Microsoft is readying major updates to help align its Windows Server ecosystem to the company's new "cloud-first" approach to enterprise IT.
The software giant announced during its TechEd conference in New Orleans that it is working on releasing Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 by the end of 2013. Microsoft added that SQL Server 2014 should appear "shortly thereafter."
Public evaluation versions are slated for release later this month, presumably in time for the Build developer confab in San Francisco, which kicks off June 26.
Windows Server 2012 R2 and company are not only meant to usher in more cloud-friendly features, they are representative of the brisk pace of innovation that has come to define the cloud-enabled era of computing. In some ways, the products are meant to show that Microsoft can handle the cloud economy's obsession with rapid iteration.
"With advances in virtualization, software-defined networking, data storage and recovery, in-memory transaction processing, and more, these solutions were engineered with Microsoft's 'cloud-first' focus, including a faster pace of development and release to market," said the company in a statement.
Tucked into the refreshed platforms are features designed to help organizations deploy and manage hybrid cloud infrastructures with "agility and efficiency benefits similar to what Microsoft derives by operating its large-scale cloud services with Windows Azure," according to the Windows Server Team.
"Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 deliver a cloud and datacenter infrastructure that allows you to virtualize even the largest workloads, provides easy capacity expansion on industry-standard hardware at a fraction of the cost of other solutions, and offers a complete software-defined networking solution out-of-the-box to seamlessly bridge physical and virtual datacenters," explained the group in a blog post.
Microsoft is also tackling data protection and working to reduce failover complexity. Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 will offer uptime-improving business continuity options, including recovery features that span on-premise and cloud-based resources to minimize application outages.
The updates further simplify "the provisioning, delivery and operations of multi-tenant IT services," claims Microsoft, while carrying on with a consistent management experience across hybrid environments. System Center 2012 R2 will also help IT shops get to the bottom of applications slowdowns with performance and transaction monitoring for .NET and Java applications.
Arguing that "cloud computing is no longer a spectator sport," Microsoft's Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Windows Server and System Center, said that the updates form a software foundation that allow organizations to dive headlong into cloud services.
"We deliver that with a Cloud OS approach based on the massively scalable power of Windows Server & System Center which already power thousands of public and private clouds all over the world, the cloud-based management of Windows Intune and the on-premise management of System Center Configuration Manager," Anderson blogged.
"When combined, these solutions provide the unified environment that organizations of various sizes and shapes can use to manage each of their corporate-joined devices, as well as the apps they have running across any of their clouds and servers," added Anderson.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.