Server 2012 R2 Whitepaper – Cloud optimize your business

Server 2012 R2 Whitepaper – Cloud optimize your business
Cloud optimize
your business
Windows Server
2012 R2
Published: October 7, 2013
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Windows Server: cloud optimize your
Windows Server 2012 R2 capability
Server virtualization
Server management and
Web and application platform
Access and information
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Next steps with Windows Server 2012
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
The rapidly changing world of information technology (IT) has
transformed how we do business, rendering many traditional
management approaches and methodologies obsolete.
Several key IT trends have reshaped the industry, creating new
opportunities for enterprises and service providers. These trends include
the following:
New applications: Business innovation and agility drive the need for
enhanced deployment, system, and integration flexibility. Such flexibility
demands new application and service architectures that promote greater
connectivity for the end user from virtually anywhere, anytime, on any
device. These applications, built on new frameworks with richer sets of
common services, empower the end user to take advantage of familiar
productivity, collaboration, and social networking tools. Organizations
deploy these frameworks on-premises, in the cloud, and in hybrid
Device proliferation: Innovations in consumer computing devices
enable end users to work from almost anywhere, making them more
productive. Highly mobile device form factors now provide instant
connectivity and powerful features such as touch screens, cameras, and
GPS. These enhanced capabilities have created rich user experiences and
preferences that carry with them certain expectations of enterprise
computing. This “consumerization of IT” trend offers enterprise IT teams
opportunities to support and incorporate these experiences and devices,
enabling whole new work scenarios such as convenient access to data
and applications in the field and new contextually relevant device
Data explosion: The exponential growth of available data creates
significant challenges for IT. The data often comes from a variety of
internal and external sources, not to mention business and personal
computing devices, and different structured and unstructured formats.
As a result, relevant and useful data insights remain hidden in
combinations of multiple data sources. In many cases, the sheer volume
of data prevents organizations from capturing and analyzing
information with traditional methods such as storage in a database for
query and analysis. In certain cases, the data streams at a rate and
volume that prevents any data capture or process beyond a limited
window of time.
Cloud computing: To address the challenges of new applications,
device proliferation, and data explosion, organizations need to find
effective and efficient ways to harness the latest IT innovations in their
environments. The ability to abstract resources from individual hardware
components into a pooled set of resources while maintaining workload
isolation enables organizations to achieve highly agile workload
provisioning, continuous availability, elastic scaling, and optimal use of
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
resources. The cloud-computing delivery model has evolved with new IT
service delivery models to render and manage these capabilities to their
full potential.
Many enterprise IT departments today have recast their datacenter
services into private cloud computing models. This transformation
includes automation of their delivery model with self-service
provisioning and administration portals, plus instituting charge-back or
report-back capabilities based on resource usage.
Datacenter service providers have also transformed their service delivery
to cloud-computing models, enabling them to offer more attractive
economics due to resource pooling, often at higher levels of IT service
The Microsoft vision for this new era of IT provides one consistent
platform for infrastructure, applications, and data: the Cloud OS. The
Cloud OS spans customer datacenters, service provider datacenters, and
the Microsoft public cloud, enabling you to easily and cost-effectively
cloud-optimize your business. The consistency helps IT organizations,
large and small, take the most advantage of cloud computing and
extend the boundaries of their datacenter to further improve service
scale, elasticity, and availability.
At the heart of the Cloud OS is Windows Server 2012 R2.
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
For years now, Microsoft has been building and operating some of
the largest cloud applications in the world. The expertise culled
from these experiences along with our established history of
delivering market-leading enterprise operating systems, platforms,
and applications has led us to develop a new approach for the
modern era: the Microsoft Cloud OS.
The Cloud OS vision combines Microsoft knowledge and experiences
with today’s trends and technology innovations to deliver a modern
platform of products and services that helps organizations transform
their current server environment into a highly elastic, scalable, and
reliable cloud infrastructure. Utilizing the software that powers the Cloud
OS vision, organizations can quickly and flexibly build and manage
modern applications across platforms, locations, and devices, unlock
insights from volumes of existing and new data, and support end-user
productivity wherever and on whatever device they choose.
At the heart of Cloud OS is Windows Server 2012 R2. Delivering on the
promise of a modern datacenter, modern applications, and peoplecentric IT, Windows Server 2012 R2 provides a best-in-class server
experience that cost-effectively cloud-optimizes your business. Windows
Server 2012 R2 includes the following types of new and enhanced
Enterprise-class: Windows Server 2012 R2 offers a proven,
enterprise-class virtualization and datacenter platform that can scale
to run the largest workloads while enabling rich recovery options to
protect against service outages. With Windows Server 2012 R2, you
can achieve automated protection, recovery of assets, and costeffective business continuity on-premises and in the cloud, enabling
you to improve your workload service level agreements (SLAs) while
reducing downtime risks. Because many customers have
heterogeneous environments, Windows Server 2012 R2 offers high
levels of interoperability with cross-platform technologies.
Simple and cost-effective: Windows Server 2012 R2 provides
resilient, multi-tenant-aware storage and networking capabilities for
a wide range of workloads. The use of cost-effective, industrystandard hardware makes these capabilities available at a fraction of
the cost of other solutions. With automation of a broad set of
management tasks built-in, Windows Server 2012 R2 simplifies the
deployment of major workloads and increases operational
Application focused: Windows Server 2012 R2 helps you build,
deploy, and scale applications and websites quickly, easily, and
flexibly. In concert with Windows Azure and System Center 2012 R2,
Windows Server 2012 R2 provides improved application portability
between on-premises environments and public- and service-
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
provider clouds, increasing the elasticity of your IT services. Windows
Server 2012 R2 also enables mission-critical applications and
provides enhanced support for open standards, open source
applications, and various development languages.
User centric: Windows Server 2012 R2 empowers your end users by
giving them access to corporate resources on the devices they
choose while protecting your organization’s information. You can
manage an end user’s identity across the datacenter and into the
cloud, providing secure remote access and defining the resources
and level of access they have based on who they are, what
information they are accessing, and what device they are using.
Having the capability to manage corporate- and personally owned
devices within a unified infrastructure helps administrators easily
identify and achieve compliance.
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
Server 2012
R2 capability
When you optimize your business for the cloud with Windows
Server 2012 R2, you take advantage of your existing skillsets and
technology investments. You also gain all the Microsoft experience
behind building and operating private and public clouds – right in
the box.
Delivered as an enterprise-class, the simple and cost-effective server and
cloud platform Windows Server 2012 R2 delivers significant value
around seven key capabilities:
Figure 1: Windows Server 2012 R2 capabilities.
Windows Server Hyper-V offers a scalable and feature-rich virtualization
platform that helps organizations of all sizes realize considerable cost
savings and operational efficiencies. With Windows Server 2012 R2,
server virtualization with Hyper-V pulls ahead of the competition by
offering industry-leading size and scale that makes it the platform of
choice for running your mission critical workloads. Using Windows
Server 2012 R2, you can take advantage of new hardware technology,
while still utilizing the servers you already have. This functionality
enables you to virtualize today and be ready for the future tomorrow.
