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First look: Windows Server 2012 Brings the Cloud Down to Earth

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Ars Technica: Microsoft has officially unveiled Windows Server 2012. The new operating system shares the same kernel as the Windows 8 desktop editions, and it also offers the same dual interfaces, although users aren't required to install them. It's also like Windows 8 in that it's built for cloud computing. Key updates in Windows Server 2012 include more configuration options for the PowerShell, a dashboard-type interface for Server Manager, numerous improvements for the Hyper-V virtualization capabilities, and better networking and storage abilities.

On the downside, companies that want to use the new OS will find that Microsoft has completely restructured its licensing program, and the changes can be confusing. Still, Ars Technica writes that deploying the OS is "pretty painless" and advises, "Server 2012 brings so much to the table that it should be quickly picked up by small and mid-size organizations trying to make themselves look bigger from an IT perspective. Even when you look at the very narrow scope of its storage abilities, Server 2012 has a big potential financial payoff in terms of lowering the cost of IT. And when tied to hosted services in a public or private cloud, Server 2012 will help IT administrators scale up or down on demand with a lot less pain and a much smaller budget."

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