Microsoft releases previews of System Center 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2014

Earlier this morning, we reported that Microsoft had released the first public preview of Windows Server 2012 R2. That's not all the company launched for IT pros. Microsoft has also released the first public previews of System Center 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2014.

The preview versions can be downloaded from Microsoft's website. In a blog post, Brad Anderson, the Corporate Vice President of Windows Server and System Center at Microsoft, stated, "These products are going to have a massive impact on companies around the world – and IT pros are going to see the traditional boundaries between datacenters vanish and a true hybrid cloud emerge."

In particular, Sanderson said that SQL Server 2014 has a number of new features including "new hybrid scenarios like AlwaysOn availability, cloud backup and disaster recovery." System Center 2012 R2 will combine with the upcoming new version of Windows Intune to help IT workers manage all devices in a business.

Anderson also posted up a slide from his TechEd Europe keynote speech which shows how Windows Server 2012 R2,  System Center 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014, Windows Azure and more work together to help IT employees create what Microsoft calls the Cloud OS. He adds:

The Microsoft Cloud OS challenges other cloud providers to justify their high costs, time consuming upkeep and expensive maintenance fees. When you consider that Microsoft alone can provide platform, management and productivity tools – it’s a very exciting proposition for companies around the world.

These releases are leading up to the official public preview launch of Windows 8.1 for Windows 8 and RT that will be released on Wednesday.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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Way too fast with these releases. I understand accelerated release cycle for consumer products but their server division? We haven't even been able to migrate to Windows Server 2012 and they're already pushing R2 out. We just settled on VS2012 and there's 2013 already coming out. Same thing with SQL Server 2014 (which should've been called 2012 R2 - not that many new features - they didn't even update the Shell - still based on Visual Studio 2010). Don't really know what to say about it all but can't think of too many positives things to say. I'm a sucker for trying new stuff out but when it comes to running large applications and infrastructures (not everyone wants/needs Azure) I can't think of a single person I've ever met in my career who would enjoy yearly releases for their server tools. They could've given us yearly Service Packs/Feature Packs and we would've been much happier...

Is there a list of whats new/fixed in SC 2012 R2? We aren't far from migrating from 2008 to 2012 so would be good to know.

MrHumpty said,
Seriously. An SP would have been warranted.

There are 3 big updates; 2 of which have already been finalized for while now and a 3rd which will be final soon. While they're not Service Packs in the traditional sense of the word, they are just as big as one would be, in terms of new features and updates.

SharpGreen said,

There are 3 big updates; 2 of which have already been finalized for while now and a 3rd which will be final soon. While they're not Service Packs in the traditional sense of the word, they are just as big as one would be, in terms of new features and updates.
Requiring one to buy a new VS just because a new Windows SDK shows up is a bit off. I'm all for rapid release of the OS but not at the expense of VS updates.

MrHumpty said,
Requiring one to buy a new VS just because a new Windows SDK shows up is a bit off. I'm all for rapid release of the OS but not at the expense of VS updates.

I don't disagree it is kind of dumb, though it makes no difference to me because I don't have to pay for new versions of VS

SharpGreen said,

I don't disagree it is kind of dumb, though it makes no difference to me because I don't have to pay for new versions of VS
If your company pays it is reducing the amount of capital it can use to pay your more, offer you more add-ons, etc.

MrHumpty said,
If your company pays it is reducing the amount of capital it can use to pay your more, offer you more add-ons, etc.

I'm not actually employed. I get VS upgrades from MS's "free software for students" program called Dreamspark. In this instance the only one it really effects is MS, because that's one less overpriced VS license they can't sell.

Plus a lot places have corporate MSDN or Technet subs which would still mean not paying for every VS upgrade directly.

Though I totally get what you're saying though, and as I said before I totally agree.

Any chance of benchmarking to know what it's capable of compared to previous versions? We're running 2008 right now and there's a lot of hoopla about the OLTP engine in 2014. I don't seem to be able to find anyone who's run actual comparisons with the same data set. Just a lot of vague marketing about massive performance boosts.

I'm not using it for huge databases, only small development databases of around 500 MB at most. Not really worthy of performance benchmarking I think.