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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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Headmaster

Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

@eadon

Status is something that's earned through the depth of the argument, and the insight of the poster.

Now, the original AC has some pretty interesting things to say, by and large in line with what I encounter.

Before you yell about Linux being top, and I don't know what I'm talking about, I'm one of the original people on zen.uwe.ac.uk. I'm pretty sure Alan Cox is familiar with that machine..

I was part of the crowd that created the box Tao on Linux (same site) as we were a little more lacksadaisical with what we wanted to do, and Zen became rigorously controlled. So, I go back some time with Linux (actually, to the point the original call was put out by Linus, and it wouldn't be the first time I've tinkered with the source).

That being said, I run windows boxes as well and Linux ones. Before Powershell, I found myself pretty much hamstrung on the wider rollouts and bulk administration. With powershell, I think Microsoft finally woke up. This is a good thing.

I've no idea how you suddenly think you're the victim and being 'attacked' when AC posted a pretty concise evaluation, and actually does sound like he's done his rounds out there, and you chose to accuse him of being a shill, and knowing nothing, deeming yourself superior because you know Linux..

The mark of a veteran in this game is rarely the highly vocal (RMS is an exception, not the rule) zealot, it's the one who casts an eye on the problem at hand and evaluates the breadth of their experience in the many tools they've encountered, and slots the best one for the job into the solution. Sometimes this is Linux. Sometimes it's Windows.. Sometimes it's something completely different (hey, welcome to embedded systems; if nothing does the job, roll your own).

If you throw a flame into a thread, expect it to gain heat. Cause and effect. You're simply reaping the rewards of the tactic you followed. Things like this remind me that we are indeed still in full swing in the Eternal September.. There are days when I miss the old times..

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Happy

@Anonymous Windows Geek

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.

Mr. Cutler, is it you Dave? Howdy, can you help us with Trevor here, please

"PowerShell should be tops on this list but to make proper use of it, your Google-fu has to be strong. The official documentation is incomplete, Bing is still worthless for searching Microsoft's web estate and the golden examples for making use of PowerShell lie in the blogs maintained by Microsoft's staff."

Sure, you don't have to be the Jack of all Windows Trades and your Google-fu might be even weaker, so could you just pass it on to the PS folks...

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FAIL

Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

How can we possibly tell?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

It's still much cheaper than licensing an enterprise Linux distribution. And Windows Server market share is still growing - mostly at the expense of UNIX based systerms.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

I work all day with windows too - and you must have both just got out of a Delorian with a Flux Capacitor fitted....

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Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

Dirty tricks, pretty much par for the course in any modern business, doesn't mean we should like it, but it's a fact of life like taxes.

In terms of poor quality software, the article is attempting to show examples of how Microsoft are addressing this, perhaps you could give examples of where it still falls short rather than generalities?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

@David Neil - I very much doubt you'll get a response, people have tried to get him to give responses on this subject before and waited and waited... Then again maybe calling him out will make him produce something, I doubt it, as I strongly suspect he has never used Windows 2012.

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Silver badge

Re: Windows Server is obsolete except as an exchange server

I only post anon on items related to the bodies that I work for, mostly government agencies.

Also, you'll note that I have no hesitation in insulting you directly Eadon, you prick.

That anon is far better-spoken than I am.

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Meh

Money talks (and cajoles and whines and threatens)

Convince me that the licensing model is not arcane, and I'll be more interested.

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Windows

Hardly advantages, in fact...

I wonder if the author has actually used any of the stuff he mentions himself.

First PowerShell; going from 2 to 3 isn't an upgrade, its a fscking downgrade. Because Microsoft has released an incomplete product. The reasoning behind it was good: make sudden components more modular and as such allow for more differences. For example; the (excellent) help section now has options to comply with the systems UICulture. Or put in normal words: localized systems will now have the option to get localized help.

And because PowerShell 3 now keeps an online help repository it makes it really easy to distribute new updates to the help section(s) and provide new translated help sections.

Only one small problem.... Microsoft never thought about what would happen if a localized system (say nl-NL) only had the default (en-US) help section because the translations weren't available yet. Worse: they also never stopped to think if users actually wanted to get localized help or a whole environment for that matter. When using the help command I can't specify a language for example...

Resulting in, you guessed it, a totally broken PowerShell experience. The only way to fix things is to manually copy "localized directories" yourself. So copying "en-US" to "nl-NL" every time a change is done. And that's only talking about the help system, don't get me started here...

