This post was brought to you by Anthony Sutcliffe, an independent consultant – Anthony is an all round technologist with an active interest in security, strategy & planning, BC / DR, SharePoint (which he thinks is a massively under-utilised product), Exchange, SQL, DPM (which according to Anthony is the best product Microsoft ever produced that they don’t promote).
You’ll fine Anthony here on Twitter and LinkedIn. When I asked Anthony why he wanted to write this post here’s what he said…. “I wanted to write this post as I thought that it was a cracking good day, well run with lots to see and learn. I think that it’s important to make sure that everyone knows how valuable these sessions are.”
Look out for future events in the TechNet Flash Newsletter.
There has been considerable discussion about the new server operating system from Microsoft; Windows Server 2012. A number of dates were announced for the official launch presentations around the UK and as I was due to be in London during the week, I thought that I would make the time to get along and see what all the fuss was about.
The conference room at the Novotel was quite large and it needed to be; there were just over 1,000 delegates at the event, covering a wide range of industrial sectors, resellers, consultants as well as some end users. A few of these had previously had the opportunity to see the beta product, but for most, this was their first look.
As the event was just a single day, it was impossible to cover all of the aspects of the new operating system; however, the various speakers were able to focus on some of the key features and perform a number of demonstrations to show these and highlight the main benefits. Although there were a few technical mishaps (not uncommon in a demo of a new product), the presentations were generally smooth, slick and illustrated the specific feature very well.
What was clear from the various demos was that the new OS is aimed very squarely at providing major improvements in the way that IT staff will work in the future. PowerShell featured quite significantly and it’s clear that this is something that all system administrators must get to grips with if they haven’t done so already. I was also very impressed with the facility to add and remove the server GUI which will significantly reduce the potential attack vectors and make a system more secure.
Iimprovements in the virtualisation processes were also featured; the audience were clearly very impressed with the enhancements as these will make it much easier and quicker to scale resources up or down to meet changes in demand as required. There were a number of other items of interest; issues with cloning servers running key services have now been addressed to make the process easier. The overall administration of Virtual Machines also appears now to be a lot smoother than before.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure was highlighted and they were able to show just how simple it can be to rapidly provision sessions and roll them out to end users without them even having to be on site; possibly even using equipment from outside of the domain. There are some enhancements to the Remote Desktop feature which will provide an improved end user experience that means those that have previously found this to be unsuitable should seriously consider it again.
It was also clear that the new OS is designed very specifically to provide cloud based capabilities, public and private. Many of the features are clearly designed for those larger companies that need the flexibility across a large landscape. However, even small enterprises could make use of these and the savings in time, resources and money will make this something that has to be considered by everyone.
As always at Microsoft events, there were some rather interesting freebies; but on this occasion, they were also giving away some HP Micro Servers that have previously been featured in a TechNet competition. These devices are suitable for testing out the full capabilities of the new OS and 30 lucky people now have the means to try this out for themselves. Although I wasn’t one of those fortunate few, I’m sufficiently impressed with the new OS that I will be looking around to find some suitable hardware that will allow me to start my own investigations.
The Microsoft Marketing materials insists that Windows Server 2012 is “game changing”; this might be seen as a bit of hyperbole, but it’s obvious that the new OS does have some really strong features and some significant enhancements to the way that it works. The general reaction from those present was that Windows Server 2012 really does seem to be a major step forward. It’s clear that it is a really robust and powerful product and everyone currently managing Windows Servers should be thinking about when, not if, they will be moving to the latest Server suite from Microsoft.
You can also read about the Windows Server 2012 launch event from a Microsoft Partner perspective here: http://blog.thefullcircle.com/2012/09/winsrv2012-techlaunch/
The Presentation Slides from the launch event are now available and can be found here: