize Linux here, mind you, but that's the way it is, mostly because users want it just that way.

Second, are you really suggesting that we, as users, should all keep on paying for add-ons to basic OS functionality? Like pdf viewers, schedulers, cd burners, dvd viewers? All software which at some point was not in Windows but is included nowadays.

Yes, write Windows OS-related apps at your own risk. Just like you write those type of apps at your own risk anywhere else. MS does have a history of screwing their partners, but that's just the name of the IT game in general and you'd be naive to expect otherwise.

Bottom line: I dislike MS myself, but what is the point you are trying to make and how is MS much worse than the other big dogs?

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Re: Write apps for windows at your own risk

You mean ala Skype that MSFT purchased for $8+ Billion??? Yeah they stole that one right out from the owners noses.....Sounds like you got burned somewhere along the line?

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Re: Difficult to see

@Eadon wow read your first comment here and agreed then read this one and I don't think you could be more wrong.

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WTF?

Re: Difficult to see

Erm... no?

Windows has the advantage of being far easier to setup and support compared to Linux - which equals a lower cost in staff pay.

I guess you shouldn't go anywhere Windows, as it's clear you're not sufficiently technical to support it, as per your comments your Windows machines require regular reboots, whereas one of my Windows servers we found hadn't been rebooted for nearly 3 years (it's never allowed downtime) - weird that isn't it?

It does require Anti-Virus sure, but is that a huge problem? Well i guess when a system is very popular and used, then virus writers will target said systems.

Scales fine in a virtual environment.

File and memory management don't seem to be an issue for my environment, perhaps in your IT area it is, but hey, every server environment is different - perhaps you need to see how servers are used in other industries / companies rather than believe that your setup is the only setup?

Yeah, you have to pay for allot of things in life, that's how our economy works - hell, your company has to pay for you - should you be free?

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Re: Difficult to see

Eadon - as usual your are jumping on anything within a story in an attempt to support your anti-MS, pro Linux stance - even if it doesn't make sense (as evidenced by the VMware comment above).

By all means make arguments but at least be prepared to explain them and back them up with sound reasoning and real information. Otherwise your remarks add nothing useful to the debate.

I use Linux a little but not a lot - I therefore don't think I am qualified to post on most Linux issues, I just don't have the knowledge. I am however well qualified to talk about Windows server. I suspect that the situation is a little different with regard to you - you seem to know very little about Windows server, however you freely comment on how dire it is.

I replied to one of your posts some time ago asking you to explain why Windows Server is not scalable. I'm still waiting for an answer, could you please explain why? Also please back up your remark about frequent reboots, rather than dogma based on what you heard Windows server was like ten years ago. If a sys admin needs to keep rebooting Windows servers it says more about his/her abilities than it does about the OS itself. I know from extensive experience Window Server is rock solid as far as stability and reliability is concerned.

I don't doubt your knowledge of Linux, however I suspect that you make most of your Windows remarks up off the top of your head. You are right about one thing though - Windows 8 really is crap, on that we can agree!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Difficult to see

Server Core should help with the up-time problems of the past.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Difficult to see

And an order of magnitude fewer security vulnerabilities than a Linux distribution...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Difficult to see

Unfortunately it doesnt equal a lower cost in staff pay - take a look on a jobsite - Linux generally pays less than Windows Server skills. But then Windows has a much lower TCO than Linux at everything but web services - and it sounds like Server 2012 might have taken the crown there too...

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Re: Write apps for windows at your own risk

"You mean ala Skype that MSFT purchased for $8+ Billion??? Yeah they stole that one right out from the owners noses.....Sounds like you got burned somewhere along the line?"

This is what I call "the offer you can't refuse". Microsoft has offered to buy out companies before; if the company refuses, Microsoft will use any and all marketing and technical infromation they gained during talks to make an exact clone of the competitor's product, Microsoft will then undercut the competitor on price until the competitor goes out of business and then jack the price right back up. They did it with Stac Electronics for one example among many, and they'll probably do it again.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with the article though. I'm not interested in Windows, but still am pleased that they are using Powershell more. They are moving away from a situation where you have an undocumented mass of settings in the registry, with a GUI that performs as a black box, performing unknown and essentially unknowable actions (is it just flipping a registry entry, more than one, or doing something else?) to one where they have proper settings files, and with the configuration GUI running scripts it's possible to find out what a button actually does.

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Re: Difficult to see

"Write apps for windows at your own risk. If you start to make money, then Microsoft will bring out their own version and attempt to steal the market you created"

Think you might be confusing Microsoft with Apple.

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Megaphone

Yeah, but

You can't use the Powershell 3 cmdlets with SharePoint 2010, so basically this version is useless for SP2010 until MS decide to bring out a new update.

Also, one of the other best new features is the ability to go back to a core or full version of the OS, or an intermediate 'minimal server interface' which will just give you a PS console, and the Server Manager interface. Additionally, you can now choose not just to remove roles and features, you can actually get rid of them altogether, meaning a reduced attack surface. As much as I hate Microsoft, I have to admit, Server 2012 is a great OS. Shame about the Metro though...

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Meh

All well and good but let's not forget one big downside when using the UI:

Metro (TIFKAM).

It's not all that hot on a desktop but on a server it's pointless. There are no server specific tiled apps so every time you click on something just end up back on the desktop. Stupid. It'd also be nice if just once MS could avoid radical changes to UI layout on applications as well. Administering a server is hard enough without buttons and menus being rearranged and removed.

