Might be old news for some, however, in advance of General Availability this week for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, I wanted to highlight a couple items relating to the new Windows Server Essentials Experience.
From the Release Notes:
· The Windows Server Essentials Experience only works in a single-domain environment that does not include a read-only domain controller. There is no workaround at this time.
· If you install Windows Server Essentials as a virtual machine, and if your server is not connected to the network (or the DHCP service is not available) while running the Configure Windows Server Essentials Wizard, Anywhere Access functionalities (such as Remote Web Access, virtual private networking and DirectAccess) are blocked.
To avoid this, ensure that your server has a network connection when you install Windows Server Essentials as a virtual machine and run the Configure Windows Server Essentials Wizard. If this has already occurred, manually configure the DNS settings.
In this R2 wave of Windows Server products, Microsoft is taking the time to update its “first server” version, Windows Server 2012 Essentials.
The Essentials SKU historically has been intended to be the entry level server for a small or midsize business. With Essentials R2, Microsoft is extending this feature set into the enterprise. Because the Essentials feature set is now an available role in the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2012 R2, companies with more than 25 users can backup their PCs, seamless integrate with cloud services or on-premise Exchange servers, and provide remote access to company data.
Besides the Essentials features now being available as a role, there are number of additional new features.
- Full PC Restore over the network is now supported
- Mobile Devices can be managed in the dashboard using Exchange ActiveSync
- Quotas can be set on shared folders in the dashboard
- The client connector can trigger a VPN connection so clients can always be connected to the network
- Now supported as a member server in a domain
- Health monitoring and reporting is now built-in
- Remote Web Access theme now follows in the style of SkyDrive
What I like about this release is that its the small things that really make it all come together. There is now an option in configuring the remote access website to allow direct RDP access to the server or only access to the dashboard. PXE boot restores of client computers is awesome and is something I’ve been asking for since the Windows Home Server days. The dashboard now lets customers integrate with Office 365, Windows Intune, and Windows Azure Backup. BranchCache is now supported as well. If a company has multiple servers, the connector will now let users switch between them.
These are just a few of the many examples of what Microsoft has brought to the R2 release of Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Over the next few days and weeks I’ll be posting some tours of the new functionality.
Tonight Microsoft has made available the public preview release of Windows Server 2012 R2. With this release, Microsoft is laying out its vision for what it calls the Cloud OS.
The Cloud OS is the platform that Microsoft is building with the release of Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014 and Windows Azure. The four key tenets of the Cloud OS are:
- Transform the Datacenter
- Enable modern business applications
- Empower people-centric IT
- Unlock insights on any data
New to Windows Server 2012 R2 are such features as:
- Storage Tiering within Storage Spaces
- Software-defined networking
- Virtual IP Address management
- Windows Powershell 4.0
- Windows Server Essentials Experience
To get started with the Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dn205286.aspx