Small businesses and their IT departments looking to take advantage of Microsoft’s latest server operating system now have an option to try out.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials is now generally available, Jeffrey Snover wrote in a blog post on Microsoft’s Windows Server blog.
The Essentials product is a stripped-down version of the feature-rich, “kitchen sink” Windows Server 2012, which became generally available in September.
Essentials boasts a simpler set up process while maintaining low costs. It also brings over many of the same features from the Datacenter version. This includes data protection and backup, client computer health monitoring and simple VPN setup.
It supports up to 25 users and 50 devices and is primarily positioned as an on-premises option for companies.
A trial version is available from Microsoft for 180 days.
In this monthly feature, we round up the most popular content of the previous month and share it with you.
For October, our most popular pieces involved this year’s best ways to manage Windows Server, features in Windows Server 2012 and a busy Patch Tuesday.
Here are last month’s most popular stories on SearchWindowsServer.com.
October’s Patch Tuesday: vulnerabilities in Word and Kerberos, rereleases
Last month’s Patch Tuesday was a busy one with seven bulletins and cumulative updates for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. Although there was only one critical patch, vulnerabilities in Kerberos and Word caused concern. A certificate authentication error meant patches from August had to be rereleased.
Our five best tips for managing Windows Server
We put together this year’s five most popular tips for Windows Server management. Features in PowerShell, ReFS, IIS 8 and Remote Desktop Gateway are highlighted.
Clustering improvements in Windows Server 2012 ease administration
Up until Windows Server 2012, clustering had specific limitations and dependencies. In the latest version of Windows Server, these changes offer admins more flexibility and include read-only domain controller support, a lack of complicated scripts and no more Active Directory dependency to boot.
Windows Server 2012 and scale-out file servers
Continuous availability is the name of the game with Windows Server 2012. This tip tells admins the best way to set up scale-out file servers and make zero downtime a reality.
Make sure hardware is compatible when upgrading to Windows Server 2012
Before making the jump to Windows Server 2012, it’s important for admins to ensure hardware will still be compatible after the upgrade. Our expert offers admins some suggestions about what to look for.
What content of ours helped you in October? Let us know in the comments on this post, or on Twitter @SearchWinServ.
Microsoft’s big data products inched closer to a public release today, as the company released refreshed previews of Hadoop products.
They also gained new names: Windows Azure HDInsight Service and HDInsight Server for Windows.
The products will help admins manage unstructured data “of any shape or size,” according to Microsoft’s big data page, where the HDInsight products are available for evaluation.
The feature list includes access privileges managed with Active Directory and the ability to manage HDInsight clusters with System Center 2012.
Late last year, Microsoft said it partnered with Hortonworks to deliver big data frameworks for the cloud and on-premises versions of its software.
Still up in the air: the official version 1 launch date of the HDInsight, as the company is keeping quiet on its release date.
By Stuart J. Johnston, Senior News Writer
It’s not as though it wasn’t already apparent, but Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has made it official: Microsoft’s future lies beyond Windows in the realms of devices and services.
That was the message Tuesday when Ballmer published his annual letter to shareholders, customers, partners, and employees in the run up to the company’s annual meeting at the end of the month.
“It’s important to recognize a fundamental shift underway in our business and the areas of technology that we believe will drive the greatest opportunity in the future,” Ballmer said. “This is a significant shift, both in what we do and how we see ourselves — as a devices and services company.”
The soon-to-be-released Surface tablets as well as cloud computing spring to mind when devices and services are mentioned, of course. The question is how will this shift play over time with the letter’s constituencies?
To those who question the wisdom of seemingly changing businesses — even business models — in mid-flight, Ballmer had some answers. Microsoft isn’t in the device business? Take a look at Xbox and Kinect, and don’t forget mice and keyboards. He didn’t mention the KIN phone disaster, but it’s hard to argue that the Xbox hasn’t helped bring computing and connectivity into the family room.
