The final version of Windows Server 2012 is now available for download to all MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Windows Server 2012 brings a host of new and exciting features to the server Operating System. Microsoft’s Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Resilient File System (ReFS) have been included in the final version of Windows Server 2012. Although ReFS has been designed from the grounds up, it does not have the capability to boot the system or to be used on removable media. So ReFS is only for storage devices. The storage devices will perform better with ReFS.
Windows Server 2012 comes with a goal of providing a cloud based infrastructure to the network. Now you can build the clouds with cloud computing introduced in this version of Windows Server. Technically Windows Server 2012 runs on the same Windows NT 6.2 kernel as Windows 8 does. If you want to know about each and every feature of Windows Server 2012, you can go to Windows Server launch website where you’ll find videos about each feature.
Windows Server 2012 SKUs, Editions and Versions
Unlike Windows Server 2008 which had about 8 SKUs and different editions, Microsoft has made it simple to choose with Windows Server 2012. Windows Server 2012 comes with only two major Editions:
- Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
- Windows Server 2012 Standard
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter has the full Windows Server functionality with unlimited virtual instances. It has a price tag of $4800+. It is suitable for highly virtualized private and hybrid cloud environments.
Windows Server 2012 Standard also has the full Windows Server functionality with two virtual instances. It can be bought at $882. It is suitable for low density non-virtualized environments.
Besides these two editions, there are two minor editions too:
- Windows Server 2012 Essentials
- Windows Server 2012 Foundation
Windows Server 2012 Essentials is for small business environments and has a 25 user account limit. So it should only be used in environments where not more than 25 connections to the server are needed. It costs around $500.
Windows Server 2012 Foundation is a general purpose server Operating System with no virtualization support and has a 15 user account limit. It is an OEM only build so you won’t be able to buy it separately.
Learning And Testing Windows Server 2012 Online With Virtual Labs
If you want to test drive Windows Server 2012 or get a hands on overview of the features of the Operating System, Microsoft has made it very easy for everyone to try Windows Server 2012. You can try Windows Server 2012 online without installing anything on your system. Just go to this Microsoft virtual labs page and click on any link you’re interested in.
You will need to open the virtual labs in Internet Explorer otherwise they’ll not open. Just follow the instructions and you’ll get a full hands on lab of Windows Server 2012 feature of your choice. The labs include the following:
Windows Server 2012 Certifications
It’s quite interesting that Microsoft has launched Windows Server 2012 certifications along with the final release of the Operating System. Get complete information about Windows Server 2012 certification here.
Download Windows Server 2012 Final
Windows Server 2012 has been released to MSDN and TechNet subscribers at the moment but if you want to evaluate it right now, you can download the trial versions from the below locations:
You will need to login with your Microsoft account in order to download from the last two links.
Windows Server 2012 Infographic
And at last I want to share an Infographic about Windows Server 2012 from Microsoft. Just click on the image to enlarge.
I hope I have covered a lot of things about Windows Server 2012. If I have missed anything, you can share it in the comments.