IIS8? This is Microsoft we're talking about, do you really think that they'll keep that locked into Server 2012? Give it a rest and when all the bugs have been found and removed it'll become available for other platforms as well. You see; Microsoft has realized that in order to get their IIS more out on the Internet they need to make it more appealing. One option to do this is providing free (!) versions which anyone can use, something totally unheard of some years ago.

So... Patience, it'll come.

As for the rest of the features (Hyper, iSCSI, SMB); all very good new developments I'm sure, but do those really justify a whole new server?

I wouldn't be surprised if some companies would get into 2012 because they have to (EOL of the old server) but it also wouldn't surprise me if other companies would skip this line entirely, just like they're seem to do with Windows 8. The Metro tie-in will certainly influence those kind of decisions IMO.

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Meh

it makes me feel somewhat sad

that when I read an article about Microsoft implementing new operating system features, in this case SMB3.0. I immediately think of gleeful hackers rubbing their hands together.

News like this should really fill IT professionals with hope and inspiration, not worry.

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Re: it makes me feel somewhat sad

> I immediately think of gleeful hackers rubbing their hands together.

I immediately think of reaching the '05 maybe even the '95

PowerShell? Webservers? FTP? (Anyone still uses FTP??) Sigh~~

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Linux

PowerShell .. MEH!

All it does is give the average Wintard pundit an orgasm while they scream "We're as funky as linux! Oooo OOooo look at me getting HEADless".

Kudos to M$ for giving it a try, but Powershell is Slow, very limited in functionality, very poorly documented and has very limited support by non-M$ applications.

Fix these problems and I'll gladly become a powershell user.

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Bronze badge

Re: PowerShell .. MEH!

Linux is funky? Since when?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: PowerShell .. MEH!

"... Powershell is Slow, very limited in functionality, very poorly documented and has very limited support by non-M$ applications..."

You've not actually used it, have you? Because the first three are utter rubbish and, it's increasingly supported by 3rd parties. Vmware and Symantec at the top of the list, with many others coming online, particularly with the release of 2012.

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FAIL

Re: PowerShell .. MEH!

@AC - Cough troll cough cough Troll ...

I have, we recently migrated to Exchange 2010 and Server 2010, Making use of the Powershell as we went. Opening the Powershell and Executing and cmdlet was several hundred times slower than any NIX shell!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: PowerShell .. MEH!

Maybe it's not the fastest to open, but the documentation is excellent, particularly the online help and the functionality is by no means limited. I run a powershell script at home which in four or five lines reads the serial port, performs some maths on the XML file it gets fed from the serial port and outputs HTML to a web server. You can pass things round as objects and format them as you choose at the point you need formatting. There are some extremely powerful technologies in powershell.

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Re: PowerShell .. MEH!

I did find some of the documentation being a little flaky moving from the good stuff in V2 to the early V3.. I suspect MS will be fixing this soon..

Definitely agree it's got a lot of power on Windows platforms.. I even stopped using Perl as my language of choice on Windows when it PS found its feet. Still use it on *NIX though.

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Mushroom

Re: PowerShell .. MEH!

Powershell might have some shotcomings, but it is still more powerful and flexible than any Linux / Unix shell...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: PowerShell .. MEH!

Probably because the Powershell applets were actually doing something like moving mailboxes...

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Re: PowerShell .. MEH!

Beards, sandals and BO are back in fashion.

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Happy

Re: PowerShell .. MEH!

Linux inherited the funky Unix spirit of the 70's!

<---- Medallion

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I want to like PowerShell

but by jeebus it's overly wordy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I want to like PowerShell

It can be abbreviated...there are lots of common ones...and you can make your own...

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Joke

Your're fracking kidding right?

"It makes a great storage system for heterogenous environments and a wonderful network storage point for VMware servers."

Have a Windows Server as the back end NAS for your VMWare servers? Haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha *breathe* haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha

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Thumb Up

Re: Your're fracking kidding right?

LMFAO!

Best comment in ages.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Your're fracking kidding right?

And a storage system your legacy UNIX servers too - so you can have have proper filesystem ACLs via NFS 4.1 - and proper clustering / failover - DR site Replication - and data deduplication....All those bolts ons for UNIX / Linux (except dedupe - which AFAIK doesnt even exist in a Linux distribution) that are a native part of Windows Server....

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Mushroom

Re: Your're fracking kidding right?

Well it outperforms any storage system you could do on Linux or UNIX. 16Gbps storage throughput from a single file server node for instance - or 1 million IOPs from a single VM.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Your're fracking kidding right?