Whether you are looking to expand virtual machine mobility, increase
virtual machine availability, handle multi-tenant environments, gain
bigger scale, or gain more flexibility, Windows Server 2012 R2 with
Hyper-V gives you the platform and tools you need to increase business
agility with confidence. Plus, you can also benefit from workload
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
portability as you extend your on-premises datacenter into a service
provider cloud or Windows Azure.
Enterprise-class scale and performance
Windows Server 2012 R2 offers massive scale to help transform your
datacenter into an elastic, always-on cloud. For example, Hyper-V in
Windows Server 2012 R2 provides industry-leading virtualization host
support for 320 logical processors, 4TB of physical memory, and 1,024
active virtual machines per host. Hyper-V also supports 64-node clusters
and 8,000 virtual machines per cluster as well as a 64 TB virtual disk
format with the ability for online resize – the ability to grow or shrink a
VHDX-formatted virtual disk dynamically while it is running, without
Figure 2: Windows Server 2012 R2 offers industry-leading scalability for server virtualization.
Live migration is an important virtual machine mobility feature that has
continued to improve since it was introduced with Windows Server 2008
R2. In Windows Server 2012 R2, these performance improvements have
been taken to the next level. Live migration compression accelerates live
migration transfer speed by compressing the VHD/VHDX file, improving
performance by roughly 2x for most workloads. Live migration with
remote direct memory access (RDMA), another new feature in Windows
Server 2012 R2, delivers the highest performance for live migrations
over >10 GB network connections, supporting transfer speeds of up to
56 Gigabytes, by offloading the transfer to hardware and harnessing the
power of RDMA technologies.
Virtualized Microsoft workloads, such as Exchange, SQL, and SharePoint,
run best on a Hyper-V infrastructure. For example, independent thirdparty testing by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. (ESG Lab) showed
that an Exchange Server 2013 infrastructure deployed within twelve
Hyper-V virtual machines running on a single physical server supported
the I/O requirements of up to 48,000 simulated users. The average
database read-response times ranged between 5.02 and 15.31
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
milliseconds, well below the Microsoft recommended limit of 20
milliseconds. In another ESG Lab test case, an existing SQL Server 2012
online transaction processing (OLTP) workload, virtual processor (vCPU)limited by the maximum allowed configuration of four vCPUs imposed
by Windows Server 2008, increased performance by six times by taking
advantage of 64 vCPUs in Windows Server 2012. The average
transaction response times also improved five times, from four vCPUs to
64 vCPUs.
Windows Server 2012 R2 also introduces generation 2 virtual machines
to Hyper-V. These virtual machines provide Unified Extensible Firmware
Interface (UEFI )firmware support, Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE)
boot, secure boot, and boot from a Small Computer System Interface
(SCSI) virtual hard disk VHD. Some older virtual hardware such as
Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) controllers has been removed. This
change can help contribute to faster boot times and more flexible
configurations. However, Windows Server 2012 R2 only supports more
recent operating systems and does not support conversion between
generation 1 and generation 2.
These enterprise-class features help ensure that your virtualization
infrastructure can support the configuration of large, high-performance
virtual machines for sustaining Microsoft or other, mission-critical
workloads that you might need to significantly scale.
Virtual machine mobility
Windows Server 2012 R2 enables you to manage virtual machines
independently of their underlying physical infrastructure. In addition,
Windows Server 2012 R2 also enables you to handle changes in resource
demand as they occur and gives you the ability to rebalance running
virtual machines either through the servers on which the virtual
machines reside or the storage resources used by the virtual machines.
Introduced with Windows Server 2012 as an industry-first capability,
shared-nothing live migration enables you to move a virtual machine,
live without downtime, from one physical system to another, even if the
systems are in different clusters or not connected to the same shared
storage. This capability means you can live-migrate a virtual machine
from one cluster to a different cluster without setting up complex
storage mappings. Such functionality can prove beneficial in many
different situations, such as in a branch office where you may be storing
the virtual machines on a local disk, and you want to move a virtual
machine from one node to another. This feature also can prove useful
when you have two independent clusters and you want to move a virtual
machine, live, between them, without having to expose their shared
storage to one another. Windows Server 2012 R2 also introduces crossversion live migration that enables you to move virtual machines from a
server or cluster running Windows Server 2012 to a server or cluster
running Windows Server 2012 R2 with no downtime.
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
In multi-tenant environments of service providers, tenants are frequently
asking for application-level, high availability for their workloads. To
address this need, Windows Server 2012 R2 provides complete flexibility
with multiple options for guest clustering, without making you sacrifice
agility and density in your environment. In addition to Fibre Channel,
iSCSI, and server message block (SMB) protocol support, Windows
Server 2012 R2 now also offers shared VHDX files. Shared VHDX files can
be stored either on a scale-out file server cluster or on cluster-shared
volumes (CSV) on block storage. Shared VHDX clustering also preserves
dynamic memory, live migration, and storage live migration for a virtual
machine that is part of the guest cluster.
First introduced in Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V Replica provides a
storage- and workload-agnostic solution that replicates efficiently,
periodically, and asynchronously over IP-based networks, typically to a
remote site. Hyper-V Replica also enables an administrator to easily test
the replica virtual machine without disrupting the ongoing replication. If
a disaster occurs at the primary site, administrators can quickly restore
their business operations by bringing up the replicated virtual machine
at the replica site. New in Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V Replica
enables configurable, replication frequencies down to 30 seconds or up
to 15 minutes. Furthermore, Hyper-V Replica now supports multiple
nodes, meaning tertiary replica sites for example, such as in the case of a
service provider who wants to replicate a customer’s workload to
another datacenter.
Another innovation around Windows Server 2012 R2 is Windows Azure
Hyper-V Recovery Manager. Hyper-V Recovery Manager combines
Windows Azure, System Center Virtual Machine Manager, and Hyper-V
Replica to deliver planned and cost-effective business continuity of
workloads. With Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager, you can
protect services by automating the replication of the virtual machines
that composes them at a secondary location. Hyper-V Recovery
Manager also provides continuous health monitoring of the primary site
and coordinates the orderly recovery of services in the event of a site
First-class citizen support for Linux as a guest
Many enterprise IT departments and service providers today run a mix of
hypervisors, operating systems, and applications in their datacenter.
Oftentimes, migrating from one platform to another is not possible or
even feasible from a technical standpoint due to the size and scope
involved. Designed to integrate well with heterogeneous IT
environments, Windows Server 2012 R2 supports a cross-platform cloud
infrastructure by adding comprehensive functional support for Linux
guests running on top of Hyper-V.
Dynamic Memory, a Hyper-V feature first introduced in Windows Server
2008 R2 SP1, automatically reallocates memory between virtual
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
machines running on a Hyper-V host. This results in a more efficient
allocation of virtual machine memory while dramatically increasing
virtual machine consolidation ratios. In Windows Server 2012 R2, HyperV now offers full dynamic memory support for Linux guests including:
Minimum memory setting — ability to set a minimum value for
the memory assigned to a virtual machine lower than the startup
memory setting.
