Windows Server 2012

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Windows Server 2012
Part of the Microsoft Windows family
Windows 8 server start screen.png
Windows Server 2012 Start screen
Website Official pre-release website
Preview version Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate (May 31, 2012; 51 days ago (2012-05-31)) [[[1] info]]
Source model Closed source / Shared source
License Microsoft EULA
Preceded by Windows Server 2008 R2
Support status
In development

Windows Server 2012,[1] formerly codenamed Windows Server 8, is the next release of Windows Server currently under development by Microsoft. It is the server version of Windows 8 and the successor to Windows Server 2008 R2. Windows Server 2012 will be the first version of Windows Server to have no support for Itanium-based computers since Windows NT 4.0.[2] A developer preview (a pre-beta release) was released on 9 September 2011 to MSDN subscribers.[3] On March 1, 2012, Microsoft issued a public beta (build 8250).[4] On April 17, 2012, Microsoft announced the product name would be Windows Server 2012.[1] On May 31, 2012, Microsoft announced the release candidate (RC) for Windows Server 2012.[5]



[edit] Builds

Windows Server 2012 is still in the pre-release stages of its development. Microsoft has not confirmed any specific dates for any releases beyond the developer preview. A Milestone 3 build (6.2.7959.0) was reportedly leaked to file-sharing sites.[6] A new window style, but little else, is present. Windows Server 2012’s developer preview was released on 9 September 2011 along with that of Windows 8, but unlike Windows 8’s developer preview, it was only made available to MSDN subscribers.It was branded as the Windows Server “8” Developer Preview”[3] The Metro-style user interface is present, as well as the new Server Manager, along with the other new features. On 16 February 2012, Microsoft announced that the developer preview build, after installing a particular update, will be set to expire on 15 January 2013, instead of the original 8 April 2012.[7]

Screenshots of a build suspected to be the beta (but was not) of Windows Server 2012, then referred to as Windows Server “8”, were reportedly leaked on 3 January 2012. A new dashboard UI is present.[8] Build 8180 was leaked on 13 January 2012, and contains some revisions to the Server Manager interface and Storage Spaces.[9]

The beta was released along with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on 29 February 2012.[10]

The Release Candidate of Windows Server 2012 was released on May 31 2012, along with the Windows 8 Release Preview.[11]

[edit] Features

Windows Server 2012 includes a number of new features or feature changes.

[edit] User interface

Server Manager has been redesigned with an emphasis on easing management of multiple servers.[12] The operating system, like Windows 8, uses the Metro UI unless installed in Server Core mode.[13] Windows PowerShell in this version has over 2300 commandlets, compared with around 200 in Windows Server 2008 R2.[14] There is also command auto-completion.[14]

[edit] Task Manager

Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 include a new version of Windows Task Manager together with the old version. In the new version, the tabs are hidden by default, showing applications. In the new Processes tab, the processes are displayed in various shades of yellow, with darker shades representing heavier resource use. It lists application names, application status, and overall utilization data for CPU, memory, hard disk, and network resources, moving the process information found in the older Task Manager to the new Details tab. The Performance tab is split into CPU, memory (RAM), disk, ethernet, and, if applicable, wireless network sections with graphs for each. The CPU tab no longer displays individual graphs for every logical processor on the system by default; instead, it can display data for each NUMA node. When displaying data for each logical processor for machines with more than 64 logical processors, the CPU tab now displays simple utilization percentages on heat-mapping tiles.[15] The color used for these heat maps is blue, with darker shades again indicating heavier utilization. Hovering the cursor over any logical processor’s data now shows the NUMA node of that processor and its ID, if applicable. Additionally, a new Startup tab has been added that lists startup applications.[16] The new task manager recognizes when a WinRT application has the “Suspended” status.

[edit] Installation options

Unlike its predecessor, Windows Server 2012 can switch between Server Core and the GUI (full) installation options without a full reinstallation. There is also a new third installation option that allows MMC and Server Manager to run, but without Windows Explorer or the other parts of the normal GUI shell.[17]

[edit] IP address management (IPAM)

Windows Server 2012 has an IPAM role for discovering, monitoring, auditing, and managing the IP address space used on a corporate network. IPAM provides for administration and monitoring of servers running Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Domain Name Service (DNS). IPAM includes components for:

  • Automatic IP address infrastructure discovery: IPAM discovers domain controllers, DHCP servers, and DNS servers in the domains you choose. You can enable or disable management of these servers by IPAM.
  • Custom IP address space display, reporting, and management: The display of IP addresses is highly customizable and detailed tracking and utilization data is available. IPv4 and IPv6 address space is organized into IP address blocks, IP address ranges, and individual IP addresses. IP addresses are assigned built-in or user-defined fields that can be used to further organize IP address space into hierarchical, logical groups.
  • Audit of server configuration changes and tracking of IP address usage: Operational events are displayed for the IPAM server and managed DHCP servers. IPAM also enables IP address tracking using DHCP lease events and user logon events collected from Network Policy Server (NPS), domain controllers, and DHCP servers. Tracking is available by IP address, client ID, host name, or user name.
  • Monitoring and management of DHCP and DNS services: IPAM enables automated service availability monitoring for Microsoft DHCP and DNS servers across the forest. DNS zone health is displayed, and detailed DHCP server and scope management is available using the IPAM console.