NFS 4.1 isnt even available in production for Linux yet either...

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Re: Your're fracking kidding right?

A Hitachi HNAS runs linux, that pisses all over everything.

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Yeah, right.

"you use Windows as your web server" jokes officially end here..

Until next week..

Windows server has always be better for for Active directory, exchange and some Windows client related stuff, as you would expect of products that are inexorably tied together. however, other servers, have always beaten Windows server for pretty much everything else. Especailly IIS.

MS seems to have made some inroads into catching up. Then we can wait another 4 years while the rest of the world leaves MS in the dust again.

This doesnt seem to have changed a thing.

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Paris Hilton

System Center may be nice, but MS has its head up its arse

I started a massive virtualization project earlier in the year. I decided we would go with SCVMM and called Microsoft for pricing. I was directed to a distribution partner and given some information on existing 2008 pricing, but as of 2012 the who shebang gets integrated into a single, much higher-priced, product.

But no pricing was available. Well, maybe, but it's gonna be like $36,000. Or less. Or more. Wait, what exactly did you need?

Six flapping months. SIX MONTHS of back-and-forth between me, distributor, and Microsoft to finally find out Microsoft wants to CHARGE ME engineering time to design my already-design solution for me. I raged. I've already designed the solution, I just need a flipping SKU for the proper product so I can get a price and quote this project which is now six months old.

I called into VMWare and had SKU and retail price quote the same day. Haven't looked back.

I like Hyper-V. I'm not completely sold on 2008's way of redundancy which uses Windows Clustering (server-level) versus VMWare's way (virtual machine-level.) But, it's free and it works. But if you wanna fly, you gotta buy, if you can get the pricing.

Paris, first hits free, too.

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Re: System Center may be nice, but MS has its head up its arse

Then you have a crap distributor. Try Grey Matter.

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LDS
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Thumb Down

Powershell is nice, but creating GUIs on powershell scripts is really stupid

OK, Windows needed more scriptable ways to accomplish tasks, but making GUIs just a layer above a bunch of powershell scripts just made them slow, cumbersome, and with bad error reporting - they really look now like some crappy Linux applications. Both GUIs and cmdlet should call directly the same APIs to ensure no matter who you're performing a task, the fastest and better way is used.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Powershell is nice, but creating GUIs on powershell scripts is really stupid

Win 2012 doesn't seem slow like other GUIs on top of command lines to me (NetBackup Java console, I'm looking at you) the big advantage that you get from this approach is that it is always possible to do something form the command line that it is possible to do from the GUI. Contrary to popular belief, MS have been very good at this and the last time that I can remember something that you could only do from the GUI was in the NT4 days. However this approach will make sure that absolutely everything can be done from the command line and in a more optimised manner than some of the previous registry hacking from scripts you had to do.

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WTF?

Re: Powershell is nice, but creating GUIs on powershell scripts is really stupid

GUI over scripts?

You mean like SQL Server Management Studio?

Works well there. Not a PowerShell guy myself, but SSMS works brilliantly.

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LDS
Silver badge

Re: Powershell is nice, but creating GUIs on powershell scripts is really stupid

Yes, and Exchange administration, and WSUS, and so on.... they are all slower and more cumbersome than the old non powershell based applications. It gives me the same sense of slowness Oracle has always given me when its tools starts to invoke SQL*Plus or some external utility to perform something, and then have to parse the output to find out what's happened... as a software developer I really think that's just wasted CPU cycles and gives a far less good "user experience". What worries me is that technical skills at MS are going down the sink, and if core parts looks good, the whole "shell" experience is getting worse and worse. Probably they too are outsourcing those applications to some part of the world where they don't understand anything about a good GUI app.

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LDS
Silver badge

Re: Powershell is nice, but creating GUIs on powershell scripts is really stupid

If you publish the same APIs through a cmdlet or GUI you can always perform the same task either way. What it is stupid is having a GUI that instead of calling the API directly calls a script engine that executes a script and then have to capture and parse output to understand what happened instead of being notified of errors by exception handling directly. It's why I always hated Oracle that does the same, often spawning a shell to invoke an executable that runs Java to invoke a Perl script.... it just make everything slower and when an error occurs usually the only way to understand what's wrong is to read tons of logs. Just publish those damned APIs, and call them directly. That's why sysadmin buys later better management applications...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Powershell is nice, but creating GUIs on powershell scripts is really stupid

>If you publish the same APIs through a cmdlet or GUI you can always perform the same task either way. What it is stupid is having a GUI that instead of calling the API directly calls a script engine that executes a script and then have to capture and parse output to understand what happened instead of being notified of errors by exception handling directly.

