win8logoLast week at the Microsoft Management Summit 2012 (MMS 2012) in Las Vegas, we announced the official product name and editions for Windows 8 client as well as the official name of the server counterpart - Windows Server 2012 (formerly Windows Server “8”).  Now, we have not yet updated all of the web pages that say Windows Server “8” Beta to Windows Server 2012 but that is happening slowly but surely.  However, we know that many of you want to try your hands at the new server operating system but can’t always commit to a machine to install and get familiar with it.  Well, you’re in luck!

We have just released a whole series of Windows Server “8” Beta/Windows Server 2012 virtual hands-on labs that allow you to try out various capabilities of Windows Server 2012 without leaving your desk.  All you need is an internet connection, a supported browser, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, or even Windows 8 Consumer preview, and administrator permissions on your computer to install the hands-on lab client the first time.  Full system requirements for the virtual labs can be found here.

Once you have confirmed your computer meets the lab requirements, you can launch any of the labs available, including:

  • Active Directory Deployment and Management Enhancements
    In this lab, you will learn how to deploy Active Directory Domain Controllers with Windows Server "8". You will deploy domain controllers using the new Server Manager, as well as deploying remote domain controllers using Windows PowerShell. You will be able to explore the new Active Directory Management tool and use its PowerShell History Viewer.
  • Configuring a Highly Available iSCSI Target
    In this lab, you will learn how Windows Server "8" can provide storage remotely to any machine. You will build clusters using shared storage and build iSCSI high-availability instances--observing highly available application communication during cluster failover.
  • Configuring Hyper-V over Highly Available SMB Storage
    In this lab, you will learn how to configure a file server cluster to support running Hyper-V virtual machines from SMB file shares. You will create the file share, configure delegation, and then create a new VM on SMB storage.
  • Implementing Storage Pools and Storage Spaces
    In this lab, you will work with the new storage spaces technology in Windows Server "8". You will first create new storage pools and virtual disks, and then you will work with those virtual disks in both Server Manager and Control Panel.
  • Introduction to Windows PowerShell Fundamentals
    Windows PowerShell is a command-line shell and scripting language that helps you achieve greater control and productivity. Using a new admin-focused scripting language, more than 230 standard command-line tools, and consistent syntax and utilities, Windows PowerShell enables you to more easily control system administration and accelerate automation.
  • What’s New in Windows PowerShell 3.0
    In this lab, you will explore some of the new features and functionality in Windows PowerShell 3.0 to enable you to more easily control system administration and accelerate automation.
  • Managing Branch Offices
    In this lab, you will learn how the branch office scenario has been improved in Windows Server "8" including new branch cache enhancements.
  • Managing Network Infrastructure
    In this lab, you will explore new network management capabilities in Windows Server "8". You will learn how to implement Network Teaming as well as how to implement DHCP failover. Finally, explore new Windows PowerShell cmdlets for network management.
  • Managing Your Network Infrastructure with IP Address Management
    Network management is core to running a business, yet the tools that IT professionals need can be too costly or not available from Microsoft. With Windows Server "8", we change that with the introduction of IP Address Management (IPAM).
  • Managing Windows Server "8" with Server Manager and Windows PowerShell 3.0
    In this lab, you will learn how the Server Manager and Windows PowerShell framework in Windows Server "8" delivers an enhanced, multi-server management experience. You will learn to perform tasks such as multi-server management. You will also explore new Windows PowerShell capabilities including new cmdlets and the Windows PowerShell gateway.
  • Online Backup Service
    In this lab, you will use Windows Server Backup to back up your critical data to Windows Azure. This lab will teach you the entire set of workflows around backing up and recovering your data to Windows Azure.
  • Using Dynamic Access Control to Automatically and Centrally Secure Data
    In this lab, you will explore Dynamic Access Control in Windows Server "8". You will learn how to create Central Access Policies, explore the new Access Denied Remediation features, as well as learn how to use the audit capabilities built into Dynamic Access Control.

We will be adding more labs as well, so keep going back to the Windows Server “8” Beta/Windows Server 2012 virtual hands-on labs page for the latest updates.

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