Join Mike Danseglio for an in-depth discussion in this video Windows Server 2012 overview, part of Windows Server 2012 Active Directory: Management and Implementation.
- Windows Server 2012. Going to talk a lot about that. You're going to see an awful lot of interesting different topics and discussions on different technologies and different features, and roles and services it provides but we really need to start somewhere. A lot of that is understanding why Windows Server 2012 is the way it is, where it comes from, how it's designed, what the thought process to some degree, was behind all of the stuff that you see in there. All of the features and roles. All of that stuff. That's really the purpose of what I'm going to talk about right now is explaining where a lot of these grounds, well, came from and why it's an important component of IT today.
Largely, Windows Server 2012 is propelled by the move to cloud computing across all of IT, across all of technology. There's an awful lot of this move towards cloud computing. We'll cover that a little bit. If you've already seen some information about cloud computing, that's cool. Keep it really light. But the bigger component of Windows Server 2012 is the concept of moving away from big fat operating system installs to more thin hew down operating systems. At least at a default level.
I'll talk about that as well. I'll talk about Windows Server 2012 as being flexible to do both an awful lot of features or very purposed-built individual component type of services that it can provide. All of that within the context of cloud computing really. First of all, to understand that, I think we need to understand why cloud computing is so interesting and important. Cloud computing really is coming around from this concept of having resources available whenever you need them, wherever they are.
That doesn't even matter if you need an email server or you need a new set of file server or if you need a new set of database processing. You don't necessarily need to stand up an entire infrastructure in your IT organization. You don't need to have five servers or you don't need to rack up a bunch of Del 2950s anymore. You can just make a phone call to Amazon or the Google, or you can call Rock Space or there's all kinds. I can just go on for hours on the different services and providers that are out there but you can just make a phone call or fill up a web form and get all of these of these features, all of these services, all of these functions, both to expand existing services that you might provide and also to implement new services.
A great example is a company I work with not long ago. Wanted to test the waters with voice over IP. They didn't want to necessarily install and deploy hundreds of servers across their enterprise. They didn't want to necessarily have to stand up data center and deal with powers, space, cooling, massive investments, and hardware and software. Instead, they made a few phone calls. Found out that for small price per user, they could actually deploy VoIP through cloud services. That's what they did.
They rolled this out to a set of, I think it was 25 or 30 users. Found out that that was actually really, really useful. People liked it. Then continued rolling out that deployment that way. The risk was very low. The simplicity was fairly good. It was actually very, very easy for IT to understand it. The cost was exceptionally appealing. Not just in terms of having to buy a bunch of servers but also in terms of having to manage and owned those things, having to purchase, go through purchasing decisions and things like that.
A lot of these comes from the fact that these traditional assets don't need to be in the same place in IT. In days of yore, you had to have servers right near users. You had to have SQL databases right near people that are running queries on the SQL database. That doesn't actually exist anymore because network connections are getting better because servers providers are getting better up time. All of these kinds of components go into the play for cloud computing and make it a very, very appealing solution for a lot of people.
IT loves it because they can just make a phone call and add resources. An IT manager might say, "Well, I need extra storage "because we're buying more data from a company." Or, "I need to ensure that the performance of this particular email service is higher so I'm just going to make a phone call and have resources added to my email server pool. Awesome! Or connectivity call. I just need a faster pipe, a bigger pipe. Cool! It's a phone call and it just happens.
These resources are provided on demand. It doesn't take six months to deploy a new server or three months to get a new T one provision or OC 48 provision. That just happens. It's just a snap of the fingers which is amazing! The other side of that is that those services oftentimes, they're only paid for when they're used. An IT manager can say, "Well, I'll go and deploy a bunch "of databases because I've got users demanding it there." I've got a mid manager saying that they're going to use all of these resource.
If in three months that resource is not being used properly or not fully, I'll just go and cancel it. I'll just go and opt that out of the service like the old Columbia record house kind of stuff. I'll just go and write cancel on my receipt, and then they won't bail me anymore. I'll just tell Amazon I don't need all of those servers anymore so I'll just cancel. How cool is that? I mean, that's just freaking amazing! Then, the low overhead is also a nice component. We don't have to have IT managers thinking to themselves, "Well, if I'm bringing in all of these extra assets." All of these extra, let's say SQL servers or remote access servers or processing.
