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Windows Server 2012R2 Preview: Improving a Surprise Standout

server 2012 hyper-v preview

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#1 PGHammer

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:37

Along with the preview for Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 has a refresh arriving (in fact, the preview is out now) - as has been the case with server-side refreshes, this one carries the R2 moniker.  The improvements start off with (surprisingly) Server Manager - you'll find yourself having to mount your Server install image far less (in most cases, not at all) to add features to a server. (even with the base Server 2012, I had to mount the ISO to install Hyper-V - however, this is no longer required as of R2; instead, it goes online and grabs what it needs). What have some of YOU found in this refresh of the standout that is Server 2012?




#2 +InsaneNutter

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 12:30

I've not had chance to play with the R2 preview yet or Windows 8.1, however from what i've read on the internet today a lot of very nice improvements appear to be present.

 

I quite like the right click on the new start button, easy access to all the important stuff without messing about in the start screen or chimes bar. For me personally that will make remote desktop sessions a whole lot more convenient! and general use of Windows 8 a lot more pleasant.

 

All in all i think it looks to be a great update for the more power orientated user. I always did think Windows 8 in particular required another years development and was rushed out. This appears to add a lot of the much required polish for both server and client versions of Windows  :)



#3 OP PGHammer

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 15:21

I've not had chance to play with the R2 preview yet or Windows 8.1, however from what i've read on the internet today a lot of very nice improvements appear to be present.

 

I quite like the right click on the new start button, easy access to all the important stuff without messing about in the start screen or chimes bar. For me personally that will make remote desktop sessions a whole lot more convenient! and general use of Windows 8 a lot more pleasant.

 

All in all i think it looks to be a great update for the more power orientated user. I always did think Windows 8 in particular required another years development and was rushed out. This appears to add a lot of the much required polish for both server and client versions of Windows  :)

I-N, the right-click option (QuickTask) was there in the base Windows 8 (it first showed up in the Consumer Preview) - in other words, except for pre-Preview builds, it's always been there.  I love it because it has quite a few options that Windows 7 flat-out lacked.  (Yes - it's present in Server 2012R2, just as it was in Server 2012.)  Back to the topic of Server 2012R2 - some items in Control Panel actually properly re-direct you to Server Manager, while other things you may do in Server Manager (such as removing certain features) also require a stop in Control Panel as well (such as removing Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services, which is NOT enough, unfortunately, to satisfy the prereqs of System Center 2012 OR 2012R2 (specifically, Operations Manager in 2012R2, or Configuration Manager in System Center 2012) - you must still install the full ActiveDirectory Domain Services on any server that will host either SCCM or SCOM.



#4 Roger H.

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 15:34

Still didn't get a chance to play with it yet but I will be today for sure.

 

EDIT - Fired up the VHD and it's running pretty sweet on 2GB of RAM and the default config it's set to.

 

Also the password for the VHD (just in case you can't locate it) is : R2Preview!

 

:p



#5 OP PGHammer

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 17:31

Still didn't get a chance to play with it yet but I will be today for sure.

 

EDIT - Fired up the VHD and it's running pretty sweet on 2GB of RAM and the default config it's set to.

 

Also the password for the VHD (just in case you can't locate it) is : R2Preview!

 

:p

The better performance is something I noticed with the original Server 2012 - R2 actually found a way to improve on it. I'm doing a complete rebuild of my virtualization test lab around the preview software (that is, after all, what the test lab is for) - Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, and SQL Server 2014 CTP1 for the database end.  System Center 2012 R2 has a major change - Configuration Manager and Operations Manager are now a single program (called Operations Manager) - Operations Manager is now properly the foundation of System Center.  (Amazingly, I've found it far less *fiddly* than either of the programs it replaced in System Center 2012.)  Why I'm mystified - this is the Preview of the Datacenter Edition.  (DE is, naturally, what Azure runs on.)  How can it thrive when basically *starved* of RAM?