Hyper-V smart paging — paging used to enable a virtual machine
to reboot while the Hyper-V host is under extreme memory
Memory ballooning — reclaiming unused memory from a virtual
machine for another virtual machine with memory needs.
Runtime configuration — adjusting the minimum memory and
maximum memory configuration setting on the fly, without
requiring a reboot, while the virtual machine continues to run.
Also, previously, if you wanted to take advantage of Linux Integration
Services (LIS) for your Hyper-V environment, you had to go to the
Microsoft Download Center, download the correct LIS package for your
Linux distribution, and then manually install it on your Hyper-V servers.
With Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V hosts, key Linux vendors have
included LIS for Hyper-V in their standard distributions, eliminating the
manual step required to take advantage of the latest LIS capabilities.
With the increase in new applications, the explosion of data, and
growing end-user expectations for continuous services, there has come
a significant increase in storage demands. Windows Server 2012 R2
offers a wide variety of storage features and capabilities to address the
storage challenges faced by organizations. Whether you intend to use
cost-effective, industry-standard hardware for the bulk of your
workloads or Storage Area Networks for the most demanding ones,
Windows Server 2012 R2 provides you with a rich set of features that
can help you maximize the returns from all of your storage investments.
Microsoft designed Windows Server 2012 R2 with a strong focus on
storage capabilities, including improvements in the provisioning,
accessing, and managing of storage and the transfer of data across the
network that resides on that storage. The end result is a storage solution
that delivers the efficiency, performance, resiliency, availability, and
versatility you need at every level.
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
High-performance storage on industry-standard hardware
Windows Server 2012 R2 provides a rich set of storage features that
enable you to take advantage of lower-cost industry-standard hardware
—rather than investing in purpose-built storage devices—without
having to compromise performance or availability.
Storage Spaces, for example, provides sophisticated virtualization
enhancements to the storage stack that you can use to pool multiple
physical hard disk units together and provide feature-rich, highly
resilient, and reliable storage arrays to your workloads. You can use
Storage Spaces to create storage pools, which are virtualized
administration units that are aggregates of physical disk units. With
these storage pools, you can enable storage aggregation, elastic
capacity expansion, and delegated administration. You can also create
virtual disks with associated attributes that include a desired level of
resiliency, thin or fixed provisioning, and automatic or controlled
allocation on diverse storage media. These virtual disks can make use of
striping, mirroring, and parity across physical disks for improved
availability and performance.
Storage tiering, a new feature in Windows Server 2012 R2, relies on low
cost, high-capacity spinning disks to store less-frequently used data,
while high-speed solid-state disks store more-frequently used data.
Storage tiering accomplishes this by building on storage virtualization
with Storage Spaces, assigning solid-state drives (SSD) and hard disk
drives (HDD) to the same storage pool and using them as different tiers
in the same tiered space. Windows Server 2012 R2 recognizes the tiers
and optimizes them by moving often-used “hot” data to the SSD tier. By
tracking data temperature, Windows Server 2012 R2 can move data at
the sub-file level, resulting in only “hot” regions of a file (such as VHD or
database) moving to SSDs, with the “cold” regions residing on HDDs.
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
Figure 3: Storage tiering in Windows Server uses solid-state drives (SSD) and hard-disk
drives (HDD) in tiered storage space.
Since Windows Server 2012, SMB Direct has provided support for
remote direct memory access (RDMA) network adapters, enabling
storage performance capabilities that rival Fibre Channel. RDMA network
adapters provide this performance capability by operating at full speed
with very low latency due to the ability to bypass the kernel and perform
write and read operations directly to and from memory. This capability is
made possible by implementing reliable transport protocols on the
adapter hardware that enable zero-copy networking with kernel bypass.
As a result, applications (including SMB), can perform data transfers
directly from memory, through the adapter, to the network, and then to
the memory of the application requesting data from the file share.
Continuous application availability and robust recovery
Windows Server 2012 R2 reduces server downtime and application
disruption by letting you store server application data on file shares
while obtaining a similar level of reliability, availability, manageability,
and high performance typically expected from a high-end storage area
network (SAN).
Introduced in Windows Server 2012, Transparent Failover enables you to
transparently move SMB file shares between file server cluster nodes,
without noticeable interruption of access for end users or servers
depending on the storage. This feature proves useful for planned events,
such as performing maintenance on a node, or surprise events, such as
when a hardware failure causes a server to fail. Transparent Failover
occurs regardless of the kind of operation underway when the failure
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
One of the main advantages of file storage over block storage is the
ease of configuration and the ability to configure folders that can be
shared by multiple clients. Windows Server 2012 first introduced the
ability to share the same folders from multiple nodes of the same cluster
with cluster shared volumes (CSV). New in Windows Server 2012 R2 is
the ability to manage SMB sessions per share (not just per file server),
increasing flexibility. Workloads from a single client can be distributed
across many nodes of a scale-out file server.
The combination of performance improvements and enhancements to
availability through features such as transparent failover means you can
now use File and Storage Services clusters as network storage for
application data, especially workloads such as SQL Server and Hyper-V.
In fact, for Windows Server 2012 R2 a file share cluster storage back end
becomes the recommended deployment model for Hyper-V
Comprehensive storage management and backup
Whether you use purpose-built or industry-standard storage solutions,
efficient use and management of valuable storage resources is critical.
Windows Server 2012 R2 provides great management and backup
capabilities that help you better manage your storage capacity for a
single server or multiple servers, one class of storage or a variety of
storage solutions, for a Windows-only or a heterogeneous environment.
Storage QoS, a new quality of service feature in Windows Server 2012
R2, enables you to restrict disk throughput for overactive or disruptive
virtual machines. You can configure Storage QoS dynamically while the
virtual machine is running. For maximum bandwidth applications,
Storage QoS provides strict policies to throttle IO to a given virtual
machine to a maximum IO threshold. For minimum bandwidth
applications, Storage QoS provides policies for threshold warnings that
alert an IO-starved virtual machine when the bandwidth does not meet
the minimum threshold.
Also, to help improve storage management efficiency and offset that
cost, Windows Server 2012 R2 comes with a set of storage management
application programming interfaces (APIs) and provider interfaces that
enables administrators to centrally manage disparate storage resources
and solutions, such as SANs and storage arrays, from a centralized
“single pane of glass” interface. Manageable resources can include SANs
that are Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) compliant,
storage devices with proprietary hardware that have compatible thirdparty storage management providers, or storage devices that are already
allocated through the use of Storage Spaces. This storage management
capability enables administrators to configure and manage all of the
storage devices throughout their organization or management sphere
through an easy-to-use management interface that they are already
familiar with: Server Manager in Windows Server. By using Server
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
Manager, administrators can populate server groups with file servers or
storage clusters that take advantage of Storage Spaces or reach out to
populate manageable devices that have enabled SMI-S agents.
