Top 10 underestimated features of Windows Server 2012 by Mike Resseler

It’s been 2 years since Windows Server 2012 was released. Despite all of its added functionality and revised UI, this release was ambiguously perceived by Windows admin. Some admin even considered the release to be a bigger change than the upgrade from NT 4.0 to Windows 2000. Regardless of how you view the 2012 update, it’s true that added functionality might be not used by you at 100%. Mike Resseler, MVP and Veeam Product Strategy Specialist, discusses the capacity of Windows Server 2012 features and concludes from his personal experience that many admins don’t realize how much power they have in their hands. Mike has prepared a white paper where he names the top 10, most underestimated things in Windows Server 2012.

The list is below, plus a link to download white paper for further reading.

Windows Server 2012 - Server Manager

1. Server Manager

Server Manager is a tool called “overcomplicated” by many admin. Mike writes that he felt this way too at first, but after he became more familiar with the tool, he changed his perception to a more positive one.

Read the free-opened first chapter: Server Manager in Windows Server.

2. PowerShell

Windows Server 2012 R2 includes PowerShell 4.0 and more than 2300 cmdlets. Did you know that OS has a FREE built-in Windows PowerShell ISE tool, which makes all operations with cmdlets pretty simple?

3. Core

Compared to Windows 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 provides us with a version called Minimal Installation Shell (or MiniShell), in addition to the core and full installation.

4. Hyper-V Replication

The Hyper-V replica mechanism is a great addition to VM backup. It helps you protect your environment in case of disaster and meet SLAs that you’ve set for your services.

Read more about replication in our exclusive Hyper-V Replica in depth guide.

5. Storage Spaces

As a possible alternative to expensive SANs, this feature allows you to group a bunch of disks together or to virtualize storage. And it doesn’t just apply to one server, you can use JBOD enclosures and attach multiple servers to this shared storage.

More about Hyper-V backup and storage best practices.


IP Address Management (IPAM) is very useful if you need to manage IP-addresses in your system, but don’t have the budget to buy a dedicated management tool. IPAM provides you with IP Address Space management, Virtual Address Space management, network auditing, role-based access control and more.

7. Data Deduplication

Data Deduplication does not just refer to backup copies. Windows Server 2012 has post-line, built-in deduplication with variable size chunk (32-128 KB). Data Deduplication is a great way to eliminate the storage of redundant information and also a way to save space on your system, which you might want to use for something else.

8. Automatic Virtual Machine Activation

AVMA is yet another enhancement to make the admin’s life easier. It allows you to forget about manual operations related to VM activation because the system will do it for you accordingly.

9. Storage Quality of Service

Despite general opinion, this feature could probably be used more often than it is currently being used. You simply turn it on and set a limit of IOPS for a particular virtual disk of a particular VM. By doing this, you’re can be more flexible in your management of data store’s performance.

10. Hyper-V Enhanced Session mode

Last but not least, Microsoft has enhanced remote connection options and has added RDP-like functionality, which allows you to temporarily redirect local resources to a VM via VMbus. Simple and great.

If you’d like more details after reading this teaser, please download the complete white paper: Top 10 features for IT Pros in Windows Server 2012 (R2) that seem to be unknown or unloved

What do you have to say about the underestimated features in Windows Server 2012 (R2)? Please share it on Twitter. Feel the power of Hyper-V!

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