Even with cloud services running some portion of your operations, most of you will run virtual servers with VMware, Citrix or Hyper-V along with Windows Server for the near future. All those applications you can’t put in the cloud have to live somewhere and for now, a file server or server farm is your best answer. We think that Windows Server 2008 R2 is a fine, stable product and a great choice.
Later this year, Microsoft intends to provide a new Windows Server platform, currently called Windows Server 2012. Key things to watch for include improved directory, memory, disk management and virtualization management. For example, there will be increased Virtual machine capacity as virtual disks quadruple to 64TB and main server memory goes from 512MB to 1TB, and a new file system. The new file system, ReFS (Resilient File System), will be introduced with Windows Server 2012. The code name was Protogon, and it originally appeared in Windows Clients. ReFS will begin life as a storage system for Windows Server only. Then — some time post Windows Server 2012 — it will become a storage system for Windows clients, and then ultimately “as a boot volume,” – http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-goes-public-with-plans-for-its-new-windows-8-file-system/11666?tag=nl.e539. NTFS support will be discontinued for specifically named streams, object IDs, short names, compression, file level encryption (EFS), user data transactions, sparse, hard-links, extended attributes, and quotas. ReFS will be used with Storage Spaces and there will be a new architecture for the Master File Table (MFT).
Author Kurt Mackie provided a summary of 10 Key Takeaways on the Windows Server 8 Beta in the April 2012 Redmond Channel Partner magazine. 1) Server Manager Dashboard (Metro design), 2) Windows Server Core, 3) Windows PowerShell GUI including start snippets, 4) Windows PowerShell WebAccess (gateway to connect to PowerShell), 5) Storage Pool as a local virtual disk for SMB or NFS shares, 6) Increased Virtual Machine Memory Capacity, 7) Offline File Caching to set sync periods, 8) SMB Directory Leasing to give more control on BranchCache, 9) Self-Updating cluster, and 10) Hyper-V Replica Improvements including a trust zone to authorize Client access to a replica server.
The beta was released on February 29, with release expected later this year or early 2013. With a name like 2012, don’t be surprised to see shipments in October.