What’s so notable is that the company has so much at stake in this shift, and yet has the conviction that without moving in such new directions the company may not survive — like The Innovator’s Dilemma. The world is changing by the millisecond and unless the company tears down its own foundation and rebuilds itself, faster competitors will eventually eclipse its dominance.
Here’s the $74 billion question: Can Microsoft’s corporate culture make the switch, along with changing the whole product orientation, and do it in a manner so as to not tear the company apart in the process?
Besides devices, Ballmer is betting that cloud services — for both businesses and consumers — will produce larger, more stable revenue streams over time, and change the way users compute, although the company hasn’t reported any figures for its cloud offerings so far.
Microsoft implies that these new business models will not compete with partners or shatter the well-developed third-party ecosystem. Of course, given the letter’s audience, Ballmer is aggressively optimistic.
Like campaign promises, however, there are a lot of holes to fall into, not the least of which is Windows 8, which some observers criticize as trying to be all things to all users. A failure in Windows sales could unravel two and a half decades of work, as could sluggish sales of cloud services.
With the launch of Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and the Surface, Ballmer is taking perhaps the biggest bet-the-farm move the company has ever made.
“Apple has proven that hardware and software must go together in this new world … and you have this whole services thing happening,” said one source close to the company. “[this] implies we are abandoning the old stuff. Legacy is a bad word,” the source said.
By Stuart J. Johnston, Senior News Writer
Microsoft this week began beta testing a set of cloud features designed to give Windows Server 2012 customers the ability to provide Windows Azure services to users. The additions for Azure, first announced last spring, will enable hosting providers and on-premises users to offer cloud capabilities similar to Microsoft’s own Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering, although initial releases are targeted towards hosting partners.
It’s all part of a larger plan that Microsoft has dubbed Cloud OS — an umbrella concept to let customers run cloud applications on Windows Server 2012 on-premises, in third-party hosting centers or in Microsoft’s own data centers.
“As datacenter computing continues to evolve, customers should ultimately have full flexibility to decide where their data center resources are deployed (in their data center, a service provider’s data center, or Microsoft’s data center) and not have to worry about increased management burden or costs,” said Chris Van Wesep, senior product manager, in a post on Monday to Microsoft’s Server & Cloud Blog.
The company first announced the updates to Azure in early June and shipped community technology previews (CTP) of the Windows Server 2012 features at its Worldwide Partner Conference in July. Windows Server 2012 began shipping in early September.
“We’re now moving in the final phase of testing and bug fixes to make sure these technologies will be fully released along with the System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, which is scheduled for early 2013,” Van Wesep said.
What do you think of this news? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials was released to manufacturing and will be generally available in less than a month, Microsoft said Tuesday.
Sinead O’Donovan, director of program management for Windows Server Essentials, said Essentials will be generally available beginning Thursday, Nov. 1. O’Donovan added that OEM partners will ship server systems carrying Windows Server 2012 Essentials by the end of this year.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials, a cloud and on-site server hybrid, is meant to replace Small Business Server and Home Business Server. A trial version of Essentials is available for download beginning today.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials will cost $425 and has a 25-users limit. Essentials is one of four editions of Windows Server 2012, alongside Datacenter, Standard and Foundation.
Microsoft altered pricing and reduced the number of editions from seven to four, which made some IT shops prepare for a potential cost increase.
What do you think about the Essentials RTM news? Let us know in the comments on this post, or on Twitter @SearchWinServ.
Halloween entails kids trick-or-treating for candy, but administrators will get some treats from Microsoft in this month’s Patch Tuesday to avoid potentially harmful tricks.
According to an advance security bulletin released this week, October’s Patch Tuesday includes seven bulletins to address vulnerabilities. Admins running Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 have two important bulletins to watch out for. Those bulletins also affect Windows client versions.
The other four bulletins are marked at “important” for elevation of privilege, remote code execution and denial of service vulnerabilities. Other affected software in these bulletins include SharePoint, Lync and SQL Server.
The lone “critical” bulletin of the month addresses remote code execution vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office. The patches in the bulletin are for Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 and SP3, as well as Microsoft Office 2010 SP1.
Internet Explorer is a notable absence for the second month in a row; the company released a fix last month for security problems that plagued the browser.
This month’s Patch Tuesday is a significant increase from September, which had the lowest bulletin count of the year.
What do you think of this month’s patches? Let us know in the comments on this post, or on Twitter @SearchWinServ.
After ten months of silence, the public finally has a glimpse of what Microsoft has been up to with Hadoop.
Hadoop for Windows Server is in the private preview stage, Mary Jo Foley reported. It originated in a Sept. 21 presentation given by Denny Lee, the technical principal program manager for SQL Business Intelligence.
According to Lee’s slides, Hadoop for Windows Server will include remote-desktop support and an interactive management console. Hadoop on Azure, which is still in preview, will include elasticity and simplified deployment and management.
Lee’s presentation also indicated that there are other components in the works, including Excel Hive Add-in, Sqoop, Apache Pig, Hive ODBC and more, Foley said.
Hadoop is a Java-based framework that supports large data set processing in a distributing computing environment. Last fall, Microsoft said it would implement Hadoop for Windows Azure and Windows Server with Hortonworks as its partner.
The last update about the project came in December, when Microsoft set the Hadoop for Azure general availability for March of this year and Hadoop for Windows Server date for June.
What do you think of the latest news about Microsoft and Hadoop? Let us know in the comments on this post, or on Twitter @SearchWinServ.
In our new feature, we’ll round up the most popular content of the previous month and share it with you.
For September, our most popular pieces had to do with (surprise!) the Sept. 4 general release of Windows Server 2012.
Here are last month’s most popular pieces.
Windows Server 2012: questions answered
In this FAQ, we answer the most pressing questions you have about the newest version of Windows Server, including new features, what versions are available and deciding when to upgrade. See also our review of Windows Server 2012.
Taking a look at Microsoft Online Backup Service
Our expert breaks down the integrated cloud backup service in Windows Server 2012 with the advantages and disadvantages you need to consider before adopting it.
What’s changed with DCPromo?
In this tip, you’ll get a look into what’s changed since DCPromo’s first appearance in Windows Server 2000, including Install From Media, mass DC deployments and manual DC demotion.
System Center 2012 SP1 lets IT manage Windows Server 2012… eventually
This news story looks at the timing of the System Center 2012 SP1 beta release and how it has some IT pros frustrated.
Sorting out issues with remote PowerShell commands
When PowerShell commands start giving you a headache because they don’t run remotely like you want them to, this tip helps you figure out what’s causing the problem and how to fix it.
What content of ours helped you in September? Let us know in the comments on this post, or on Twitter @SearchWinServ.
We’ve heard it from plenty of IT pros in the last year: they like what they see in Windows Server 2012, but they’re just not ready to jump ship. If they needed another reason to stay within the confines of Windows Server 2008, today they got one more.
Microsoft extended the support end-date two years to Jan. 13, 2015 Mary Jo Foley reported this week. Until then, the product will continue to receive its regular Patch Tuesday fixes and other, non-security fixes.
From there, Windows Server 2008 will go into extended support, which ends Jan. 14, 2020, according to the product lifecycle page on Microsoft’s website. Windows Server 2008 R2 has the same support end-dates.
As Foley notes, this isn’t because Windows Server 2008 is so popular that Microsoft felt it needed to continue to support it (and, it isn’t yet widely used, according to our Purchasing Intentions survey last year). Rather, the launch of Windows Server 2012 kicks in a protocol that “provides a minimum of five years of Mainstream Support or two years of Mainstream Support after the successor product ships, whichever is longer.”
Does this change help you decide when you’ll make your Windows Server 2012 purchasing decision? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServ.