Greater flexibility and agility with Windows Server 2012 R2 -
Windows Server 2012 R2 provides enterprise-class data center and hybrid cloud solutions that are simple to deploy, cost-effective, application-focused, and user-centric. At the heart of the Microsoft Cloud OS vision, Windows Server 2012 R2 brings Microsoft’s experience delivering global-scale cloud services into your infrastructure with new features and enhancements in virtualization, management, storage, networking, virtual desktop infrastructure, access and information protection, the web and application platform, and more.
Top 10 Features of Windows Server 2012 R2:
- Gen2 VMs - Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 R2 supports the concept of new architecture based on modern hardware with no emulated devices. This makes it possible to add a number of new features, such as secure boot for VMs and booting off of virtual SCSI or virtual network adapters.
- VM Direct Connect - Windows Server 2012 R2 and Hyper-V with the addition of VM Direct Connect allows a direct remote desktop connection to any running VM ("VM bus") and it's integrated into the Hyper-V management experience.
- Extend replication to a third site - Hyper-V Replica in Windows Server 2012 is currently limited to a single replication target. This makes it difficult to support scenarios like a service provider wanting to act both as a target for a customer to replicate and a source to replicate to another offsite facility. Windows Server 2012 R2 and Hyper-V now provide a tertiary replication capability to support just such a scenario.
- Replica frequency options - Two new options added to support more frequent (30 seconds) and not so frequent (15 minutes) replication, including an intermittent connection. By default, Hyper-V Replica will look for 12 missed cycles before it switches into a failed state.
- Compression for faster migration - Two new options in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V help improve the performance of live migrations. The first is the ability to enable compression on the data to reduce the total number of bytes transmitted over the wire. The second option, SMB Direct, requires network adapters that support RDMA. Microsoft's advice: If you have 10Gb available, use RDMA (10x improvement); otherwise, use compression (2x improvement).
- Online VM exporting and cloning - It's now possible to export or clone a running VM from System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 with a few mouse clicks.
- Online VHDX resizing - You can now expand but reduce the size of the virtual disk (VHDX format only) without stopping the running VM.
- Storage QoS - Limit individual VMs to a specific level of I/O throughput. If you have applications capable of consuming large amounts of I/O, you'll want to consider this setting to ensure that a single I/O-hungry VM won't starve neighbor VMs or take down the entire host.
- Dynamic Memory support for Linux - Microsoft continues to improve support for Linux VMs. In the Windows Server 2012 R2 release, Hyper-V gains the ability to dynamically expand the amount of memory available to a running VM.
- Shared VHDX - With Windows Server R2 Hyper-V, Windows guest clusters no longer require an iSCSI or Fibre Channel SAN, but can be configured using commodity storage: namely a shared VHDX file stored on a Cluster Shared Volume.