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I’ve been speaking with lots of IT Pros over the past several weeks about the new storage improvements in Windows Server 2012 R2, and one feature in particular has gained a ton of attention: automated Storage Tiers as part of the new Storage Spaces feature set. However, not all of us have multiple SSD and HDD disks in our demo or lab gear, so it’s sometimes challenging to evaluate and demo this new feature.  In this article, I’ll step through the process of leveraging Virtual Hard Disks ( VHDs ) to simulate SSD and HDD tiers for the purpose of evaluating and demonstrating the functionality of Storage Tiers in a Windows Server 2012 R2 lab environment. What are “Storage Tiers”? Storage Tiers combine the best performance attributes of solid-state disks (SSDs) with the best cost:capacity attributes of hard disk drives (HDDs) together by providing the ability to create ... (more)

Installing the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Experience Step-by-Step

In Windows Server 2012 we introduced a new version called Windows Server 2012 Essentials edition.  The Essentials server is very flexible and easy-to-use.  This was a server solution that was primarily designed and priced for small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices.  This provided a great first server for many customers, as well as it can be used as the primary server in a multi-server environment for small businesses. With the new Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Server we really added many features to make this an even more rounded server.  The Essential server al... (more)

Migrating to Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 from 2008 R2 and VMware vSphere

Hyper-V Server 2012 is Microsoft's completely free type-1 hypervisor product.  Unlike some other competing free hypervisors, Hyper-V Server 2012 has the same virtualization scale and availability features as the Hyper-V role in licensed editions of Windows Server 2012, but it's optimized for running only the Hyper-V hypervisor on bare metal.  It's a great solution when you're looking to deploy dedicated hypervisor hosts within your shop.  The result?  An enterprise-scale type-1 hypervisor for FREE! You can get more details on Hyper-V Server 2012 here. Recently, I was involved in... (more)

Be the Victor in the Hunger Games of Your Virtualization Environment

Thoughts From the Mind of a Previous VMware Admin (aka Game Master) Do you ever feel like your Windows server is not performing well in the VMware environment, as if it were a sponsor-less contestant in the arena of the annual hunger games?  As a VMware admin and consultant I witnessed first hand the fine art of deception for presenting restricted resources to virtual machines.  An application owner or Windows admin would come to my cube or put in a help desk ticket asking for a new virtual machine.  They would often ask me for an insane amount of resources for this VM because the... (more)

Top 31 Favorite Features in Windows Server 2012

Over the past month, my fellow IT Pro Technical Evangelists and I have authored a series of articles about our Top 31 Favorite Features in Windows Server 2012.  Now that our series is complete, I’m providing a clickable index below of all of the articles in the series for your convenience, just in case you perhaps missed any of them when they were first released. Hope you enjoy our Favorite Features in Windows Server 2012! Top 31 Favorite Features in Windows Server 2012 The Cloud OS Platform by Kevin Remde Server Manager in Windows Server 2012 by Brian Lewis Feel the Power of Powe... (more)

What's in Store for Technology in 2013

As we get into the full swing of the new year and put another CES behind us, it’s time to take a look at the current trends in technology and get a feel for some of the developments we can expect in 2013. There are a lot of interesting products just around the corner – some of them will seem revolutionary while others will be a big update to current technology – and many of them are well worth a look. Touchscreen Ultrabooks The release of Windows 8, which was optimized for touchscreens, is encouraging a lot of companies to really innovate with their laptops. Last year we saw the... (more)