The name Windows Server is used to identify a brand name for a series of server operating systems that was released by Microsoft Corporation. It is even often used to identify any server that is operating under any of the Windows family of server operating systems. Technically, Windows Servers are more powerful versions of the Windows Desktop Operating systems and are designed to be more efficient in handling networking, internet and intranet hosting, enterprise-scale messaging and database handling. It is generally capable of providing services that are server-oriented like hosting a website, user management functions, resource management functions as well as security and authorization and messaging among a host of other server-oriented services.
The Windows Server name made its debut into the market with the release of Windows Server 2003. However, the Windows Server family includes the Windows 2000 which was initially known as Windows NT 5.0 and was released on February 2000, the first among those that bore the name Windows Server in it. Its successor was Windows XP and then Windows Server 2003 (April 2003). It was followed by its successor Windows Server 2003 R2 that was released on December 2005. By February of the year 2008, Microsoft released Windows Server 2008, followed closely by Windows Server 2008 R2, which was released a year later. The latest release, the server version of Windows 8, was called Windows Server 2012 R2 and was released on October of 2013. It was the successor of Windows Server 2012 that was released last September 2012, the server version of Windows 7. Microsoft also released the Windows Server Essentials, also known as Windows Small Business Server, and the Windows Essential Business Server, which included a Windows Server operating system among other Microsoft Server products.
What are the basic features of the latest Windows server?
The latest Windows Server version, Windows Server 2012 R2 brings along with it a lot of enhancements and features that should be beneficial to its users. Among these features are the following:
- It has tiered storage spaces providing greater performance and scalability as well as allowing a mix of SSD and HDD in a single space.
- It has the ability to graphically create a 3-way mirrored virtual disk on its storage space.
- It has built in Site-to-Site Virtual Private Network gateway.
- It’s in-box iSCSI target is able to leverage VHDX, allowing larger LUNs.
- It has Dynamic NIC Teaming which allows better granular balancing of flowlets, for better utilization of available resources and best performance.
- It is able to provide consistent IP management experience with its IPAM support for virtualized environments.
- Its new PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) extensions ensures that components of the data center have the correct configuration.
- It Work Folders enable its users to have access to their data through replication of all user data to corporate file servers. The same technology also encrypts data as well as enables the removal of the corporate data of un-enrolled devices.
- The Thin Provisioning is a feature found is Windows Storage System which reduces storage waste by allowing you to start small and let your storage grown as needed. This effectively eliminates wasted and unused storage spaces.
- Windows Servers are easy to deploy, use and manage.
- The Diskless Boot feature allows you to boot across the network, eliminating the need for hard disk space within the server saving much needed storage space and ease in management.
- The Hyper-V 3.0 which can support 64 processors, a terabyte of RAM, 1,024 active virtual machines (VMs) per host, 8,000 virtual machines per cluster, 64TB VHDx with 256 disks per VM, means that it can run almost all applications in a HyperV VM.
It uses Hyper-V, which allows for:
- Live migration between Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2.
- Compression of memory in preparation for Live Migration.
- Its Hyper-V Replica allows for more frequent replication.
- It has ability for Hyper-V Replica Virtual Machine replicated to another Hyper-V server for longer period Disaster Recovery capability.
What advantages does Windows Server bring?
Just like any other server operating systems, Windows Server has its own share of advantages and disadvantages. Among its advantages are:
- It can be installed and easily deployed on a virtual server or physical server, as a member server in any domain of any size.
- It allows users to easily connect other computers into his domain from a remote location.
- User can optionally trigger the pre-configured auto-VPN dialling to make sure that it is always connected to the workplace.
- Its enhanced server storage allows users to create shared folders on a secondary server on the network.
- It’s built in Health Report shows daily reports that can be viewed even on smartphones allowing users to monitor the reports while on the go.
- Clients can easily perform full system restore over the network with WDS.
Is Windows Server a good choice for me?
Choosing the best server operating system for your machine and your website is a matter that needs a thorough consideration. The choice actually depends upon your hosting needs as well as your needs for resources. These factors are just a few that you need to consider. However, Windows Server operating systems are designed, built and configured to provide its clients with a hassle-free, optimal hosting experience. So, unless your website is designed not to work on a Windows environment, Windows Server is a very good choice.