Windows Azure Backup is a separate offering that extends the
capabilities of Windows Server Backup and System Center Data
Protection Manager to deliver simple and reliable off-site data
protection to Windows Azure. Windows Azure Backup is suitable for any
workload, such as file servers, SharePoint, SQL, Exchange, and others.
New technologies, such as private- and public-cloud computing, mobile
workforces, and widely dispersed assets have transformed the business
landscape and altered how we manage networking and network assets.
Still, the main goal remains the same: keep all networking components
connected to ensure smooth data transmission and reliable access by
users and customers to the services they need when they need them.
Windows Server 2012 R2 makes it as straightforward to manage an
entire network as a single server, giving you the reliability and scalability
of multiple servers at a lower cost. Automatic rerouting around storage,
server, and network failures enables file services to remain online with
minimal noticeable downtime. In addition, Windows Server 2012 R2
provides the foundation for software-defined networking, out-of-thebox, enabling seamless connectivity across public, private, and hybrid
cloud implementations.
Whatever your organization’s needs, from administering network assets
to managing an extensive private and public cloud network
infrastructure, Windows Server 2012 R2 offers you solutions to today’s
changing business landscape. These capabilities help reduce networking
complexity while lowering costs, simplifying management tasks, and
delivering services reliably and efficiently. With Windows Server 2012 R2
you can automate and consolidate networking processes and resources,
more easily connect private clouds with public cloud services, and more
easily connect users to IT resources and services across physical
Software-defined networking
Software-defined networking (SDN) enhances the management of
modern networks by providing the ability for applications to control
access to network resources dynamically. A key enabler of SDN is that it
uses networking functionality that has been moved to a virtual switch,
providing the ability to modify packets in transit and enabling
integration of more advanced switch extensions. SDN also brings the
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
benefit of unifying the management of both the physical and virtual
Hyper-V Network Virtualization and the Hyper-V Extensible Switch are
the foundations of SDN in Windows Server 2012 R2. With both features,
you can isolate network traffic from different business units or
customers on a shared infrastructure without utilizing virtual local area
networks (VLANs). Hyper-V Network Virtualization also lets you move
virtual machines as needed within your virtual infrastructure while
preserving their virtual network assignments. You can even use Hyper-V
Network Virtualization to transparently integrate these private networks
into a pre-existing infrastructure on another site.
Figure 4: With Hyper-V Network Virtualization, two companies can have virtual machines
and virtual networks with overlapping IP address ranges running on the same physical
infrastructure. Despite the overlap, the virtual workloads and networks remain
independent and secure."
Hyper-V Network Virtualization extends the concept of server
virtualization to enable multiple virtual networks, with overlapping IP
addresses, to be deployed on the same physical network. With Hyper-V
Network Virtualization, you can set policies that isolate traffic in your
dedicated virtual network independently of the physical infrastructure.
The Hyper-V Extensible Switch in Windows Server 2012 R2 is a layer-2
virtual network switch that provides programmatically managed and
extensible capabilities to connect virtual machines to the physical
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
network. As an open platform, Windows Server 2012 R2 makes it
possible for multiple vendors to provide extensions that are written to
standard Windows API frameworks, with strengthened reliability through
the Windows standard framework.
On the same physical network as Hyper-V Network Virtualization and
the Hyper-V Extensible Switch, you can run multiple virtual network
infrastructures and have overlapping IP addresses with each virtual
network infrastructure acting as if it was the only one running on the
shared physical network infrastructure.
In Windows Server 2012, we introduced a feature called cross-premises
connectivity, which provides virtual private network (VPN) site-to-site
functionality to help establish cross-premises connectivity between
enterprise operations and hosting service providers. Cross-premises
connectivity enables enterprise IT departments to connect to private
subnets in a hosted cloud network. In addition, cross-premises
connectivity enables connectivity between geographically separate
enterprise locations. However, one of the limitations of this feature was
that you needed one gateway per tenant. With Windows Server 2012 R2,
however, you get a multi-tenant VPN gateway built right into the
operating system. This function can provide a seamless connection over
a site-to-site VPN link between multiple external organizations and the
resources that those organizations own in a hosted cloud. A new in-box
multi-tenant VPN gateway opens up a broad range of scenarios
including the enabling of connectivity between physical and virtual
networks, enterprise datacenters, hosting organizations, and enterprise
networks and Windows Azure.
Another challenge to a software-defined datacenter is the fact that
today’s datacenters are made up of different classes of devices – load
balancers, power distribution units, baseboard management controllers
(BMCs), top-of-rack (TOR) switches, and routers – from a variety of
device manufacturers. With the explosion of datacenters, the need to
automate the management of such devices in a consistent way is very
important as most of these devices are managed with different
protocols and schemas, and in some instances, with proprietary
solutions. Windows Server 2012 R2 includes standards-based switch
configuration as a device management abstraction layer that further
reduces the complexity of heterogeneous device management by easily
managing and configuring devices utilizing standards technologies.
Windows Server 2012 R2 enables you to provide device management
with a common abstraction layer, working over standard protocol and
schema. As a consequence, you can move from a complex datacenter
device world into a world of well-defined, standard-based components,
and build a ready-to-use solution for device management right in
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
High-performance networking
Modern SLA requirements for the datacenter require IT team to help
ensure that services are running continuously without any interruption.
Poor network performance—usually caused by limitations in network
bandwidth or limitations in the processing power—can impact
availability and resiliency of the network infrastructure, and directly
affect service availability. A considerable amount of work has been done
in Windows Server 2012 R2 to extract predictable network performance
inbox as well as to extract the most out of next-generation hardware.
Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) is a standard introduced by the
Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG), the
special-interest group that owns and manages PCI specifications as
open industry standards. SR-IOV works in conjunction with system
chipset support for virtualization technologies that provide remapping
of interrupts and Direct Memory Access, and enables SR-IOV-capable
devices to be assigned directly to a virtual machine.
Hyper-V enables support for SR-IOV-capable network devices. Hyper-V
also enables a SR-IOV virtual function of a physical network adapter to
be assigned directly to a virtual machine. This increases network
throughput and reduces network latency while also reducing the host
CPU overhead required for processing network traffic. You can configure
your systems to maximize the use of host system processors and
memory to effectively handle the most demanding workloads. These
Hyper-V features let you take full advantage of the largest available host
systems to deploy mission-critical, tier-1 business applications with
large, demanding workloads.
Windows Server 2012 R2 also helps provide fault tolerance on your
network adapters without having to buy additional hardware and
software. NIC Teaming in Windows Server 2012 R2 enables multiple
network interfaces to work together as a team, preventing connectivity
loss if one network adapter fails. This feature also enables you to
aggregate bandwidth from multiple network adapters. For example, four
1 GB network adapters can provide an aggregate of 4 GB of throughput.
In Windows Server 2012 R2, the load-balancing algorithms have been
further enhanced with the goal to better utilize all NICs in the team,
significantly improving performance.
