With Microsoft pushing out the Release Preview of their new Windows 8 operating system today, the launch has been followed closely by the release of the server edition of the new OS. Formerly codenamed Windows Server 8 but now officially known as Windows Server 2012, Microsoft have captured the excitement surrounding the aforementioned Release Preview to make the release candidate of Windows Server 2012 available.
The latest edition of their server OS acts as the next step up from Windows Server 2008 R2 and includes a number of notable upgrades and redesigns over its predecessor. The server manager user-interface has been totally redesigned to make it substantially easier to manage multiple servers and also features the very popular Metro-style UI that has proven so popular in Windows 8.
According to the official release notes over at TechNet, Microsoft’s latest server software offers the following benefits to businesses and hosting providers:
Windows Server 2012, will offer businesses and hosting providers a scalable, dynamic, and multitenant-aware, cloud-optimized infrastructure. It securely connects across premises and helps IT Professionals to respond to business needs faster and more efficiently.
Windows Server 2012 aims to help IT professionals move beyond virtualization with support for larger workloads, providing more secure multi-tenancy, and a flexible infrastructure when and where it is needed. The networking technologies that were introduced to users with Windows Server 2008 R2 are built upon and expanded with this latest version of Redmond’s sever OS by adding tools that automates and consolidates networking processes and resources, as well as easily connecting private clouds with public cloud services.
By using Active Directory Rights Management Services and Dynamic Access Control, Server 2012 can help to manage and protect data access by providing a holistic data classification and protection system. Microsoft have also taken the decision to include their new Resilient File System in Windows Server 2012 that dramatically improves on NTFS with improved reliability for on-disk structures, as well as providing built-in resiliency and extensive compatibility with existing APIs and technologies.
The download of Windows Server 2012 comes in the form of a 64-bit ISO and VHD variants with the usual support for multiple languages; Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish with the VHD version being available in English only. It is worth remembering that with all pre-release software that it should be downloaded and installed with caution as it is likely that some small bugs may still exist.
You can grab the official Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate through TechNet or MSDN.