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New Features in Windows Server 2012

User interface

Server Manager has been redesigned with an emphasis on easing management of multiple servers.The operating system, like Windows 8, uses the Metro UI unless installed in Server Core mode.Windows PowerShell in this version has over 2300 commandlets, compared with around 200 in Windows Server 2008 R2.There is also command auto-completion.

Task Manager

Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 include a new version of Windows Task Manager together with the old version. In the new version, the tabs are hidden by default, showing applications. In the new Processes tab, the processes are displayed in various shades of yellow, with darker shades representing heavier resource use. It lists application names, application status, and overall utilization data for CPU, memory, hard disk, and network resources, moving the process information found in the older Task Manager to the new Details tab. The Performance tab is split into CPU, memory (RAM), disk, ethernet, and, if applicable, wireless network sections with graphs for each. The CPU tab no longer displays individual graphs for every logical processor on the system by default; instead, it can display data for each NUMA node. When displaying data for each logical processor for machines with more than 64 logical processors, the CPU tab now displays simple utilization percentages on heat-mapping tiles. The color used for these heat maps is blue, with darker shades again indicating heavier utilization. Hovering the cursor over any logical processor's data now shows the NUMA node of that processor and its ID, if applicable. Additionally, a new Startup tab has been added that lists startup applications.The new task manager recognizes when a WinRT application has the "Suspended" status.

Installation options

Unlike its predecessor, Windows Server 2012 can switch between Server Core and the GUI (full) installation options without a full reinstallation. There is also a new third installation option that allows MMC and Server Manager to run, but without Windows Explorer or the other parts of the normal GUI shell.

IP address management (IPAM)

Windows Server 2012 has an IPAM role for discovering, monitoring, auditing, and managing the IP address space used on a corporate network. IPAM provides for administration and monitoring of servers running Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Domain Name Service (DNS). IPAM includes components for:

  • Automatic IP address infrastructure discovery: IPAM discovers domain controllers, DHCP servers, and DNS servers in the domains you choose. You can enable or disable management of these servers by IPAM.
  • Custom IP address space display, reporting, and management: The display of IP addresses is highly customizable and detailed tracking and utilization data is available. IPv4 and IPv6 address space is organized into IP address blocks, IP address ranges, and individual IP addresses. IP addresses are assigned built-in or user-defined fields that can be used to further organize IP address space into hierarchical, logical groups.
  • Audit of server configuration changes and tracking of IP address usage: Operational events are displayed for the IPAM server and managed DHCP servers. IPAM also enables IP address tracking using DHCP lease events and user logon events collected from Network Policy Server (NPS), domain controllers, and DHCP servers. Tracking is available by IP address, client ID, host name, or user name.
  • Monitoring and management of DHCP and DNS services: IPAM enables automated service availability monitoring for Microsoft DHCP and DNS servers across the forest. DNS zone health is displayed, and detailed DHCP server and scope management is available using the IPAM console.

Both IPv4 and IPv6 are fully supported. 

Active Directory

Windows Server 2012 has a number of changes to Active Directory from the version shipped with Windows Server 2008 R2. The Active Directory Domain Services installation wizard has been replaced by a new section in Server Manager, and the Active Directory Administrative Center has been enhanced. A GUI has been added to the Active Directory Recycle Bin. Password policies can differ more easily within the same domain. Active Directory in Windows Server 2012 is now aware of any changes resulting from virtualization, and virtualized domain controllers can be safely cloned. Upgrades of the domain functional level to Windows Server 2012 are simplified; it can be performed entirely in Server Manager. Active Directory Federation Services is no longer required to be downloaded when installed as a role, and claims which can be used by the Active Directory Federation Services have been introduced into the Kerberos token. Windows Powershell commands used by Active Directory Administrative Center can be viewed in a "Powershell History Viewer".

Hyper-V

Windows Server 2012, along with Windows 8, will include a new version of Hyper-V,as presented at the Microsoft Build Event Many new features have been added to Hyper-V, including network virtualization, multi-tenancy, storage resource pools, cross-premise connectivity, and cloud backup. Additionally, many of the former restrictions on resource consumption have been greatly lifted. Each virtual machine in this version of Hyper-V can access up to 32 virtual processors, up to 512 gigabytes of random-access memory, and up to 16 terabytes of virtual disk space per virtual hard disk (using a new .vhdx format). Up to 1024 virtual machines can be active per host, and up to 4000 can be active per failover cluster. The version of Hyper-V shipped with the client version of Windows 8 requires a processor that supports SLAT and for SLAT to be turned on, while the version in Windows Server 2012 only requires it if the RemoteFX role is installed.

ReFS

ReFS (Resilient File System, originally codenamed "Protogon") is a new file system initially intended for file servers that improves on NTFS in Windows Server 2012. Major new features of ReFS include:

Improved reliability for on-disk structures
ReFS uses B+ trees for all on-disk structures including metadata and file data. The file size, total volume size, number of files in a directory and number of directories in a volume are limited by 64-bit numbers, which translates to maximum file size of 16 Exbibytes, maximum volume size of 1 Yobibyte (with 64 KB clusters), which allows large scalability with no practical limits on file and directory size (hardware restrictions still apply). Metadata and file data are organized into tables similar to relational database. Free space is counted by a hierarchal allocator which includes three separate tables for large, medium, and small chunks. File names and file paths are each limited to a 32 KB Unicode text string.
Built-in resiliency
ReFS employs an allocation-on-write update strategy for metadata, which allocates new chunks for every update transaction and uses large IO batches. All ReFS metadata has built-in 64-bit checksums which are stored independently. The file data can have an optional checksum in a separate "integrity stream", in which case the file update strategy also implements allocation-on-write; this is controlled by a new "integrity" attribute applicable to both files and directories. If nevertheless file data or metadata becomes corrupt, the file can be deleted without taking down the whole volume offline for maintenance, then restored from the backup. As a result of built-in resiliency, administrators do not need to periodically run error-checking tools such as CHKDSKwhen using ReFS.
Compatibility with existing APIs and technologies
ReFS does not require new system APIs and most file system filters continue to work with ReFS volumes. ReFS supports many existing Windows and NTFS features such as BitLockerencryption, Access Control Lists, USN Journal, change notifications, symbolic links, junction points, mount points, reparse points, volume snapshots, file IDs, and oplock. ReFS seamlessly[citation needed] integrates with Storage Spaces, a storage virtualization layer that allows data mirroring and striping, as well as sharing storage pools between machines.ReFS resiliency features enhance the mirroring feature provided by Storage Spaces and can detect whether any mirrored copies of files become corrupt using background data scrubbing process, which periodically reads all mirror copies and verifies their checksums then replaces bad copies with good ones.

Some NTFS features are not supported in ReFS, including named streams, object IDs, short names, file compression, file level encryption (EFS), user data transactions, sparse files, hard links,extended attributes, and disk quotas.ReFS does not itself offer data deduplication. Dynamic disks with mirrored or striped volumes are replaced with mirrored or striped storage pools provided by Storage Spaces. However, in Windows Server 2012, automated error-correction is only supported on mirrored spaces, and booting from ReFS is not supported either.

ReFS was first shown in screenshots from leaked build 6.2.7955, where it went by code name "Protogon".Support for ReFS is absent in the developer preview (build 8102). ReFS is not readable by Windows 7 or earlier.

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