If you missed last week’s installment, learn about Active Directory and Group Policy.

The correlation between Windows 8 and Server 2012 is a staggering move forward for Microsoft. In my opinion, this is the best integration of User and Server Operating Systems that I have come across in a long time. There is a great case to make that these two are meant to go together like peanut butter and jelly.

There are multiple factors that make this the case one the greatest examples of this is how with the Windows Remote Server Administration Tools that you can download. This allows for a fairly seamless administration of all your server that are running Windows Server 2012. You can also manage some features of Server 2008 and 2008 R2 servers as well.

Two other ways that things are better with Windows 8:


BranchCache is a technology that saw its first real uses in Windows Server 2008 R2 and is improved in Windows 8. This program allows for two remote sites to be set up across a Wide Area Network (WAN). This allows for transfer of files and while not pulling the entire file across each time it is needed. The destination servers can have it “cached” at their branch.

In the past, to get this type of file sharing to work, you had to have a specific Group Policy Object (GPO) in place for each office. Now the process is streamlined into one GPO for everything, thus allowing you to actually take advantage of its functionality without a lot of prep and administration and configuration. In the older versions of BranchCache, this was much more daunting since each server had to have a separate policy. At this point many administrators just said, “Forget it”!

Also, BrachCache is now manageable PowerShell and WMI.


DirectAccess is the other feature that is better with Windows 8. In essence, it is meant as a VPN secondary option or in some cases a full replacement. Most engineers that I have worked with and interacted with tell me horror stories of trying to get DirectAccess to work. In telling the stories the engineers get a glazed over look and start to get chilled.

The overall experience in configuring this Windows Feature in a real-time production environment and not a lab has not gone smoothly for a lot of people. In order to get this to work there were a lot of pieces that had to be in place. PC World had an article by Keith Schultz that summed it up quite well:

“DirectAccess, Microsoft’s pairing of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 for connect-anywhere access, is possibly the best thing Redmond has produced in a long time. Unfortunately for many, it just may be about five years too early.”

However, in Server 2012 DirectAccess and RRAS can coexist on the same server now because they are one server role.

Deployment is simplified as well now that Unified Access Gateway UAG functionality integrates into the new version of DirectAccess in Server 2012. Whether or not this will catch on and be what people are hoping for when it comes to supporting users that are away from the office, we shall have to wait and see…

Ready to adopt Server 2012 into your office environment? Call us today: 877.552.0404!