That aptly demonstrate how little you understand about PowerShell. Caught in your *Nix way of thinking you cannot comprehend that it can be done differently.

Unlike scripting on *Nix, a fundamental concept of PowerShell is how it can be *hosted* inside an application. Instead of stupidly formatting and parsing text as with *Nix shells, a hosted PowerShell can act directly on the host application in-memory objects.

Unlike *Nix shells, PowerShell was *designed* to create commands, functions and scripts which can be reused by a hosting application, like the Exchange admin GUI. Absolutely NO parsing is necessary. The hosting interface is rich, supports in-memory objects and may for instance operate directly on the lists of objects displayed by the application.

You cannot compare it to an application which invokes a separate process to execute command lines. The cmdlets *are* the API. The big idea that you cannot comprehend is that this way the developers only need to implement the functionality *once* as cmdlets. The GUI application may use Get-<noun> cmdlets to retrieve lists of objects, and Set/Add/Register/Install-<noun> and others to implement actions operating directly on the returned objects.

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Silver badge

Re: Powershell is nice, but creating GUIs on powershell scripts is really stupid

The problem is more likely to be internal to MS. They want to avoid gui tools sneaking around doing things the scripts can't. So you decree that you have to call scripts and you gain consistency at the cost of speed. For an enterprise, that's often worthwhile.

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Anonymous Coward

We are about to evaluate the benefits of moving from 2008R2 standard to 2012 standard on our DB machines, the one thing I can say I am looking forward too is the removed RAM cap of 32GB.that is imposed on standard 2008R2. I can't say I am particularly interested in any of the other advances except hyper-v improvements as I cant stand VmWares ESXi so perhaps I will look into that.

But seriously another advert for Microsoft?!

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

You should take a look at the storage improvements, this are excellent and should be very useful to a DBA.

Also: It's an IT news web site, Windows is the most installed server OS in the world, if they didn't publish articles like this they wouldn't be doing their job, it's not an advert to discuss the new and exciting stuff in a new product.

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JDX
Gold badge

The article makes it clear the 2012 is pretty awesome and mentions catching up or sometimes surpassing the competition a few times... but the competition is (presumably) Linux which is free. Now I know that software/license costs can dwindle to insignificance compared to hardware and human costs but even so, you'd want to be cost-effective.

AS a non-server guy powershell sounds a killer feature but doesn't nix match that for example?

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Gold badge

@JDX Linux can go toe-to-toe on many things...but I honestly think MS pipped Linux on the storage front this go-round. And Hyper-V is more or less a match for anything Linux can offer...but with far superior management tools available from both Microsoft and third parties.

Really, the question is: do you manage everything from the command line, read all reports encoded, as text or as HTML...or do you have your staff doing more than just one task? If your staff do more than just the one thing (virtualisation admin, storage admin, network admin, etc) then the reality of the world is that they won't have time to memorise all the commandline details that would be required to do their jobs efficiently using that interface.

Chances are then that a GUI for day-to-day monitoring, maintenance and minor changes are better suited for these individuals, with scripting automating the bulk of the regular work. (Scripting used solely for automation can be done with the textbook beside you, it doesn't require rote memorisation of all the commands.)

In the latter case, good management tools matter. It is here that Microsoft has consistently been ahead of Linux. Is the commandline – and specifically the Linux commandline – better than Microsoft's offerings? Hell fucking yes. If you live and breathe commandline for administration of your daily tasks, accept no substitutes!

But there are rather a lot of admins out there who don't be narrowly focused experts. For them, good management – and monitoring – tools matter. MS did a good job on that here. (RSAT, SCVMM, SCOM, etc.) Credit where it's due.

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@Trevor_Pott re storage

> I honestly think MS pipped Linux on the storage front this go-round.

Check out zfs.

- iSCSI, NFS, CIFS

- deduplication

- thin provisioning of iSCSI volumes

- snapshots

- snapshots of iSCSI volumes

- resilvering (mor efficient RAID rebuilds)

- every read checksummed

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Trevor_Pott re storage

Doesn't zfs still only run in userland on Linux? (Not sure, but I'm pretty sure this used to be the case.)

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Linux

is far from free, if you want to deploy it properly in an enterprise environment.

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