Whatever it is, I don't have to hire more IT. I don't have to hire more people, train more people, retain these folks. I can just go and make a phone call. Let someone else worry about training staff, and deploying staff, and locking the doors, and making sure the powers provision. Make sure the cooling is done. Somebody else's problem which is fantastic. Makes things fast. Makes things easy. What a lot of people don't really consider is what's the upside for the cloud providers. The Rock Spaces of the world, the Amazons of the world, the Googles of the world.
What's there to take? Well, I think the easiest one and the one that makes the most sense to me is the concept of Amazon as a cloud provider. Amazon didn't start as a cloud provider. Amazon really started as an online retailer, right? You buy CDs. You buy books. You buy games. You want Colly do the block apps. You go up there and you order that. It shows up tomorrow. It's just amazing. Instant gratification. Cool! But then, Amazon realized over time, "Wow, this concept "of all the sales in late November, early to mid December, "all those horsepower that we have "to implement in order to not have lag.
"We have users that want to click on 'Buy Now' "and get an instant response. "If we only scale up our resources and our assets "or IT assets to process orders based on an average "throughout the year, then November "and December get really, really slow "as more people buy stuff and that's a bad experience. "We need to scale up. "For Christmas time in the United States, "we're going to scale up our IT assets "so that this performance is really great." Awesome! Cool, cool, cool. We added an extra two data centers, let's say the Amazon, to handle all of these November and December bandwidth, this load.
What happens in January? Well, sure, everything is really, really fast but we've got all of these unnecessarily, unused server processing and horsepower and bandwidth. It's generating heat. It's run, all of the servers are running. We can either shut them off and wait 11 months, and then turn them back on, or we can sell them. We can buy and sell them. Or, you know what? Hmm, I wonder if people would rent them from us. I wonder if maybe we just put a five cents an hour. Kind of sign on the server and said, "Does anybody want "to rent the server for five cents an hour?" Because in a long term for the 10 or 11 months that they're not going to be in use, that's actually a good revenue stream.
An IT flock to that. IT loved the idea of, "I'll just let Amazon deal with it." I'll just let Amazon implement a new data center. I'll let them manage updates and patches. I'll let them deal with hard drive failures. I'll just pay them five cents an hour, or let's say for that server. Everybody's happy. Amazon gets to reuse their existing assets. They get a good data stream. Or, I'm sorry, a funding stream, monitor stream. An IT doesn't have to worry about implementing and deploying all that stuff. Fantastic! Everybody's happy.
The cloud providers absolutely love this model, and IT generally loves this model as well. Excuse me, voice is going a little bit. Going to keep drinking water. Why is the cloud getting popular though? Why is it more alluring? Why do people give it a lot more uptake? The old constraints, the old reasons that cloud computing didn't really take off largely or either deprecated or don't exist anymore at all. For example, accessing the cloud used to take forever.
Getting those assets over the internet. Getting to your database. Getting to your email. Well, now, we have big fat pipes. Everybody in urban barrios or even suburb barrios has really high band with connections, relatively reliable connections. That doesn't really exist as a barrier, that iffy connection, or that up and down kind of stuff that slows speed. We've got the increase surplus that we've talked about a little bit like the Amazon scenario. IT has largely gone or trying to go from large fixed cost per month or over time to more variable cost where they want more monthly expenditures instead of investing heavily in big iron, buying all of these gear all the time.
They'd rather go largely in a lot of IT shops to more about an operational budget, a monthly expenditure budget because that's easily controlled or more easily controlled. Then, there are fewer longer term investments which in many cases amount to risks. That's an appealing side of things. These platforms that are out there, these platforms, the server platforms that enable cloud computing have gotten much, much, much more flexible. They do more things. They provide more services in more different ways which is where Windows Server 2012 really comes in.
But it's really out all of the little new ones and benefits. Need to make sure that what we're deploying out in the cloud is minimal. I'll explain what minimal means. It really comes down to as little as possible happening on the platform as possible. If you've got a database server you're trying to process a bunch of data out in a cloud server, you don't want that server also running DNS and DHCP and WINS, God forbid.
