Last time around, Windows Server 2012 R2, the big story was enabling the cloud using Windows Server 2012. We techies boiled that down to … Hyper-V. It was a big Hyper-V release, that happened to have lots of new networking and storage stuff, and loads of other things in AD, remote access, etc, but we focused on Hyper-V.
System Center 2012 SP1’s story was simple: try to catch up with Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. They didn’t quite get all the way there. The OSs were supported, but numerous features were missing. The schedules of the then 2 product groups were misaligned, System Center was just done releasing the 2012 products and then out comes a new version of Windows. Doh!
Then less than a year later, the preview of Windows Server & System Center tells us something important. This is a unified development and release. From a business perspective, that might actually be the big story of WSSC 2012 R2. I don’t remember seeing this level of timing from Microsoft before.
The story that MSFT is marketing this time around is based, again, on the Cloud OS and this time it is Hybrid Networking. This uses Hyper-V Network Virtualization and System Center to create 1 consistent and integrated platform from private cloud, hosted (public or private) cloud, and Windows Azure IaaS. However, we nerds are looking at WSSC 2012 R2 as …
… a storage release. Yup, this is the turning point. All the bits in Storage Spaces that people wanted to see to consider Windows Server SMB 3.0 as a block storage alternative are there. You should expect to hear lots and lots about Storage Spaces, virtual disks, SMB 3.0 (Direct and Multichannel), tiered storage, Write-Back Cache, System Center integration & management, etc.
Yes, of course, I am excited by the cool Hyper-V stuff in this release. I’m also looking forward to deploying it on SMB 3.0 And don’t forget DAL.