Monday, March 4, 2013

Migrating to Windows Server 2012 – Intro (Part 5)


Part 1 - Migrating to Windows Server 2012 – Intro (Part 1)

Part 2 - Migrating to Windows Server 2012 – Intro (Part 2)

Part 3 - Migrating to Windows Server 2012 – Intro (Part 3)

Part 4 - Migrating to Windows Server 2012 – Intro (Part 4)

Part 5 -

This was the Introduction, New Features and Enhancements section in my Migration from Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 to 2012 book. Because of some changes in the format and content of this book, we have decided not to include any introduction or new features section in this book. The focus of the book is to provide more hands-on and step-by-step instructions on migration. So I decided to add Introduction, New Features and Enhancements section in my blog in 5 different parts. You can read the rest of the sections in the book.



Active Directory

The following section provides an overview of the improvements and enhancements introduced in Active Directory as part of Windows Server 2012 release.

Domain Controller Promotion (DCPROMO)

A new and improved version of DCPROMO process is included as part of the Windows Server 2012. Active Directory Preparation (ADPREP) is part of the Domain Controller promotion process. However, a standalone version of ADPREP is available to manually upgrade schema. PowerShell cmdlet and scripts are integrated as part of the DCPROMO process. You should be able to save these scripts from the DCPRMO wizard screen for a future use.

Domain Controller Virtualization

Virtualization has a key role in technology these days. However, in the previous versions of Active Directory, snapshot backup or restore of a Domain Controller was not supported due to Update Sequence Number (USN) Rollback and USN Bubble issues. In Windows Server 2012, Microsoft has introduced a new mechanism to eliminate USN rollback issues. A new attribute called VM Generation ID (msDS-GenerationID) is introduced to detect the Active Directory database (DIT) changes between DCs. The VM Generation ID is a unique number for life of a Virtual Machine.

Domain Controller Cloning

Microsoft has introduced this new feature in Windows Server 2012 for rapid deployment of Domain Controllers in a virtualized environment. With this new technology you can make a copy of the existing virtual Domain Controller’s VHD and deploy it on to a virtualized environment. It also allows you exclude some of the installed application from the cloned image by modifying the configuration file. The Import option in Hyper-V can be used to deploy these cloned images in the new environment.

Recycle Bin

Microsoft has introduced Recycle Bin in Windows Server 2008 R2. However, the GUI option was not available. In Windows Server 2012, you will have a GUI based Active Directory Recycle Bin. It can be accessed from the Active Directory Administrative Center (ADAC) console. You will have an option to locate the parent object from the console itself.

Active Directory Based Activation Service

In Windows Server 2012 Active Directory, the domain joined clients can activate the Operating System through Active Directory Based Activation Service. Currently, it can support only Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 servers.

Note: In Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, the offline defragmentation was part of the Install From Media (IFM) process. However, in Windows Server 2012, you will have an option to skip this process.


There is a significant performance improvement in Windows Server 2012. The Receive Segment Coalescing (RSC), Receive Side Scaling (RSS), Dynamic Virtual Machine Queue (dVMQ), Data Center Bridging (DCB), Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA), Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV), IPSec Offload (IPsecTO) and Server Message Block (SMB) 3.0 are some of the new technologies that enhances the performance in Windows Server 2012. The details of these techologies are beyond the scope of this book. However, as an administrator you need to have a high level understanding of these technolgies and how it can benefit your business when using Windows Server 2012.

Internet Information Server (IIS) 8.0

An updated version of Internet Information Server (IIS), version 8.0 is introduced in Windows Server 2012 with many improvements and new features around security, scalability and administration. The new version is designed to support multi-tenant requirement and environment. With new CPU throttling option, the CPU consumption can be managed per application pool. The Dynamic IP address restriction and Server Name Indication (SNI) are some of the new security features you will see in Internet Information Server (IIS) 8.0

Cloud, Cloud, Cloud

I cannot conclude the introduction and new features section without talking about the native cloud technology support and its capabilities in Windows Server 2012. Microsoft has engineered Windows Server 2012 with a goal to support Private, Public or Hybrid cloud solutions. It provides a solid foundation for multi-tenant support, high availability, network traffic isolation, security and easy manageability. These features make Windows Server 2012 different from the other Operating Systems (OS) Microsoft has built. In Microsoft terms “Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 is a great Operating System (OS) for a single server but Windows Server 2012 is great Operating System (OS) for lots of servers”.

When designing Cloud solution, you need to make sure the foundation can be dynamically extended on demand basics to meet your customer requirements and Server Level Agreements (SLAs). Windows Server 2012 provides on-demand extensible options for workload, network, storage and resiliency. These building blocks provide support for a cloud infrastructure. The features likes hyper-V networking, virtualization, NIC teaming, shared-nothing live migration, RDMA, SMB 3.0, Port ACLs, Cluster enhancements, massive stability, flexible administration options using System Center products etc. makes Windows Server 2012 a great foundation for could computing. In other words Windows Server 2012 is built from ground-up to support all building blocks of cloud computing.

Note: When talking about Cloud technology, you will hear “North–South” and “East-West” network traffic terminology slangs. The “North – South” traffic refers to the traffic coming in and going out from the data center. I call this as a “Vertical traffic”. The “East–West” traffic refers to the communication traffic between servers inside the data center. I call this as a “Horizontal traffic”. So if you are designing a clouding solution, you should consider how you can isolate the “Vertical” and “Horizontal” traffics to get better performance and security. Usually, you will see more “horizontal” traffic than “vertical” traffic.

What is Next?

The following topics and step-by-step instructions are included in the book:

· Windows Server 2012 Core and GUI installation and configuration

· Windows Server 2012 local and remote administration

· Windows Server 2012 Roles and Feature deployment

· Active Directory and domain controller migration

· Network Services (DNS and DHCP) migration

· Data and file server migration

· Printer and print server migration

· Hyper-V and virtual server migration

· Decommissioning old servers and domain controllers

This book currently available in all major stores.



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