All razz, all that stuff. You want that server just running what's necessary to make SQL work because every little iota of bandwidth, every little IUP from the drive, every little bit of data flying across, every little bit of processing power, is going to make a difference when you look at the large scale of cloud computing and all of IT across the entire IT industry. Cloud computing largely, sorry, has tried to minimize the outlay or the unnecessary bandwidth.
That's actually a little harder than it sounds. It's harder to eliminate unnecessary resources. If you think about traditional Windows, there's a lot of stuff kind of built in the Windows that you may or may not ever use. How many folks actually run a graphical interface on every server? Well, a lot of folks do. A lot of folks tend to. Does every server in your data center need a graphical interface? Well, if you don't actually go straight to them and interact with them with the mouse, keyboard, monitor, all that kind of stuff, you typically don't need a GUI, a graphical user interface on that system.
Certainly, at all times, and probably ever because it's just a resource. It's just an asset sitting out, they're processing, doing some stuff. Getting rid of as much as possible on every single system in the cloud is an important component of making cloud computing work and making its scale and be efficient. I've got a couple of list here. The graphical interface is one I picked up on fairly often. But, how often do you really need your server to play music? How often are you going to listen to girl talk on your server 2008 R two machine in your data center while you're doing some work? It just doesn't come up.
Why would you have the sound service running? I hear people say, "But Mike, that doesn't really "sound like it's going to take a lot of resources." Now, it doesn't take a lot of resources. But when you multiply the amount of memory and CPU and amount of updates and patches a sound system needs on a server, it's not that much on one server but on 50 servers, 100 servers, 10000 servers. It gets big. It's a lot of wasted stuff. Turn that off.
Video, turn that off. Web browsing, please, turn that off. You don't want to browse web on your servers. If you do, you're a bad person anyway. But regardless of being a bad person which you are anyway, to be honest, you don't need the web browser. That web browser takes space. If it's firing up, it's taking horsepower. Doesn't need to be there. Get rid of that. Servers typically don't do web browsing anyway. Why have it there? Windows over time has moved in this direction slowly but surely by disabling stuff that doesn't need to be on by default, by not installing things that don't need to be installed by default, and certainly, giving you the option to put them in later or turn them on later.
But keeping them off by default or disabled by default or not on by default is usually the direction Windows is going. That's what Windows Server 2012 is doing. It's continuing that process. It's the latest version of Microsoft moving towards a minimal operating system but it's made of big, big leap. Microsoft made a huge leap in Windows Server 2012 with some of the stuff is disabled. One in particular that I'm going to show you in a moment.
The minimal installation of Windows Server 2012, the default minimal installation is just the core features. To be honest, Windows Server 2012 installs with virtually nothing and then you add stuff later. It installs as kind of the concept of a core. You'll hear throughout discussions of Windows Server 2012, your reading, any of that kind of stuff. If you research, you'll see the word core come up over and over and over again as both the proper noun and as a descriptive adjective.
The concept of the core features is I'm just using it as a general description right now but it means that Windows Server 2012 just installs with enough stuff to make it run. That's it. In the olden days, it was, well, let's install file and print services by default because most people would do file and print services on their server. Let's install file sharing, file client kind of stuff. Let's install services for Mac, services for Unix. Let's install Novel services. Let's install this and that and the other, all that stuff.
Turn it all along because we want to be functional. 2012 is like the polar opposite of that concept. It is just enough stuff to make the operating system run, to start the core itself, to get everything going, and then add stuff later. You might think to yourself, "That's really, really cool!" Right? Must be really fast. Must be really efficient, not take a lot of footprint by default. Yes, that is absolutely true but there is a bit of downside.
The downside is that the default installation is missing a few key things that you probably want or many people will want. A lot of people are used to it. It's that last bit that really gets folks. A lot of folks are used to things like a user interface. Windows Server 2012 default install actually doesn't have a user interface. "But Mike, where do I move my mouse? "Where's the keyboard? "Where's the little dog that pops up and points "at the icons to show me where to go and do all the stuff?" Yeah, that doesn't happen anymore.
