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Editor's Note: Going from why to how

The reviews are showing that Windows Server 2012 is packed with praiseworthy features and functionality. It is now time to focus on how to upgrade.

By Mitch Irsfeld

Three months ago, with the launch of Windows Server 2012, we provided a TechNet feature package containing resources to help IT professionals get acquainted with the new platform and understand what we mean by an operating system built for the cloud. We talked about Windows Server as the cornerstone upon which IT is being transformed by new classes of devices, applications and services that play across traditional datacenters, service provider datacenters and the public cloud.

To refresh on that theme, check out Windows Server 2012: The New Era of IT. In that feature package, we also highlighted what has become a very popular free ebook, Introducing Windows Server 2012. It has since been updated to reflect changes since the release to manufacturing.

Now it’s time to provide a similar set of resources to help you plan for and deploy Windows Server 2012.

Since the launch, Windows Server 2012 has received very favorable reaction, including this Windows Server 2012 review from ZDNet, in which author Simon Bisson concludes, “It's not often that we describe a server operating system as a must-have upgrade, but if ever there was one, this is it.” One of the stated reasons for this claim was the ease of upgrading and the fact that deploying and provisioning services, even in traditional datacenters, also becomes much easier.

Starting with installation and deployment, the TechNet Library contains several new and updated articles under the heading Install and Deploy Windows Server 2012, including the release notes and installation options.

When it comes to basic server management and automation, Windows Server 2012 delivers capabilities to manage many servers and the devices connecting them, whether they are physical or virtual, on-premises or off. With tools like Server Manager for managing multiple servers through a single console, and Windows Powershell 3.0 to automate management tasks, you’ll have better visibility of your server environments and greater flexibility in how you deploy your management resources. The Windows PowerShell User’s Guide is a great resource to learn the basics for using this scripting environment to automate administrative tasks.

Another basic server function is creating storage spaces. Learn how to deploy Storage Spaces on a stand-alone server with Windows Server 2012. Note that you can also use Windows PowerShell to set additional parameters. You can also deploy clustered storage spaces by using Storage Spaces together with the Failover Clustering feature in Windows Server 2012.

Speaking of storage, “thin provisioning,” the ability to provide additional capacity as needed, is enabled by default in Windows Server 2012. Use the TechNet Library topic Plan and Deploy Thin Provisioning to determine if thin provisioning is appropriate for your environment and if you can accurately forecast disk capacity needs and respond to issues.

The ability to create and manage a virtualized environment is one of the key roles for Windows Server 2012 and the Hyper-V Overview walks through the most significant new or updated functionality. Using the Hyper-V role to create a virtualized computing environment, you can actually improve the efficiency of your computing resources and improve server availability without using as many physical computers as you would need in a failover cluster configuration that uses only physical computers. For the steps on how to configure and deploy a Hyper-V virtual machine, check out Deploy a Highly Available Virtual Machine.

Moving Hyper-V virtual machines from the primary host to another Hyper-V host at another site also became easier with Hyper-V Replica. Learn the steps to setting up Hyper-V Replica and responding to failover activities with the TechNet Library article, Deploy Hyper-V Replica.

As always, there is no substitute for running Windows Server 2012 in your own test environment and Windows Server 2012 evaluation software is available in Standard and Datacenter editions for a 180-day free trial.

Thanks for reading,

Mitch

Nina Ruchirat
Mitch Irsfeld, Editor of TechNet, is a veteran computer industry journalist and content developer who managed editorial staffs at several leading publications, includingInformationWeek, InternetWeek and CommunicationsWeek. He is also an editor for TechNet Magazine and managing editor of the TechNet Flash newsletter.