Posted By Partha Srinivasan
Product Manager, Windows Embedded Server and SQL Products
Today Windows Server 2012 R2 for Embedded Systems becomes generally available.
We think this is going to become the product for purpose-built, next-generation, enterprise class server appliances. With this edition, enterprises and OEMs now have a lot more capabilities and a host of improvements they can leverage to enhance performance, save space and ensure nearly constant uptime.
For one thing, we’ve substantially improved the product’s virtualization capabilities. This is good news for OEMs in particular, who have been utilizing virtualization to consolidate the physical architecture of their solutions and improve the ROI of their products.
R2 also features a host of upgrades designed to improve performance in a day-to-day, real-world way. The time it takes to complete a live migration has been cut in half. We’ve increased data transfer rates to 10 gigabits per second, greatly enhancing speed. We’ve also added support for USB access in guest VMs, making it easier to perform software deployment and file management. These improvements will enable OEMs to offer better products to support real world scenarios where optimized load balancing and live migration are critical.
The combination of those two areas means that not only can you run a smaller number of server appliances, but you can do so at a higher capacity. This should result in some really interesting scenarios for operating high-performance solutions in reduced-space environments. Already we’ve seen our customer Lufthansa Systems develop a small-footprint server appliance for use in airplanes, to facilitate in-flight entertainment.
Another key improvement is the new Storage Tiers feature. This automates the assignment of storage based on the application’s local priority. If it’s a highly critical workload, the Storage Tiers feature enables the system to pick a high-speed storage solution such as an SSD drive, while allocating less-critical workloads elsewhere. This capability to optimize storage has big potential to improve the speed and performance of the workload.
Security is also a top concern for many of our customers. Improvements have been made here too, including the Protected User Groups feature, as well as some new authentication policy silos including end user protection.
For many of our customers, availability is the No. 1 concern, and even though Windows Server is one of the most reliable systems out there, we continue to focus on this. The SMD Failover Cluster feature has been optimized to where total recovery time is less than 20 seconds between the system going down to being completely back online. So now planned interruptions can happen very quickly, and of course for unplanned events, there is a substantial drop in terms of downtime.
This is critical for OEM partners like Motorola Solutions, whose PremierOne computer-aided dispatch system — based on Windows Server 2008 R2 for Embedded Systems — is transforming the way 911 operators communicate with officers and first responders in the field. It bears mentioning that when it comes to emergency response work, seconds count. The ability to provide an efficient, coordinated response and arm police officers and emergency personnel with critical information at the point of impact can help avert disaster, and save lives.
Motorola’s emergency-response solution really is a great story, and a great example of what’s possible with the right blend of modern applications, high-performance hardware and today’s rock-solid server software.
Releasing a new product is always a hectic time, but we couldn’t be happier to present this newest member of the Windows Embedded family. To read more about Windows Server 2012 R2 for Embedded Systems, visit our product page; read more about the new features and capabilities in my previous blogs.