by STB Blogger

Today at TechEd Europe in Madrid, Spain, Microsoft Server and Tools (STB) Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson delivered the opening keynote, further demonstrating how Microsoft’s Cloud OS vision will help businesses thrive in the era of cloud computing and connected devices. He also announced the availability of preview software for Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2014, all of which were unveiled earlier this month at TechEd North America. Customers can download the preview software from the TechNet Evaluation Center beginning today.

More information about the day's news and global customers who are betting their business on Microsoft's device and services strategy can be found here. For more insights on Microsoft's cloud-first products read this blog post by Brad Anderson and watch his keynote live or on-demand.

More on preview software available for evaluation today:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 provide a wealth of new advancements to help IT organizations build and deliver private and hybrid cloud infrastructure for their businesses. Some of the highlights include:
    • Enabling hybrid cloud – Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center enable virtual machine portability across customer, service provider and Windows Azure clouds, while a new System Center Management Pack for Windows Azure enhances cross-cloud management of virtual machine and storage resources. Windows Azure Backup and Hyper-V Recovery Manager provide offsite backup and disaster recovery options.
    • Windows Azure Pack provides Windows Azure technology that enterprises and services providers can run on their Windows Server infrastructure for multi-tenant web and virtual machine cloud services.
    • Built-in software-defined networking – Site-to-site VPN Gateway helps customers seamlessly bridge physical and virtual networks and extend them from their datacenter to service provider datacenters.
    • High performance, cost effective storage – Features such as Storage Spaces Tiering, VHDX resizing and de-duplication for virtual desktop infrastructure provide high performance for critical on-premises workloads (like SQL and Hyper-V) using lower-cost, industry-standard hardware.
    • Empowering employee productivity – Windows Server Work Folders, Web App Proxy, improvements to Active Directory Federation Services and other technologies will help companies give their employees consistent access to company resources on the device of their choice.
  • SQL Server 2014 will deliver mission critical performance and near real-time business intelligence with comprehensive in-memory technologies, as well as enable new hybrid cloud scenarios with Windows Azure. Everything is built-in and easy to use, with a low delivery cost. New features included in the SQL Server 2014 CTP1 Preview include:
    • In-memory Online Transaction Processing (OLTP): New in-memory capabilities for OLTP built in to SQL Server provide significant performance improvements for new and existing  applications.
    • Enhanced in-memory ColumnStore: First introduced in SQL Server 2012, Microsoft has enhanced the in-memory ColumnStore to be updateable and offer compression benefits. These enhancements mean greater storage savings and improved query speeds, enabling customers to process larger amounts of data up to 10 times faster.
    • Deployment wizard for SQL Server in Windows Azure Virtual Machine: Point and click user interface built into SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to help customers easily deploy existing SQL Server databases into Windows Azure Virtual Machine.

Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 are slated to be released by the end of the calendar year, with SQL Server 2014 slated for shortly thereafter. For more information on the news and customers announced at TechEd Europe 2013, please visit the virtual press room and follow the conversation on Twitter at @teched_europe and #TEE13.