The advantages of a Windows NIC Teaming solution are that it works
with all network adapter vendors, spares you from most potential
problems that proprietary solutions cause, provides a common set of
management tools for all adapter types, and is fully supported by
Improved manageability and diagnostics
Better insight into your network as well as improved manageability and
control over your network assets are important challenges that IT
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
professionals face on a daily basis. No matter the size of your
organization, you need to have the ability to get the best performance
on a multi-site environment and provide your organization and hosting
providers with a way to track resource usage and build
chargeback/show-back solutions. Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on the
networking advances in Windows Server 2012 with an array of new and
enhanced features that help reduce networking complexity while
lowering costs and simplifying management tasks. With Windows Server
2012 R2, you now have the tools to automate and consolidate
networking processes and resources.
IP address management (IPAM), introduced in Windows Server 2012,
offers an out-of-the-box framework for discovering, monitoring,
auditing, and managing the IP address space and the associated
infrastructure servers on a corporate network. IPAM provides automatic
IP address infrastructure discovery, migration of IP address data from
spreadsheets or other tools, custom IP address space display, reporting
and management, auditing of server configuration changes, tracking of
IP address usage, and monitoring and specific scenario-based
management of DHCP and Domain Name System services. With
Windows Server 2012 R2, you also receive virtual IP address space
management, which enables IPAM in Windows Server 2012 R2 to show
both the physical and the virtual address space in a single view,
including tenant IP subnets and address spaces as well as the provider IP
address space.
Windows Server 2012 first introduced the ability to manage quality of
service policies and settings dynamically with Windows PowerShell. Most
hosting providers and enterprise operations today use a dedicated
network adapter and network for a specific type of workload such as
storage or live migration to help achieve network performance isolation
on a server running Hyper-V. QoS minimum bandwidth benefits vary
between service providers and enterprise operations. For service
providers, QoS management enables hosting customers on a server
running Hyper-V while still providing a certain level of performance
based on SLAs. QoS management also helps hosters ensure that
customers won’t be affected or compromised by other customers on
their shared infrastructure. This functionality applies to computing,
storage, and network resources. For enterprise operations, QoS
management enables them to run multiple application servers on a
server running Hyper-V and be confident that each application server
will deliver predictable performance.
Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 R2 helps providers build a multi-tenant
environment in which virtual machines can be served to multiple clients
in a more isolated way. Because a single client may have many virtual
machines, aggregation of resource use data can be a challenging task.
However, Windows Server 2012 R2 simplifies this task by using resource
pools, a Hyper-V feature that enables resource metering. Resource pools
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
are logical containers that collect the resources of the virtual machines
that belong to one client, permitting single-point querying of the client’s
overall resource use. Resource Metering in Windows Server 2012 R2 can
measure and track a series of important data points, including the
The average CPU, in megahertz, used by a virtual machine over a
period of time.
The average physical memory, in megabytes, used by a virtual
machine over a period of time.
The lowest amount of physical memory, in megabytes, assigned to a
virtual machine over a period of time.
The highest amount of physical memory, in megabytes, assigned to
a virtual machine over a period of time.
The highest amount of disk space capacity, in megabytes, allocated
to a virtual machine over a period of time.
The total incoming network traffic, in megabytes, for a virtual
network adapter over a period of time.
The total outgoing network traffic, in megabytes, for a virtual
network adapter over a period of time.
Datacenter infrastructure has become more and more complex. Multiple
industry standards are confusing hardware vendors. Customers are
looking for guidance on how to best automate their datacenter while
adopting a standards-based management approach supporting their
multi-vendor investments. Windows Server 2012 R2 enables IT
professionals to offer an integrated platform to automate and manage
the increasing datacenter ecosystem. Features within Windows Server
2012 R2 enable you to manage many servers and the devices
connecting them, whether they are physical or virtual, on-premises or in
the cloud.
Standards-based management
Windows Server 2012 R2 enhances the manageability of datacenters
through significant improvements in the standards-based infrastructure
that deliver application programming interfaces (APIs), which are easier
for developers and IT staff to use. These APIs provide support for recent
standards and add new kinds of Windows PowerShell commands
(cmdlets) that make it simpler and more cost-effective to connect to and
manage multiple servers and devices in the datacenter.
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
Another challenge in standards-based management is the definition and
availability of a standard management protocol. With multiple vendors
creating multiple management tools and interfaces on multiple
platforms, the complexity of managing these environments continues to
Windows management instrumentation (WMI) is a standard common
information model object manager (CIMOM) that hosts many standard
class providers. Early on however, there was not an interoperable
management protocol, resulting in WMI using the distributed
component object model (DCOM). This limitation made Windows
managing Windows an “island of management.”
This situation changed with the Distributed Management Task Force
(DMTF) definition and approval of WS-Man, a SOAP-based, firewallfriendly protocol that enables a client on any operating system to invoke
operations on a standards-compliant CIMOM running on any platform.
Microsoft shipped the first partial implementation of WS-Man in
Windows Server 2003 and named it Windows Remote Management
Since Windows Server 2012, WinRM has become the default protocol for
management. This functionality provides interoperability with a number
of CIMOM and WS-Man stacks available on other platforms, including
Openwsman (Perl, Python, Java, and Ruby Bindings), Wiseman, and
Simplified multi-server management
Since Windows Server 2012, the capabilities of Server Manager have
expanded considerably to facilitate multi-server tasks, such as remote
role and feature deployment to both physical and virtual servers, remote
role and feature management, and custom server group creation.
By using Server Manager in Windows Server 2012 R2, you can provision
servers and offline virtual hard disks from your desktop without
requiring either physical access to the system or Remote Desktop
Protocol (RDP) connections to each server. Server Manager also helps
administrators manage groups of servers collectively from a single,
integrated console, enabling them to respond to business-critical
problems with greater speed and agility.
Rich automation
Increasing business agility by more efficiently managing infrastructure
and applications must come in a cost-effective manner. IT staffs
historically spend 60 to 80 percent of their overall budget keeping IT
services running smoothly. The greater the efficiency of datacenter
operations, the more money there is to focus on new services. In
addressing these needs, IT professionals need to work within budget
limitations by developing a standardized approach for managing server
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
environments and looking for opportunities to automate as much of the
datacenter operations as possible.
Windows PowerShell offers comprehensive, resilient, and simple
automation of your Windows Servers to help you manage most server
roles and aspects of the datacenter. Windows PowerShell sessions to
remote servers are resilient and can withstand various types of
interruptions. In addition, learning Windows PowerShell has become
much easier through improved cmdlet discovery, simplified, consistent
syntax across all cmdlets, and an integrated scripting environment. In
Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows PowerShell 4.0 delivers more than
3,000 cmdlets to enable you to manage server roles and automate
management tasks quickly. You can also execute and monitor scripts
more efficiently through richer session connectivity, workflow
capabilities, enhanced job scheduling, and Windows PowerShell Web
Access. Furthermore, you can write Windows PowerShell scripts more
quickly and intuitively through the built-in Integrated Scripting
Environment (ISE) that enables script sharing, connecting IT
professionals to a larger Windows PowerShell user community.