Both IPv4 and IPv6 are fully supported.[18][19]

[edit] Active Directory

Windows Server 2012 has a number of changes to Active Directory from the version shipped with Windows Server 2008 R2. The Active Directory Domain Services installation wizard has been replaced by a new section in Server Manager, and the Active Directory Administrative Center has been enhanced. A GUI has been added to the Active Directory Recycle Bin. Password policies can differ more easily within the same domain. Active Directory in Windows Server 2012 is now aware of any changes resulting from virtualization, and virtualized domain controllers can be safely cloned. Upgrades of the domain functional level to Windows Server 2012 are simplified; it can be performed entirely in Server Manager. Active Directory Federation Services is no longer required to be downloaded when installed as a role, and claims which can be used by the Active Directory Federation Services have been introduced into the Kerberos token. Windows Powershell commands used by Active Directory Administrative Center can be viewed in a “Powershell History Viewer”.[20][21]

[edit] Hyper-V

Main article: Hyper-V#Future

Windows Server 2012, along with Windows 8, will include a new version of Hyper-V,[22] as presented at the Microsoft Build Event.[23] Many new features have been added to Hyper-V, including network virtualization, multi-tenancy, storage resource pools, cross-premise connectivity, and cloud backup. Additionally, many of the former restrictions on resource consumption have been greatly lifted. Each virtual machine in this version of Hyper-V can access up to 32 virtual processors, up to 512 gigabytes of random-access memory, and up to 16 terabytes of virtual disk space per virtual hard disk (using a new .vhdx format). Up to 1024 virtual machines can be active per host, and up to 4000 can be active per failover cluster.[24][25] The version of Hyper-V shipped with the client version of Windows 8 requires a processor that supports SLAT and for SLAT to be turned on, while the version in Windows Server 2012 only requires it if the RemoteFX role is installed.[26]

[edit] ReFS

ReFS (Resilient File System, originally codenamed “Protogon”) is a new file system in Windows Server 2012 initially intended for file servers that improves on NTFS. Major new features of ReFS include:[27]

Improved reliability for on-disk structures
ReFS uses B+ trees for all on-disk structures including metadata and file data. The file size, total volume size, number of files in a directory and number of directories in a volume are limited by 64-bit numbers, which translates to maximum file size of 16 Exabytes, maximum volume size of 1 Yottabyte (with 64 KB clusters), which allows large scalability with no practical limits on file and directory size (hardware restrictions still apply). Metadata and file data are organized into tables similar to relational database. Free space is counted by a hierarchal allocator which includes three separate tables for large, medium, and small chunks. File names and file paths are each limited to a 32 KB Unicode text string.
Built-in resiliency
ReFS employs an allocation-on-write update strategy for metadata, which allocates new chunks for every update transaction and uses large IO batches. All ReFS metadata has built-in 64-bit checksums which are stored independently. The file data can have an optional checksum in a separate “integrity stream“, in which case the file update strategy also implements allocation-on-write; this is controlled by a new “integrity” attribute applicable to both files and directories. If nevertheless file data or metadata becomes corrupt, the file can be deleted without taking down the whole volume offline for maintenance, then restored from the backup. As a result of built-in resiliency, administrators do not need to periodically run error-checking tools such as CHKDSK when using ReFS.
Compatibility with existing APIs and technologies
ReFS does not require new system APIs and most file system filters continue to work with ReFS volumes. ReFS supports many existing Windows and NTFS features such as BitLocker encryption, Access Control Lists, USN Journal, change notifications,[28] symbolic links, junction points, mount points, reparse points, volume snapshots, file IDs, and oplock. ReFS seamlessly[citation needed] integrates with Storage Spaces, a storage virtualization layer that allows data mirroring and striping, as well as sharing storage pools between machines.[29] ReFS resiliency features enhance the mirroring feature provided by Storage Spaces and can detect whether any mirrored copies of files become corrupt using background data scrubbing process, which periodically reads all mirror copies and verifies their checksums then replaces bad copies with good ones.

