Michael Otey's Blog

Check Out the Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 Release Candidates

Just like clockwork Microsoft has come out with the release candidates for the next generation of the Windows client and server operating systems. Earlier this year Microsoft projected that they would have the release candidates for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 available in early June and on June 1st both release candidates were publicly available. In this day of ever increasing complexity and OS requirements there’s no doubt that’s the result of some excellent execution on the part of the Microsoft development teams. So what can you expect from Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012?

Windows 8

The early talk about Windows 8 is all over the map ranging from “the future of computing” to “the next Vista”.  For the first time since the initial release of Windows 1.0 Microsoft is coming out with a completely new Windows UI called Metro. Metro is a tile-based UI designed for touch screen tablets and it will run alongside a more traditional Windows 7-like UI. It’s clear that the push behind this is new UI to compete against the iPad. However, many people including  Apple's CEO Tim Cook criticize Microsoft’s attempt to make a single OS work for both devices. The more traditional UI will allow it to be used on desktop and laptops. Even if its true that Windows 8 turns out to be the next Vista it’s  important to remember that while Vista was a failure in the minds of most users it was also the foundation for the super popular Windows 7.  Personally, I’m looking forward to trying Windows 8 on some of the upcoming tablet devices. Some of the most important new features in Windows 8 include:

  • Metro touch-enabled UI
  • New desktop Apps  for quick information including sports, travel news and Bing
  • New Windows store to buy Windows 8 Apps
  • Multi-monitor support
  • Ribbon UI on Windows Explorer
  • USB 3.0 support
  • Windows TO GO allowing booting off USB flash drives
  • Improved power management with application suspend
  • Desktop hypervisor that’s power aware
  • Support for ARM processors

The best way to weed out the facts and the hype surrounding Windows 8 is to try it yourself. You can download the Windows 8 release candidate from http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/release-preview

Windows Server 2012

While there’s a good deal of controversy surrounding Windows 8 that’s not the case with Windows Server 2012. Windows Server 2012 is a slam dunk release that may be the most important release of the Windows Server operating system to date. While Microsoft marketing talks like Windows Server 2012 is synonymous with the cloud. That’s something of a misnomer. Microsoft’s cloud offerings are Windows Azure for the public cloud and System Center Virtual Machine Manager for the private cloud. These products are different offerings than Windows Server 2012.  While Windows Server 2012 has cloud integration capabilities and can be the foundation for the private cloud it also brings a whole host of important new features for your on-premise installations. That said, just checkout the following list of features and you’ll see why Windows Server 2012 is such an important release. Some of the most important new features in Windows Server 2012 include:

  • Multi-server management with the new Server Manager
  • 2300+ new PowerShell cmdlets
  • Server Core become a feature that can be turned on and off
  • 64 node Windows Clusters
  • Windows NIC teaming
  • DHCP failover
  • Improved Chkdsk
  • New Resilient File System (ReFS)
  • Off-load Data Transfer (ODX) for fast SAN file copy and move
  • Support for iSCSI target
  • Hyper-V 3.0 with support for VMs with up to 64 vCPUs and 1TB of RAM
  • Live Migration and Storage Live Migration without shared storage
  • Hyper-V Replica
  • Hyper-V Extensible Switch
  • SMB 2.2
  • Storage Spaces
  • Data duplication
  • Thin provisioning
  • And the list goes on…

The Hyper-V improvements alone make this a must have release. You can try the Windows Server 2012 release candidate for yourself from: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/windows-server/2012-default.aspx

TAGS: Windows 8
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