Microsoft has invested heavily in three areas where we think that innovation will help fulfill the datacenter transformation vision in a way that reduces costs and simplifies your environment: Storage, Compute and Network Virtualization, and Identity.
Windows Server 2012 R2 offers storage benefits such as virtualization of storage with commodity storage disks and the tiering of that storage. It also includes the ability to apply hybrid cloud architectures to storage. While overall storage costs continuously increase, the majority of storage needs are for tier 2 or tier 3 lower-priority data, most of it infrequently accessed.
Compute and Network Virtualization
Microsoft Hyper-V has many advancements in the virtualization of compute. It is truly a market leading virtualization technology.
Networking is an area with a huge potential for datacenter transformation. Today’s networks can be rigid, meaning that they make it difficult to move workloads within the infrastructure, and network operations involve high levels of manual processes. One of the biggest trends today is Software Defined Networking (SDN). In simple terms, SDN is network virtualization, a capability that we offer today in Windows Server 2012.
Microsoft technology delivers an increased ability to maintain a single identity across multiple clouds. To meet the needs of continuous services and connected devices for simple and fast access to resources and data, Microsoft offers several enhancements:
- Run Active Directory at scale with support for virtualization and rapid deployment through domain controller cloning.
- Take advantage of cloud platforms to run Windows Server Active Directory and Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) to reduce infrastructure on-premises. Microsoft supports running domain controllers and AD FS on Microsoft Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS), connected back on-premises via the Azure Connect bridge.
- Developers can integrate applications for single sign-on across on-premises and cloud-based applications, providing an easier way for businesses to manage the identity of users within these applications.
- Microsoft Azure Active Directory (WAAD) works fluidly with Windows Active Directory to easily extend an organization’s Active Directory into the Microsoft Azure cloud, providing a central authentication endpoint for all users and devices outside of the corporate environment, and cloud or hybrid applications.
- Active Directory Federation Services has been significantly enhanced in Windows Server 2012 R2 to simplify deployment and management.