New management capabilities in Windows Server 2012 R2 help you
deploy resources in a repeatable, reliable, and standardized manner. For
example, Desired State Configuration helps you standardize
deployments by helping ensure that the components of your datacenter
have the correct configuration for your application or workload. To that
effect, Windows Server 2012 R2 has Windows PowerShell language
extensions and providers, which enable declarative, autonomous, and
repeatable deployment, configuration and conformance of standardsbased managed elements. This functionality provides the ability to
define the exact configuration of target nodes (computers or devices)
and prevent “configuration drift,” thereby providing stable, reliable, and
standardized deployments.
Web and
Chances are your organization already uses or is planning to use a
combination of on-premises and off-premises IT resources and tools for
building a hybrid environment. To protect your existing investment in
on-premises applications as you begin to migrate to the cloud, you need
a scalable application and web platform that enables you to manage
your applications and websites in a unified way.
Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on the tradition of the Windows Server
family as a proven application platform, with thousands of applications
already built and deployed and a community of millions of
knowledgeable and skilled developers already in place. The capabilities
included in Windows Server 2012 R2 offer your organization even
greater application flexibility, helping you build and deploy applications
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
either on-premises, in the cloud, or both at once, with hybrid solutions
that can work in both environments.
As your organization plans for and moves to a hybrid or cloud-based
environment, Windows Server 2012 R2 provides the tools you need to
build, provision, and manage multi-tenant environments while still
supporting your large enterprise or the many customers hosted within
your service provider infrastructure.
Flexibility to build on-premises and in the cloud
Windows Server 2012 R2 supports both hybrid and portable applications
across premises — private, hosted, and Windows Azure public clouds.
For developers thinking about how to build and deploy next-generation
applications, including cloud applications, this capability can prove very
important. For example, developers may want to run applications that
they developed for Windows Azure on-premises or on-premises
applications in the cloud environment, which is where programming
symmetry, common development tools between Windows Server 2012
R2 and Windows Azure, and virtual machine portability can help them
achieve their goal.
Windows Server provides a proven application platform with thousands
of applications already built and deployed and a community of millions
of knowledgeable and skilled developers already in place. Windows
Server 2012 R2 offers programming languages and tools, such as
Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft .NET Framework that span across
on-premises and cloud environments. With these tools, developers can
work in a single, unified environment to build solutions for Windows
Server and Windows Azure cloud platforms. They can also use these
programming tools across web, application, and data tiers for locally
deployed applications and for private and public cloud solutions. In
addition, these tools provide the ability to use the same development
model between Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Azure. This
programming symmetry is complemented by the rich and
comprehensive experience of working in Visual Studio. Whether
developers work in house or as third-party solution providers, they can
write code and use common workflows and rules to create on-premises,
cloud-based, or hybrid applications from within a unified Windows
development environment.
With virtual machine portability between Windows Server 2012 R2 and
Windows Azure, you gain the ability to use your infrastructure on your
terms. That’s because you can easily bring your own customized
Windows Server images without changing existing code, retain full
control of your images, and maintain them as your business requires,
saving you time and money.
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
Scalable and elastic application and web platform
Windows Server 2012 R2 provides frameworks, services, and tools to
increase scalability and elasticity for applications that support multitenancy and improve website density and efficiency. This functionality is
important not only for enterprise IT professionals, but also for service
providers, enabling them to more effectively build, provision, and
manage a hosting environment.
In previous versions of Windows Server, there were ways to manage the
memory, network, and disk size — but not input and output — per
Internet Information Services (IIS) application pool. With Windows Server
2012, Internet Information Services introduced CPU throttling. IIS CPU
throttling can be used to set the maximum CPU consumption allowed
per application pool. Because the recommended setup is to create a
separate application pool or sandbox for each tenant, administrators can
use CPU throttling to prevent one tenant’s application from
monopolizing CPU resources needed by other tenants.
Windows Server 2012 R2 provides an ideal platform to run high-density
web servers through a centralized SSL certificate store that dynamically
maps sites to certificates. SSL certificates can be stored centrally on a file
share in Windows Server 2012 R2, which helps to simplify certificate
management and lower the total cost of ownership. Centralized SSL
certificate support in Windows Server 2012 R2 helps to store all SSL
certificates centrally in a file server, where they are shared by all servers
in the server farm, simplifying SSL binding and further reducing the cost
of manageability.
Open web platform
Windows Server 2012 R2 enables business-critical applications and
enhanced support for open frameworks, open source applications, and
various development languages. This support is important because the
latest .NET Framework offers core new features and improvements, such
as support for asynchronous file operations, and enhancements around
web, networking, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and others.
Also, with Windows Server 2012, web standards “just work.”
In addition, Windows Server 2012 R2 offers support for multiple
languages, which enables developers to choose from supported
programming languages such as .NET, PHP, Node.js, and Python.
Enhanced support for PHP and MySQL is available through Internet
Information Services extensions.
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows Server 2012 R2 also offers support for open source software.
The Windows Web App Gallery provides simple ways for millions of
users worldwide to explore, discover, install, and deploy web
applications on the Windows platform. Users have a great place to
discover and install the web applications they want and to share and
learn from user ratings and reviews. Service providers have a simple way
to offer and deploy the best free web applications to their customers.
And developers benefit from an easy way to distribute their latest
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
Access and
Information exists almost everywhere in your organization: on servers,
laptops, desktops, removable devices, and in emails. Users need to be
able to access this information from anywhere, share it where
appropriate, and achieve maximum productivity with the assets they
have. To further complicate matters, the move to cloud computing
necessitates being able to secure enterprise applications that no longer
live in your datacenter.
Microsoft assists you in supporting consumerization of IT and in
retaining effective management, security, and compliance capabilities.
The enterprise tools and technologies that Microsoft provides can help
with key enterprise tasks such as identifying non-corporate devices,
delivering applications and data to those devices with the best possible
user experience, and establishing and enforcing policies on devices
based on the end user’s role within the organization. Microsoft
enterprise tools and technologies can help IT staff to maintain a high
level of security across all device types, whether the devices are
corporate or personal assets, and establish security measures that
protect their organization’s systems, data, and network.
To address these information needs and challenges, organizations have
to make fundamental shifts in how they approach identity and security.
Windows Server 2012 R2 helps you accommodate these changes
through exciting new remote access options, significant improvements
to Active Directory and Active Directory Federation Services, and the
introduction of policy-based information access and audits with
Dynamic Access Control, and new scenarios to help customers provide
access to corporate resources for users from their own devices. With
these new capabilities, you can better manage and protect data access,
simplify deployment and management of your identity infrastructure,
and provide more secure access to data from virtually anywhere across
both on-premises well managed devices and new consumer orientated
form factors.
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
Figure 5: Windows Server Remote Access helps IT provide seamless application access and automatic VPN
connections with conditional access to users based on the user’s identity, the user’s device, and whether the user is
inside the corporate network or connecting from an external location.
Always-on remote access from trusted devices
In a world of consumerized devices and mobility, end users want to use
their device of choice and have access to their personal and workrelated applications, data, and resources. They also want an easy way to
access their corporate applications from anywhere. IT organizations are
increasingly open to empower end users to work this way, but they also
need to control access to sensitive information and remain in
compliance with regulatory policies.
