Windows Server 2012 R2 and Azure Pack work better together

While Windows Server 2012 supports some aspects of Azure Pack, R2 has five added or enhanced features

In last week's post, I outlined how the Windows Azure Pack can help developers write software once for both their Azure cloud platform and their in-house Windows Server 2012 servers. Since then, many people have asked me what's the difference between using Windows Azure Pack with Windows Server 2012 and using it with Windows Server 2012 R2.

Here is what is supported in Azure Pack by both Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2:

  • Windows Azure Pack Core
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2
  • System Center Operations Manager 2012 R2
  • Service Bus
  • Service Reporting

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And here is what only Windows 2012 R2 supports:

  • Client browser, meaning you need no console connect with Windows Server 2012
  • Active Directory Federation Services
  • Windows Azure websites, including performance enhancements such as idle page time-out
  • Service Provider Foundation 2012 R2, though this is supported in Windows Server 2012 if Windows Management Framework 4.0 is installed as a prerequisite
  • Service Management Automation

Some of these features may be new to you, so the fact that they are made better by or exist only in Windows Server 2012 R2 may not mean anything out of the box. Let me demystify some of this.

Take Service Management Automation, for example. This PowerShell-based capability lets operations be exposed through a self-servce portal, such as to manage workflows (called runbooks) composed of cmdlet collections.

You may also be wondering what Service Provider Foundation R2 is. This connects to System Center Orchestrator so that you can offer multitenant self-service portals as if you were an IaaS provider.

Some of these features may not be on your road map yet, in which case having Windows Server 2012 R2 isn't a prerequisite to using Azure Pack. But Windows Server 2012 R2 and Azure Pack do more together, and you'll likely take advantage of the pair in the future, if not immediately.

This story, "Windows Server 2012 R2 and Azure Pack work better together," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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