Some NTFS features are not supported in ReFS, including named streams, object IDs, short names, file compression, file level encryption (EFS), user data transactions, sparse files, hard links, extended attributes, and disk quotas.[27][30] ReFS does not itself offer data deduplication. Dynamic disks with mirrored or striped volumes are replaced with mirrored or striped storage pools provided by Storage Spaces. However, in Windows Server 2012, automated error-correction is only supported on mirrored spaces, and booting from ReFS is not supported either.

ReFS was first shown in screenshots from leaked build 6.2.7955, where it went by code name “Protogon”.[31][32][33][34] Support for ReFS is absent in the developer preview (build 8102). ReFS is not readable by Windows 7 or earlier.[31]

[edit] Hardware

Microsoft has revealed the following maximum supported hardware specifications for Windows Server 2012 at the BUILD conference.[25]

Logical processors 640 (was 256 in Windows Server 2008 R2)
Random-access memory 4 TB (was 2 TB in Windows Server 2008 R2)
Failover cluster nodes 63 (was 16 in Windows Server 2008 R2)

[edit] System requirements

Microsoft has indicated that Windows Server 2012 will not support 32-bit (IA-32) or Itanium (IA-64) processors,[35] but has not officially released any other system requirements, except for the Release Candidate. The following system requirements are for the Release Candidate, and are subject to change in the final release.

Minimum system requirements for Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate [36]
Architecture x64 (64-bit)
Processor 1.4 GHz
Memory (RAM) 512 MB
HDD free space 32 GB (more if there is 16 GB of RAM or more)

Upgrades from Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 are supported, though upgrades from prior releases will not be supported.[36]

[edit] Editions

Windows Server 2012, unlike Windows Server 2008 R2, will have only four editions – the Enterprise, Small Business Server, Web, and HPC editions do not exist.[37][38][39][40]

Feature Foundation Essentials Standard Datacenter
Distribution OEM only Retail, Volume Licensing, OEM Volume Licensing and OEM
Licensing model Per server Per every pair of processor chips (although minimum on each server is 1 chip)[note 1] Per every pair of processor chips (minimum chip count on each server is 2)[note 1]
User limit 15 25 Unlimited, but one Client Access License per user required
Virtualization rights N/A Either in 1 VM or 1 physical server, but not both at once (per license) 2 VMs per license[note 1] Unlimited (on each licensed physical server)
Processor chip limit 1 2 Up to 64, 1 license for every 2
DHCP role Yes
DNS server role Yes
Fax server role Yes
File Services Limited to 1 standalone DFS root Limited to 1 standalone DFS root, automatically installed Yes
Hyper-V No Yes
Network Policy and Access Services Limited to 50 RRAS connections and 10 IAS connections Limited to 250 RRAS connections, 50 IAS connections, and 2 IAS Server Groups Yes (no limits)
Print and Document Services Yes
Remote Desktop Services Limited to 50 Remote Desktop Services connections Limited to 250 Remote Desktop Services connections Unlimited, but Client Access Licenses required
UDDI Services Yes
Web Services (Internet Information Services) Yes Yes (automatically installed) Yes
Windows Deploy Services Yes
Windows Server Update Services Yes
Active Directory Certificate Services Certificate Authorities only Certificate Authorities only (automatically installed) Yes
Active Directory Domain Services Must be root of forest and domain Yes
Active Directory Federation Services No Yes
Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services Yes
Active Directory Rights Management Services Yes
Application server role Yes Yes (installed automatically) Yes
Server Core mode No Yes
Server Manager Yes
Windows Powershell Yes
  1. ^ a b c Each license of Windows Server 2012 Standard or Datacenter allows up to two processor chips. Each license of Windows Server 2012 Standard allows up to two virtual instances of Windows Server 2012 Standard on that physical server. If more virtual instances of Windows Server 2012 Standard are needed, each additional license of Windows Server 2012 allows up to two more virtual instances of Windows Server 2012 Standard, even though the physical server itself may have sufficient licenses for its processor chip count. Because Windows Server 2012 Datacenter has no limit on the number of virtual instances per licensed server, only enough licenses for the physical server are needed for any number of virtual instances of Windows Server 2012 Datacenter. If the number of processor chips or virtual instances is an odd number, the number of licenses required is the same as the next even number. For example, a single-processor-chip server would still require 1 license, the same as if the server were two-processor-chip and a five-processor-chip server would require 3 licenses, the same as if the server were six-processor-chip, and if 15 virtual instances of Windows Server 2012 Standard are needed on one server, 8 licenses of Windows Server 2012, which can cover up to 16 virtual instances, are needed (assuming, in this example, that the processor chip count does not exceed 16).