Windows Server 2012 R2 provides flexible, remote access, based, on user
identity, to keep end users productive virtually anywhere, on any device.
For example, Windows Server 2012 R2 introduces a new concept known
as device registration or Workplace Join. With Workplace Join, end users
can register their own devices for single sign-on and access to corporate
data. As part of this registration process, a certificate is installed on the
device and a new device record is created in Active Directory. This device
record establishes a link between the end user and their device, making
it known to the IT system and enabling the device to be authenticated
(effectively establishing a seamless second-factor authentication). In
return, the end user gains access to corporate resources that were
previously not available outside of their domain-joined PC.
Another new feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 provides the ability for
applications to trigger a VPN connection on the end user’s behalf during
launch. Traditional VPNs are user-initiated and provide on-demand
connectivity to corporate resources: The end user launching the VPN
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
connection, typically enters credentials. Oftentimes, the end user’s
device establishes two-factor authentication and a connection to the
corporate environment. In Windows Server 2012 R2, however, automatic
VPN connections provide automated starting of the VPN when an end
user launches an application that requires access to corporate resources.
The end user may still be prompted for two-factor credentials, but
automatic VPN connections remove the requirement to initiate the
connection before starting the application. A VPN connection will start
whenever an application requires it.
Seamless, single sign-on to applications and data
When end users access resources located on-premises and in the cloud,
the IT team often struggles to provide end users with a common
identity. In addition, managing multiple identities and keeping the
information in sync across environments can be an unwelcome drain on
IT resources. Windows Server 2012 R2 provides a single view of all enduser information, enabling organizations to reduce security risk and
lower the burden of managing multiple credentials.
Virtualizing Active Directory in the past has been challenging, fraught
with potential issues when administrators used common virtualization
platform management tasks such as snapshots. In Windows Server 2012
R2, Microsoft has enhanced Active Directory to be virtualization-aware
and to respond accordingly. You can now run Active Directory at scale
with support for virtualization and rapid deployment through domain
controller cloning.
You can also extend on-premises identities into the cloud with Active
Directory Federation Services (ADFS). ADFS enables the corporate Active
Directory to communicate with heterogeneous identity stores and offers
seamless single sign-on for end users. In addition, ADFS also enables IT
organizations to authenticate end users from partner organizations and
grant them access to internal domain resources. New in Windows Server
2012 R2 AD FS is the ability to enforce multi-factor authentication on a
global or per-application basis, and to enforce device registration by
users as part of the requirements in order to get access to corporate
Microsoft supports running domain controllers and ADFS on Windows
Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), connected back on premises with
the Azure Connect bridge. This configuration makes it easier and faster
for customers to connect and authenticate cloud-based end users,
devices, and applications. And if you are a developer, you can integrate
applications for single sign-on across on-premises and cloud-based
applications, providing a more productive experience for end users and
an easier way for customers to manage the identity of end users within
these applications.
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD) works fluidly with Windows
Server Active Directory to easily extend an organization’s Active
Directory into the Windows Azure cloud. Providing cloud-based identity
through WAAD enables customers to use it as the central authentication
endpoint for all end users and devices outside of the corporate
environment, including cloud or hybrid applications. In such a case,
WAAD may be the authoritative authentication directory. You can also
check the end user validation and device verification through federated
connections to other directories such as on-premises Active Directory,
partners, or other cloud-based identity repositories.
Policy-based access and audit of corporate information
As end users bring their own devices to their workplace, they will also
want to access sensitive information locally on these devices. A
significant amount of corporate data can only be found locally on enduser devices, which means it is typically not backed up or available for
compliance classification, leaving it unprotected in the event a device is
lost, stolen, or sold. The IT team needs to be able to secure, classify, and
protect data based on the content it contains, not just where it resides,
and to maintain regulatory compliance. Windows Server 2012 R2 helps
organizations keep corporate intellectual property secure and simplifies
regulatory compliance.
Dynamic Access Control, introduced in Windows Server 2012, provides a
holistic data classification and protection system integrated with
centralized access control. You can use Dynamic Access Control in
Windows Server 2012 R2 to classify data on organizational file servers
based on their contents, location, and other criteria. The classification
data can be used for audit information, access control, and automatic
classification tasks. You can also use this feature to achieve central
access control by enabling access control policies in Active Directory and
distributing them to file servers. These policies can be based on
classification information in the data and paired with user information
from Active Directory for fine-grained access policies. Furthermore,
Dynamic Access Control enables you to automatically protect sensitive
information through integration with Active Directory Rights
Management Services (AD RMS). With an existing AD RMS
implementation, properly classified data can be automatically sent to AD
RMS for protection in near-real time. AD RMS protects Office documents
and email by identifying the rights that an end user has to the file.
Rights can be configured to enable an end user to open, modify, print,
forward, or take other action with rights-managed information, helping
organizations safeguard data when it is distributed outside the
corporate network.
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
Most IT departments currently face the challenge of enabling worker
productivity on a growing number of mobile devices in the workplace.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) helps you accommodate these new
devices by enabling them to access a centralized instance of the
Windows desktop in the datacenter. By virtualizing these desktop
resources, you can alleviate device compatibility and security issues
while still delivering a consistent, familiar experience that enhances enduser productivity. With Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft makes it
easier and more cost-effective to deploy and deliver virtual desktop
resources across workers’ devices.
VDI technologies in Windows Server 2012 R2 offer easy access to a rich,
full-fidelity Windows environment running in the datacenter, from
virtually any device. Through Hyper-V and Remote Desktop Services
(RDS), Microsoft offers three flexible VDI deployment options in a single
solution: Pooled Desktops, Personal Desktops, and Remote Desktop
Sessions (formerly Terminal Services).
With Windows Server 2012 R2, you get a complete VDI toolset for
delivering flexible access to data and applications from virtually
anywhere on popular devices, while also helping to maintain security
and compliance.
Efficient VDI management
IT professionals looking to deploy a VDI infrastructure have many
questions they need answered. Can you reduce management costs with
VDI? Can you deploy and update applications in a faster and less
expensive way? How can you centrally administer and manage those
remote desktops running in the datacenter? Lastly, how do you make
sure that you are adhering to the right corporate policies?
Since Windows Server 2012, an important goal for the enhancements of
RDS has been to help ensure that VDI is simple to deploy and easy to
manage. A simple, intuitive deployment wizard takes customers through
the steps required to setup a virtual machine or session-based VDI
environment. Selecting between one of the deployment modes has been
simplified in such a way as to only require checking an option during the
setup process. Additional settings can easily be configured during the
wizard-based setup, thereby not sacrificing functionality at the expense
of simplification. RDS creates and deploys the virtual machines for you
as part of the setup process, reducing the dependency for additional
tools during the setup process. The virtual machines and sessions are
also automatically configured with optimal settings, so users can start
connecting to their desktops fairly quickly.
