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Windows Server 2012: Towards More Mobility
The opportunity to work from anywhere with nothing more than an Internet connection was a big step in technological evolution
By: Hovhannes Avoyan
Nov. 27, 2012 07:00 AM
In our previous article, Windows Server 2012 – New Advanced Features, we introduced some of the many new features that Windows Server 2012 provides to its clients. In this article we will focus on some more, particularly features that ease remote access.
The opportunity to work from anywhere with nothing more than an Internet connection was a big step in technological evolution. Windows Server 2012 continues to expand this idea. The features that make it easier for customers to decide which operating system to use and whether or not to upgrade are:
The DirectAccess Feature
Network Access Protection
This was another feature that was introduced with Windows Server 2008. It is now integrated with DirectAccess, so client computers have to match certain security criteria before they are allowed to use corporate resources.
If there are branch offices in an organization, they are usually connected over a not very fast WAN (wide area network) link. In such a scenario it is a good idea to take advantage of the Windows Server’s BranchCache feature. As its name suggests, this feature can be used to cache content in branches. You can deploy it in two modes – distributed cache and hosted cache. In distributed cache mode, when a client requests information from the main office for the first time and receives it, it caches it. So when another client requests the same information it is redirected to the first client and it downloads the information locally over the faster LAN (local area network) link. In hosted cache mode, there are specifically configured hosted cache servers in the branch offices and the information stays on them for other local users to access it. The idea is the same, when a client requests information from the main site for the first time, the information is downloaded but it’s also stored on the hosted cache server. So when another client requests the same information it is redirected to the hosted cache server and it downloads it locally. You could also use RODC (read only domain controllers) in the branch offices so that users can login with cached credentials instead of querying the main site’s domain controllers every time.
For clients with less computing power, the so called thin clients, Windows Server 2012 offers Remote Desktop Services (introduced with that name in Windows Server 2008 and also known as Terminal Services before that). This allows users to take advantage of resource intensive applications running on a central server instead of on their local machine.
The last new thing I would like to mention in my list here is Windows to Go. What it allows you to do is to pack your whole operating system as an image and then boot from it from any computer using a USB stick. There are certain prerequisites though. You should be using Windows 8 Enterprise, Pro is not enough, and you should have a big enough USB stick – 32 GB at least.
With all of these new features on hand, Windows Server 2012 makes remote working a pleasant and easy experience.
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