WIndows Server 2012
December 18, 2014
WIndows Server 2012
Score 9 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Windows Server
Windows Server 2012 is the backbone of the organization, as well as the premier platform for your clients to attain. It has come a long way, and the features and functions of 2012 far exceed previous versions of 2012. Especially with the focus being on disaster recovery and virtualization, Windows Server 2012 is a welcome addition that makes supporting client faster and easier than ever, even in a challenging security or regulatory governed network. Windows 2012 has many features to reduce the attack surface of the platform, and ultimately improve both reliability and stability for a great user experience.
- Easily remove the GUI from the system, reducing the size of the drive needed, and reducing the attach surface malicious users my be trying to exploit.
- Quickly manage every server in your environment from a secured workstation or network with the replacement of RSAT tools for Windows 8
- Reconfigure your server infrastructure from any single system. Gone are the days of having to log in and out of each server independently. Logically group servers into batches and deploy the features you need quickly without waiting for them to complete before moving onto your next tasks.
- Vastly improved RDS services that are valid competitors to Citrix. Especially for the Printer centric environments.
- Powershell seems to be a limitation, not from its functionality, but from peoples understanding of it, and their willingness to invest the time and energy learning a new command line. From my experience, it is well worth the time and effort to understand, and the rewards far out weigh the time investment needed.
- Easy to understand pricing models. Seems every time there is a new product, there is a new pricing tree and exceptions / exclusions that come out of the wood work. It is sometimes difficult to understand without an Microsoft rep on the line with you every time you quote a system build.
- The learning curve is fairly short compared to past implementations of Microsoft Server, but do require a depth and breadth of knowledge to fully take advantage of the features and functions of the server OS.
- Microsoft still has a very large target on its back due to the market share of their OS, but also have significantly more experience dealing with threats that their counter parts (Unix/Linux/Apple)
- The familiar layout and nomenclature allows for most novice users to gain quick skills in managing small portions of the system, but to truly get the most out of the system, you still need an engineer level resource at least part time to map out the long term strategy of IT for your business.
I am well versed in Ubuntu, Redhat, HP UX, and Apple (Debian Varient) platforms. While Unix and Linux products are cheaper, they pose a limitation in the number and cost of engineering resources that are required to get the most out them. I have found that Windows, even with its steep coasts, usually pay for themselves over time, with the reduced cost of the staff needed to support it.
I've carefully reviewed the servers and services currently running on Windows Server 2012, and given the opportunity would renew them as is going forward. There are two systems I currently have in place, one is a very large Linux implementation for a large ecommerce site, and one is a very large backup solution front ended by FTP servers running Linux. Neither are well suited for Windows, but the overall network infrastructure is and will be Windows Server for the foreseeable future.
Unless you are building a super computer, or a website with millions of hits a day, Windows Server 2012 has suited the needs of our clients in nearly every venue. Clustering services with windows has improved but not enough for me to trust it in large scale web hosting or SQL environments (mainly due to pricing over free Linux/Unix, at those scales the cost of a unix admin is far less then the licensing around 1000 server cals or MS SQL.) But when it comes to the standard enterprise or SMB servers, Windows 2012 has significant advantages and ultimately costs less to support due to the number of resources available that can support the product at a reasonable or even fixed price (like and Managed Services Provider).