That's kind of a cool thing. It's saving all that resource. Many, many, many administrators, most IT, would be happy with this once they get over the curve of learning how to manage Windows Server 2012 without an interface. There's a bunch of different ways to do it. In fact, many folks already managed Windows servers without an interface. They just don't know it, or just don't realize that they're doing it. That's a topic that we're going to talk about a little bit.
But the other component is that most stuff isn't even on by default in Windows Server 2012. Meaning file and print services, they're not on by default. DHCP, DNS, all that stuff, not on by default unless you install it. That's cool. It starts at a very minimal, very basic thing. You'll see when you learn about installation that it also make setup very, very, very quick. Windows Server 2012 installs really, really fast because it doesn't have to ask a lot of questions about, "Are you installing this as a NPS server "or as an RS server or as a V server?" Well, no.
You're not installing, does not any of that because install doesn't do any of that. It just gets the operating system in place so that you can manage it later. That's the key. Remote management is, generally speaking, the way Microsoft wants folks to manage Windows Server 2012. Microsoft's been moving administrators in this direction for many, many, many years. Partially, you can see the link here to cloud computing. The concept of servers being anywhere.
The server exists at Amazon's data center in Virginia, or exists in Google's data center in California, or exists in the data center, your data center, your enterprise data center. It doesn't matter. You're administering. You're managing and deploying those service exactly the same, no matter where in the world they are and largely how many of them there are. This concept of remote management is certainly not new but it is new by default. Without an interface, you don't really have much of a choice but to manage it remotely.
Otherwise, keyboard and mouse. Not going to do you a lot of good if there's nothing to interact with or directly on the server, right? There's a lot of different ways that you're going to learn about to manage servers remotely. As I said, most of these are the things that you're probably already familiar with. Windows Power Shell, the graphical tools, or the RSAT tools on Windows seven and Windows eight using Microsoft system center. There's a bevy. There's dozens and dozens of third party management suites, management utilities that you can implement for Windows...
That you can actually use to manage either one or large sets of servers at the same from anywhere. From a client operating system at your desk or on your mobile device. Something like that, or writing Power Shell. Creating Power Shell to actually automate and deploy large sets all at the same time. System center to automate and manage a lot of that, report on a lot of that stuff. These are all great techniques but they're all remote management techniques. That's the big paradigm shift, is getting away from the concept in Windows Server 2012 of sitting down at a system and actually managing it directly.
That concept is largely gone. When I say largely gone, I don't mean all gone. There's a big difference between mostly gone and all gone. In this case, what that means is, user interface, you can install it. You can actually choose to turn back on the GUI. But Microsoft discourages very, very strongly administrators from doing this because of the performance set, and because of the unnecessary load that puts on the system to just have that thing running even if no one's logging on, even if no one's using that GUI.
Just having it on the server actually is a potential performance set. As I mentioned a little bit earlier, when you scale that to hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of servers, that resource consumption, unnecessary resource consumption I would argue, actually adds up quite quickly. It becomes quite a bad thing. Is it supported? Sure. Do you want to use it? It's your choice really. It's still there. It's still available but Microsoft is discouraging you. Actually, you'll see as you learn about Windows Server 2012 that you probably don't need it for several different reasons.
For automation, for using tools, things like that. There's an awful lot of reasons you actually won't need a GUI but I just want to make sure you're clear you can still install it if you want to especially if you're learning about server 2012, if you're doing a test deployment, let's say of server 2012, if you're studying for your Microsoft certified exams for server 2012. You actually want to play with the server locally. You still want to learn the remote management technique. You still want to understand a lot of the Power Shell stuff, a lot of the RSAT tools, but you can still have that option available to you.
In summary, remember that Windows Server 2012 really is Microsoft's play towards moving server, continuing to move Windows server towards cloud computing as a really good viable platform, as a base platform for all kinds of different cloud services. Minimizing what gets installed in Windows Server 2012 is really the key. But the one big key of all of that is the minimization installs nothing by default. Nothing means no services, no roles, no features.
None of that stuff, and no graphical interface which means that we need to typically find a way to remote manage those but you still have that kind of feel safe, that back up of installing the GUI.