Windows Server 2012, formerly codenamed Windows Server 8, is the latest version of Windows Server. The successor of Windows Server 2008 R2, its improvements include overall upgrades in cloud computing and storage infrastructure.
Windows Server 2012 include enhancements to the following:
Graphical user interface (GUI) – Windows Server 2012 was created with the Metrodesign language so it has the same look and feel as Windows 8 unless installed in Server Core mode. Administrators can switch between Server Core and the Server with a GUIoptions without a full reinstallation.
Address management – Windows Server 2012 has an IP address management (IPAM) role for discovering, monitoring, auditing and managing the network’s IP address space.
Hyper-V– Hyper-V 3.0 offers a scalable, virtual extensible switch that allows a virtual network to extend its functionality in ways that were difficult or impossible to achieve in previous versions.
Active Directory – Several changes have been made to Active Directory. The PowerShell-based Deployment Wizard can work remotely, allowing administrators to promote cloud-based servers to domain controllers without the Wizard running on the server itself. Following the completion of this process, PowerShell scripts containing copies of commands used in the process can assist with the automation of additional domain controllers, allowing for large-scale Active Directory deployments.
File System – Addition of ReFS (Resilient File System) for file servers.
Storage migration – Live storage migration is permitted and shared storage will no longer be required for virtual machine (VM) migration when using Hyper-V Replica.
Clustering. Cluster-aware updating will be automated, which will allow the entire cluster to stay online during the updating process with little to no loss in availability.
NIC teaming. This is the first version of Windows Server with built-in network interface card (NIC) teaming. This feature allows administrators to team together NICs for failover and bandwidth aggregation, creating server resiliency built into the operating system.