The RDS administration console has been greatly simplified to unify the
administration of published applications and desktops, giving you plenty
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
of options to setup and manage end users, sessions, and virtual
machines from a single console. In addition to entire desktops, you can
also publish virtual applications, called RemoteApp, to virtual machines
and session desktops with the RDS administration console. You can
manage end-user permissions, including their settings and other
properties, from the same console, ensuring complete in-box
management for a simplified VDI deployment experience.
Best value for VDI
Storage is a key part of any VDI roll-out and one that has a significant
impact on the cost of the deployment. Customer experience indicates
that VDI is easily the most challenging workload for storage
infrastructure, both in terms of input/output operations per second
(IOPS) and storage volume. Thus, it is critical to have a wide range of
options to optimize the output from your storage investment.
RDS in Windows Server 2012 R2 supports various lower cost storage
options, such as SMB based file shares, Direct Attached Storage (DAS),
and SAN. With RDS, you can separately configure storage location for
the parent VHD and individual guest virtual machines, and use different
storage tiers to optimize each one. High-performance, lower-cost
storage options for VDI have become more plentiful, freeing customers
from having to rely on SANs as their only option.
New in Windows Server 2012 R2, storage de-duplication for VDI now
supports live VHDs. Such support enables data de-duplication to be
performed on open VHD/VHDX files on remote VDI storage with clustershared-volume (CSV) support. The end result is faster read/write times of
optimized files, up to a 90% reduction in storage use, and reduced
storage cost.
By using storage tiering in Storage Spaces, mentioned earlier in this
paper, an IT administrator doesn’t need to plan and architect the storage
locations for VDI gold images, differencing disks, and user data. Data
will automatically be placed on higher or lower performing disks based
on frequency of usage.
Rich user experiences
End users demand access to their corporate applications and data
anytime, anywhere, and on any device. However, they still expect a
familiar, consistent, rich and responsive desktop and application
experience whether they are on the local area network (LAN) or on the
wide area network (WAN), and regardless of the display capabilities of
the device they are using.
With Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Microsoft introduced RemoteFX, a
set of end-user experience technologies that enable the delivery of a
full-fidelity Windows user experience to a broad range of remote client
devices. Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 build on
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
this platform to more easily enable a far richer experience on many
types of networks and devices. Specifically, the RDP protocol in
Windows Server 2012 R2 enables a more consistent end user experience
when connecting to centralized desktops and applications, even on
networks where bandwidth is limited and end-to-end latency is
Microsoft RemoteFX enables the delivery of a rich Windows user
experience across a range of scenarios. In Windows Server 2012 R2,
enhancements provide a more seamless experience on all types of
networks and devices. For example, RemoteFX for WAN helps maintain a
consistent end-user experience over highly variable WANs. RemoteFX
for WAN enables an automatic choice of transmission control protocol
(TCP) or security-enhanced user datagram protocol (UDP) transport, and
dynamically and automatically detects and tunes graphics output to
network capabilities.
RemoteFX Adaptive Graphics provides improved graphics processing
that enables higher fidelity delivery of rich virtual desktops and
RemoteApp programs, such as video and 3D content, across various
networks. The RemoteFX graphics processing pipeline and codecs and
RemoteFX Progressive Rendering are some of the key components that
enable RemoteFX Adaptive Graphics.
RemoteFX USB Redirection allows any locally connected USB device to
be accessed by the remote session. This enables users to use virtually
any USB device they have with their remote desktop.
To further enhance the end user experience, RemoteFX includes a CPUbased graphics accelerator that enables applications running in a virtual
machine to access graphics processing unit (GPU) resources, even if
there is no GPU in the server, in order to provide a rich graphics
experience. RemoteFX also supports virtualizing a GPU in the host server
in virtual machines, providing an accelerated DirectX graphics
experience for 3D or other graphics-intensive applications. Furthermore,
RemoteFX fully supports touch-enabled devices and applications in a
VDI environment.
With the release of Windows Server 2012 R2 Microsoft are also releasing
Remote Desktop App which provides easy access from iOS, Android and
Mac OS X devices. These clients are available for free from the app store
on the devices and take advantage of the latest RDP functionality,
including the protocol improvements and support for RemoteApp and
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
To compete in the global economy and keep up with the pace of
innovation, IT organizations must improve their agility, their
efficiency, and their ability to better manage costs while enabling
their business and end users to stay continuously productive.
Microsoft has gained expertise from years of building and operating
some of the largest cloud applications in the world. We’ve combined this
expertise with our experiences in delivering market-leading enterprise
operating systems, platforms, and applications to develop a platform for
infrastructure, applications, and data: the Cloud OS.
The Microsoft Cloud OS delivers a modern platform of products and
services that helps enterprise IT teams transform their current
environment to a highly elastic, scalable, and reliable infrastructure. With
Cloud OS, organizations can quickly and flexibly build and manage
modern applications across platforms, locations, and devices, unlock
insights from volumes of existing and new data, and support user
productivity wherever and on whatever device they choose.
Microsoft uniquely delivers the Cloud OS as a consistent and
comprehensive set of capabilities that span on-premises, service
provider, and Windows Azure datacenters, enabling enterprises to
improve scale, elasticity, and availability of IT services.
At the heart of Cloud OS is Windows Server 2012 R2, which delivers
upon the promises of a modern datacenter, modern applications, and
people-centric IT. Whether you are an enterprise building out your own
private cloud environment or a service provider offering large-scale
cloud services, Windows Server 2012 R2 offers an enterprise-class,
simple and cost-effective solution that’s application-focused and user
centric. With Windows Server 2012 R2, you can utilize the capacity of
your datacenter, deliver best-in-class performance for your Microsoft
workloads, and receive affordable, multi-node business continuity
scenarios with high service uptime and at-scale disaster recovery.
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
Next steps
Server 2012
As the foundation of the Cloud OS platform, Windows Server 2012
R2 provides powerful new technologies that help enable the
transformation to a modern datacenter. With Windows Server 2012
R2 you can effectively address opportunities created by the latest IT
trends and better meet today’s business needs with agility and
These technologies enable you to offer new levels of datacenter support
for existing and new, lower cost hardware, offer private cloud services,
extend private clouds to hybrid cloud architectures more easily, and
improve support for remote and mobile workers and devices. As a result,
enterprise and service provider IT organizations can simplify the roll-out
and management of IT services, to quickly support process and
workload deployment, and to improve availability and access to
applications, while simultaneously reducing costs, capital investment,
and risk.
By adopting Windows Server 2012 R2, enterprise IT teams and service
providers are better equipped to support business agility, efficiency, and
innovation, helping create competitive advantage. To take a deeper look
at how Windows Server 2012 R2 can help your organization attain new
levels of agility and efficiency, download a trial version of the software
and begin evaluating the capabilities most relevant to your business and
IT strategy.
Refer to additional Windows Server 2012 R2 resources
Windows Server 2012 R2 on TechNet
Download and evaluate Windows Server 2012 R2
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approaches and specific materials relevant to your particular needs and
Cloud optimize your business with Windows Server 2012 R2
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