TechEd Europe 2013: Microsoft releases preview version of Windows Server 2012 R2

Microsoft has released the preview software for Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2014 at TechEd Europe 2013

Microsoft has released the preview software for Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2014 at its TechEd Europe 2013 conference in Madrid.

The preview software offerings are designed to blur the boundaries between customers’ own datacentres and the Windows Azure public cloud for a hybrid IT infrastructure.

“These products are going to have a massive impact on companies around the world – and IT pros are going to see the traditional boundaries between datacentres vanish and a true hybrid cloud emerge,” wrote Brad Anderson, corporate vice-president of Windows Server & System Center at Microsoft, on the company blog.

The update to the server, management and SQL products forms part of Microsoft’s “cloud-first design principles” and its Cloud OS strategy, according to Anderson.

Microsoft Cloud OS has three key elements: Windows Server 2012, a cloud-optimised server operating system; System Center 2012, for operations, management and governance of the datacentre; and Windows Azure, for cloud.

“We deeply understand that customers do not want to feel locked in to any specific cloud,” Anderson wrote in an earlier blog post. “When you deploy the Microsoft Cloud OS, you have the flexibility to choose which cloud is best for your business and for the specific application. There’s no lock-in; you make the choice about what’s best for you.” 

Windows Server 2012 R2 (release 2), a cloud and datacentre platform, will allow enterprise IT teams to manage identities across their datacentres and federated into the cloud. While the preview software is available for download, the full edition is likely to be released later this year. Microsoft released the first version – Windows Server 2012 – in October last year.

The new version has improved storage, networking and deduplication features. It will help IT provide flexible remote access to applications and resources, and define the resources and level of access users have to information based on who they are, what they are accessing, and what device they are using, according to Microsoft.

Spanish telecoms company Telefónica is one such customer that is planning to use Microsoft’s latest products for its hybrid cloud strategy, Microsoft announced at TechEd Europe 2013.

Telefónica has dumped its VMware infrastructure in favour of Microsoft in its datacentre as part of its hybrid cloud project, according to Microsoft.

It will deploy Windows Server Hyper-V and SQL Server starting next month with an aim to virtualise over 80% of its IT services and make its IT ready to migrate necessary applications and workloads to Windows Azure cloud platform.

“Telefónica expects this move to result in a 15% cost savings in the next three to five years, while making its business more agile and productive,” said Anderson.

Currently, it takes up to 20 weeks to get equipment into Telefónica’s on-premise datacentres. Microsoft’s Cloud OS solution will improve the company’s competitiveness by reducing this timeframe to just one week, helping Telefónica remain a leader in the global market, said the telco’s European production hub lead and global director, Adrian Steel.

Meanwhile, SQL Server 2014 will feature in-memory Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) for applications, as well as data warehousing and business intelligence. SQL Server 2014 also enables new hybrid scenarios, such as cloud backup and disaster recovery. It lives in Windows Azure and can be migrated to the cloud from on-premise.

While Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 will be available by the end of 2013. SQL Server 2014 is slated for a 2014 release.

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