As a Technical Instructor with LRS Education Services, and having worked with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 for over a year, I am happy about the many new and enhanced components in Windows Server 2012 R2. Here are a few of my favorite new features:
1. Work Folders
Work Folders bring the functionality of Dropbox to corporate servers. Install this role on a Windows Server 2012 R2 system, and you get a fully functional, secure file replication service. The initial release will support only Windows 8.1 clients. Support for Windows 7, Windows 8, iOS-based devices, such as iPad and Android devices in the future. Like Dropbox, Work Folders will keep copies of files on both the server and the client, performing sync operations whenever the client establishes a connection with the server.
2. Storage Tiering
Tiered Storage Spaces enable you to use a combination of disks in a Storage Space, for example very fast, but small-capacity hard disks (such as solid state driver [SSDs]) alongside slower, but large-capacity hard disks. When you use this combination of disks, Storage Spaces automatically moves frequently-accessed data to the faster hard disks and moves less frequently-accessed data to the slower disks. By default, Storage Spaces moves data once day at 01:00 A.M. You can also configure where files are stored. The advantage is that if you have files that are frequently accessed, you can pin them to the faster disk. The goal of tiering is to balance capacity against performance. Windows Server 2012 R2 recognizes only two levels of disk tiers, SSD and non-SSD.
3. Workplace Join
Windows Server 2012 R2 addresses the need to incorporate personal devices like iPads into the enterprise environment. At the simplest level is a new Web Application Proxy that allows you to provide secure access to internal corporate websites, including SharePoint sites, to any authorized user. One step further is a new capability called Workplace Join, which allows users to register personal devices with Active Directory and gain certificate-based authentication and single sign-on to enterprise applications and data. Standard tools like Group Policy apply here for controlling conditional access on either an individual or group basis.
These, and many more topics, are covered in our Microsoft Official Windows Server 2012 R2 courses:
I look forward to seeing you in one of our upcoming classes.