But it runs well enough from what I can tell.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

You shouldn't really be installing the GUI on a Win2012 server, even if you do (and I have to see what it's like) the metro interface is pretty good, I would suggest better on a server desktop. It's basically six or so buttons for what you really need to do and that's it. The vast majority of GUI configuration is done through the server manager or the control panel, both of which are run from the desktop.

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I agree on all points. I see no point at all for Metro on the server and worse yet as an administrator I HATE when the buttons for the same operation are moved around on each version. I do however like the ribbon additions to the file explorer but certainly not the metro look..

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JDX
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Does 2012 allow you to jump to desktop like W8 does, or is the choice Metro or nothing (nothing as in cmd-line not nothing as in 'no choice')?

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Re: Hmm...

I'll be using Server 2012 as a Remote Desktop Server, so having a GUI on it for the lusers is actually quite important to me...

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Does somebody just go through the Reg forums clicking downvote buttons, or what? Bizarre.

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Anonymous Coward

@JDX

Yes, the GUI option is a stripped down version of the modern UI, with a desktop button, command line, admin tools. In practice it's just a start menu replacement, like on Windows 8, but can AFAIK as I've not tried it, I think it can be beefed up by adding all the components required to make it into pretty much a full on Windows 8 desktop.

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Meh

Re: Hmm...

>You shouldn't really be installing the GUI on a Win2012 server

In our environment that would be a pain. We are a software development team so none of us are 'highly qualified experienced adminstrators'. We're just a bunch of guys who have to have various test environments to run our product on. The advantage of a GUI is that you can usually muddle your way through whereas a console typically uses arcane and obtuse syntax. We do use PowerShell for some things because our product integrates with Exchange and SharePoint but for everyday maintennance a GUI is far easier to live with.

In any case - they gave us a GUI. Why saddle it with an additional pointless 'front end'?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm...

@AndrewC - Use the GUI then, you have the option to install it, but you also have the option to not install the GUI and do all of your GUI management of the server from a workstation. You can use Win7 or Win8 as management workstations, IIRC.

You could claim that the start menu is a pointless front-end to the desktop of other versions of Windows, it's pretty much the same as the modern UI, particularly on a server where there is no dynamic update of the tiles.

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@A J MacLeod

"Does somebody just go through the Reg forums clicking downvote buttons, or what?"

It's the "or what" I'm afraid. What they do is click on your name, which takes them to a list of all your recent posts, and *then* they go down the list clicking downvote buttons.

El Reg, would it be possible to limit the number of votes someone can make in a given time period?

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> Metro (TIFKAM).

Interestingly, you might be right on execution, but since people don't do "real" work on servers I would expect that a touch interface GUI to be more relevant than on a desktop for the kind of admin tasks that people might perform on them.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

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Go

> It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

It just occurred to me that perhaps it could be reminiscent of the old NetWare UI. People with a specific task click a tile, do it and exit? I don't think the current GUI really lends itself to that but I can see how a traditional multi-window desktop might not be needed for someone who knows exactly what they are doing.

The old NetWare UI was ugly but actually the menus made it pretty obvious what you had to do most of the time.

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Re: @A J MacLeod

Five downvotes, eh? Clearly I've let the cat out of the bag. Sorry guys. (But not very.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

@Eadon - Based on your past posts, I'm pretty confident to say:

You've not used it, you lack the understanding of how Windows systems work, so even if you had used it, you wouldn't know how to use it properly. If you're going to try to make people think that FOSS is the way forward you need to be less rabid.

Also you pull the classic "Linux is free" line, which is just not the case if you need any sort of support where it can become pretty expensive.

Linux is good for some things, Windows is good for others, deal with it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

Nope, my past posts, I hope at least, are fairly balanced and include never accusing someone of being in the pay of a company or being a shill.

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FAIL

Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

I work with Windows day in and day out. I'd say he's pretty spot on with his analysis.

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JDX
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Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

Oh grow up. The whole 'you're posting AC' argument is meaningless.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

I've been a member of this site since you could be. I commented by emailing the authors, when there was a weekly roundup. The behavior of people like you is why I now post a/c. I post here to make interesting and hopefully helpful comments which can give insight into my experience as an IT guy and more generally. I don't post here to have people rant off at me, insult me, tell me that I'm full of BS and probably a shill. So I no longer allow that to happen by posting AC.

I am proud to say that in the approx 5.5k posts I've made, I have never had one removed by the Moderators. Which I believe isn't something that you can say, is it? By the way, when you have posts removed for accusing someone of being a shill, that's a suggestion from the Moderators that should should stop doing it.

I'll try to make it a bit more clear: Stop calling everyone who disagrees with your worldview a shill, it shows you to have an absence of debating skills and to behave in a childish manner.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

I don't care about status. It doesn't matter to me. I don't care if you think I'm abusing AC or not, as long as people make vicious unpleasant comments and round on and attack others, I'm posting AC. I'm hardly attacking you by suggesting that your wholesale accusations of shilling are not good debating skills. Oh, and I'm not dogged, I don't repeat what he says, except by coincidence.

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WTF?

Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

Eadon,

I've become aware of you on the MS Reg article and I've also become aware that you are extremely negative to MS. I'm sorry if you have at some point had a bad experience with their products, I'm sure we all have at some point given the length of time we've all been using them.

However there is no reason fro you to be so directly unpleasant to other posters just because they post something positive to MS. Right now I believe server 2012 is their best server version yet and WP8 is their best phone OS yet. There are still problems with a lot of parts of these products but on the whole, for me, they've got an awful lot right.

If you want to say what exactly you feel is wrong with MS and their products, go right ahead, but if someone disagrees with you, debate maturely and don't just call them a shill.

Cheers

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