TechEd 2013 – New Changes to 2012 R2

Well, as TechEd 2013 came to a close, I left both excited and overwhelmed at the same time. I feel that I know more than I did before I came and that I don’t know nearly enough.

Typically, Microsoft announces some big thing at TechEd each year. In 2012, it was the unveiling of the final features to be released with Windows 8 and Server 2012. These were both known quantities, but the feature parade was stunning nonetheless.MSTechEd2013-MarkBooth

This year Microsoft did not disappoint. They announced the upcoming release of Windows Server 2012 “R2” and System Center “R2.” I’m no Microsoft insider, but I do catch wind of most things that are in the offing at Microsoft and this came as a TOTAL surprise to me! They are without a doubt putting the “pedal to the metal” in the hypervisor battleground.

To summarize just a few of the new features in 2012 R2:
   – Tiered Storage: Uses SSD as a cache for traditional HD storage to dramatically increase performance.
   –  Live migrate between Server 2012 R1 and Server 2012 R2 hosts.
   –  Live migration compression: Decrease shared nothing live migration time by compressing transferred data on the fly.
   –  VHDX Deduplication: Deduplicate running VHDX files to reduce storage needs by as much as 90% in a VDI type scenario.
   –  Resize VHDX files dynamically: VHDX files can now be expanded and contracted on the fly without downtime.
   –  Storage QoS:  Constrain the I/O usage of storage on a per VHDX basis.

Plus, Microsoft is making the “Azure Pack” available for free to both hosted and private cloud environments. This brings the same level of configuration and automation Microsoft provides with their Azure online services to the private cloud.

A full breakdown of all of the new Server 2012 features can be found in this great article at Windows IT Pro.

The Windows 8 Client was not left out in this conference. Microsoft announced the forthcoming Windows 8.1 update. Not surprisingly, this update addresses issues that will make the “Start Screen” naysayers happy (and others unhappy I’m sure).

Two of my favorite sessions this year were Mark Minasi’s “Digging for Windows 8 Gold” and Mark Russinovich’s “License to Kill: Malware Hunting with the Sysinternals Tools.” These are two of the best presenters at TechEd each year and their sessions are always standing room only.

No time to waste!  It’s time for me to hurry back home so I can start getting ready to teach all of these awesome new things to my students.

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