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Windows Server 2012 – What’s New

Windows Server Migration Tool (WSMT)

WSMT is a new command-line tool in Windows Server 2012 which enables you to migrate server roles starting from Windows Server 2003 (SP2). Windows Server 2012

To set up a role migration you should install WSMT and create deployment directories on the destination server.

Next, copy the deployment directories to the source server after registering the WSMT source server.

Features on Demand

In previous versions of Windows Server you were unable to free up disk space by deleting features or roles copied during install to the hard-disk. These files took up unnecessary space, especially if you wanted to create a custom install image for your organization.

Unneeded files or features copied to the side-by-side store can now be deleted in Windows Server 2012 and is called Features on Demand. You can use Powershell cmdlets to add or remove features or roles from or to a computer running Windows Server 2012 or an offline VHD.

Powershell Commands in Windows Server 2012

Get-WindowsFeature – Displays a list of all available features and roles on the local server
Get-Help Install-WindowsFeature – Self-Explanatory
Install-WindowsFeature –Name <Feature_name> -Computer name – Feature name represents a role or feature whereas Computer name should be replaced by the name of the remote computer where you want the roles or features installed.
After having added the remote server to the Server Manager Server Pool, Server Manager can also be used to add roles or features to a remote server.

Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM)

The DISM utility to service online and oflline images was first introduced in Window 7 and windows Server 2008 R2. DISM in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 helps you service WIM, VHD and the new VHDX file types.

Convert from Server GUI to Server Core

Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra installs a minimal server interface
Server-Gui-Shell needs the above mentioned feature to be installed and provides the GUI lay-out
Desktop Experience is an extra available option in Server Manager which enables Windows 8 cliient features such as Windows Media Player, Desktop Themes and more.
If you want to convert a full installation of Windows Server 2012 to Server Core, just uninstall the Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra feature which will automatically remove the Server-Gui-Shell feature.

Load Balancing or NIC Teaming

NIC Teaming is a new feature in Windows Server 2012 which assists in guaranteeing network connectivity if one network adapter fails and in aggregating bandwidth across multiple network adapters. NIC teaming requires a different IP address for each NIC.
Windows NIC Teaming operates independently from third-party solutions or vendors, which means that it works across different NIC hardware types and manufacturers supporting upto 32 network adapters in a team.

NIC Teaming Modes

Static or Generic Teaming – Based on the IEEE 802.3ad draft v1 and requires manual configuration of the switch and the server to identify which links form a team.

Dynamic Teaming  (LACP) – LACP or Link Aggregation Control protocol bundles individual Ethernet links in to a single logical unit or team. It is based on the IEEE  802.1ax protocol which generally needs to be enabled on the port or enterprise switch to dynamically  identify links between a server and a specific switch.

Switch Independent – Allows each NIC in a team to connect to a different switch.
NIC teaming can be configured through server manager or the New-NetLbfoTeam cmdlet.

Storage Spaces

Storage Spaces in Windows Server 2012 emulates the same storage capabilities as a SAN using locally attached disks. Iy basically enables you to create storage pools by creating virtual disk or Logical Unit Numbers (LUNs). The number of disks required or parity resiliency for failover are similar to the requirements for RAID volumes.

To create a storage space disks need to be unpartitioned and unformatted as well as having a capacity of at least 10 GB. Any physical disks that meet these criteria are automatically added to the server’s primordial pool which contains all the disks from which a storage space can be created. SATA, SCSI and external USB drives are all supported but cannot be used for failover clustering.

Failover resiliency can only be attained by using Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) arrays that support SCSI Enclosure Services (SES).

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