Explore New Features in Windows Server 2012

Innovative Advancements to Improve Management, Control, and Automation

Patrick Renzi

Windows Server 2012 brings together a unified suite of server controls designed to help you achieve a higher level of access control and enhanced governance of your servers. Some of these developments are updates of earlier versions, while others are new features altogether. Here are three key advancements you’ll want to implement in your new installs.

Enhancements to Active Directory allow more flexibility and options. Dynamic Access Control (DAC) delivers a combination of technologies in Windows Server 2012 that provide more control over access and governance across your Windows file servers. DAC helps reduce security group complexity and makes it simpler to achieve compliance with regard to access to data. One of the more common reasons to take advantage of DAC is to comply with the US-European Union Safe Harbor regulation. A recent judgment by the E.U.’s highest court will affect some 4,500 companies based in the U.S. with regard to moving and storing Europeans’ personal information in the U.S. DAC can help with the implementation and maintenance of data access and complying with this important judgment.

Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) is now part of the server rather than an external add on. As a built-in part of Windows Server 2012, AD FS brings claims (verified identity information) into Server 2012 and incorporates user validation information for use across its federation partners. This simplifies user identity management and access across multiple environments and allows proper access to application and data resources. Providing AD FS as a component within Windows Server 2012 reduces the number of snap-ins and add-on products that need to be managed within the server environment.

Active Directory-Based Activation (ADBA) activates products automatically. ADBA allows computers connected to their domain to authenticate and activate their Windows licenses. While the activation only works on the operating system and not on individual applications, ADBA’s inclusion as part of Windows Server 2012 brings another administrative task under automation. Previously, individual computers had to activate by using a retail key, a Multiple Activation Key (MAK), or physically connect to the network and use the Key Management Service (KMS). With ADBA, computers only need to join the company’s domain in order to activate automatically.

The newly upgraded features included in Windows Server 2012 combine to ease administration of servers and workstations as well as better protect the enterprise with regard to compliance issues. If you’ve already upgraded to Windows Server 2012, implementing the advanced features is an easy step toward improving your enterprise computing environment.