#6 OP PGHammer

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 02:02

Okay - I have added the 2012 R2 VHD (something I likely SHOULD have done from the start, as it's bigger than my HDD I've been running it (or Server 2012, which it replaced) on) - and yes, I used EasyBCD Community Edition to add it to the boot menu. Despite it being a VHD, you have all the same options you would for a bare-metal install; I have a Windows 8.1 Preview VM running in the background right now. Unfortunately, there is no network connectivity; is this a Windows 8.,1 Preview (guest) failing, or a host failing?

 

EDIT - Turned out to be a PEBKAC error - I had not connected the VM to the virtual switch; I'm posting this from the VM.  (That is the major difference between Hyper-V and other virtual machine products - it does NOT connect you by default.  It's just as true in Windows 8/8.1 as it is with Windows Server, by the way.)


Edited by PGHammer, 02 July 2013 - 02:10.


#7 OP PGHammer

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 21:28

It's Day Four of running the Server 2012 R2 Preview - now I'm well into adding the Microsoft Online Services to the mix. I started with Windows Intune (which anyone else should start with as well - there are some updates that this will trigger that you will need down the road); this all kicks off with the Server Essentials feature installation. (This is a new standard feature across *all* versions of Windows Server, and is referred to on the Windows Server blog as well.) All of the Microsoft Online Services are addable and configurable from Server Essentials - including Office365 and Azure. Good news for server administrators - bad news for the competition - especially Amazon and VMware; they WISH they were this easy to install and configure.

#8 BeerFan

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 14:48

It's Day Four of running the Server 2012 R2 Preview - now I'm well into adding the Microsoft Online Services to the mix. I started with Windows Intune (which anyone else should start with as well - there are some updates that this will trigger that you will need down the road); this all kicks off with the Server Essentials feature installation. (This is a new standard feature across *all* versions of Windows Server, and is referred to on the Windows Server blog as well.) All of the Microsoft Online Services are addable and configurable from Server Essentials - including Office365 and Azure. Good news for server administrators - bad news for the competition - especially Amazon and VMware; they WISH they were this easy to install and configure.

 

I'm not sure I follow that last bit... How is Amazon a competitor of Windows Server?  I can make the stretch and assume that with VMWare, you're really making a comparison to Hyper-V (which I use daily and realy like).



#9 OP PGHammer

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 07:31

I'm not sure I follow that last bit... How is Amazon a competitor of Windows Server?  I can make the stretch and assume that with VMWare, you're really making a comparison to Hyper-V (which I use daily and realy like).

 

I am referring to Amazon Cloud Services - specifically EC2 - vs. Azure. I compared Hyper-V to vmWare and even Oracle VirtualBox in my own (completely separate) Hyper-V-centered post in another thread; therefore, I didn't repeat myself in this thread.  That you can add Microsoft Cloud Services as easily as you can add/configure in-house services is a relief for businesses of any size - and especially midsize businesses, more so than enterprises or even small business.  I'm NOT saying that small businesses or enterprises won't benefit - that would be not merely silly, but absolutely wrong!  But the benefits are there outside of enterprises as well -something that has NOT exactly been easy to convince anyone of.



#10 The_Observer

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 08:23

We just deployed 4 Server2012 server and then found out about R2, not happy. Lesson we learnt DONT install untill SP1 or R2.



#11 OP PGHammer

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 12:09

We just deployed 4 Server2012 server and then found out about R2, not happy. Lesson we learnt DONT install untill SP1 or R2.

 

Two words - quibble territory.  R2 will be a free update from the immediately previous version (it was the case with Server 2003 and 2008 - the other versions of Windows Server to follow with an R2 version) because it is basically an overgrown service pack for Windows Server 2012.  The same will apply to System Center 2012 R2 and almost all of its components - the exception is SQL Server 2014 (non-Express).



#12 articuno1au

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 12:12

Oh awesome, that's not the news I had heard..