Microsoft has made the release code for Windows 2012 R2 available to developers and users through its MSDN and TechNet subscription.
The operating system (OS) represents a significant step for Microsoft, bridging the worlds of cloud and on-premise computing, through what it calls a “cloud OS”.
In a whitepaper covering the new operating system, Microsoft stated: “The Microsoft Cloud OS provides enterprises with infrastructure and solutions for always-on, always-up services. Automated management, robust multi-tenant support, and self-service provisioning help enterprises transform their datacentres to support the co-ordination and management of pooled sets of shared resources at the datacentre level, replacing fragmented management of individual server nodes.”
Microsoft said Windows Server 2012 R2 supports server virtualisation, storage, networking, server management and desktop virtualisation. In terms of virtualisation. Microsoft said the new OS supports shared-nothing live migration and Hyper-V Replica, which provides storage-agnostic and workload-agnostic replication over asynchronous IP-based networks.
For storage, Microsoft has introduced storage tiering, a new feature in Windows Server 2012 R2, demonstrating how storage performance can be dramatically enhanced while using lower-cost industry standard hardware. With storage tiering, low-cost, high-capacity spinning disks are used to store less frequently used data, while high-speed solid state disks are reserved to store frequently used data.
On the networking side, Microsoft is supporting software-defined networks through the Hyper-V Extensible Switch in Windows Server 2012 R2. This is a layer-2 virtual network switch that provides programmatically managed and extensible capabilities to connect virtual machines to the physical network.
Virtual desktop infrastructure support now includes RemoteFX over WAN, which Microsoft said helps maintain a consistent user experience over highly variable WANs.
“RemoteFX over WAN enables an automatic choice of TCP or security-enhanced UDP transport and it detects and tunes graphics output to network capabilities dynamically and automatically,” Microsoft said.