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Windows Server 2012: Hardware Makers Join The Party

Dell, Fujitsu support Microsoft's revamped server OS with new offerings; chip rivals Intel and AMD also weigh in.

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Chipmakers and computer builders are hoping to cash in on Tuesday's introduction of Windows Server 2012 with a range of new products designed to take full advantage of the operating system's enhanced capabilities around virtualization, cloud computing, and manageability.

Longtime Microsoft partner Dell used the occasion to talk up its new, 12th generation PowerEdge servers, which can tap Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V tools to create a virtualized server environment that can scale as required. Both the PowerEdge M420 and C6220 are designed to deliver dynamic virtualization through Hyper-V.

"Windows Server 2012 was built on the foundation of Microsoft's deep experience with very large cloud datacenters," said Mike Schultz, Microsoft's general manager for Windows Server marketing. "Dell's 12th generation PowerEdge servers take advantage of Windows Server 2012 breakthrough capabilities across storage, networking, and virtualization."

On the management side, Dell's Lifecycle Controller Integration technology is optimized to work directly with automation tools in Windows Server 2012 System Center Configuration Manager, for faster, automated updates of BIOS and firmware.

[ Learn more about Windows Server 2012. Read Windows Sever 2012: 3 Key Changes. ]

Fujitsu is also bringing new hardware to the Windows Server 2012 party. It's offering its Primergy servers--available as racks, blades, or towers--in configurations that are pre-tested to run Microsoft's new OS. Preconfigured platforms include Cluster-in-a-box, FlexFrame on Windows for SAP, and Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track, which is intended to help businesses quickly and easily establish private clouds in their data centers.

"We are underlining Fujitsu's position as an innovative infrastructure solution provider by introducing an entire lineup of solutions based on the new operating system," said Jens-Pieter Seick, senior VP for enterprise business at Fujitsu Technology Solutions.

Hewlett-Packard did not make any formal announcements around Windows Server 2012, which surprised some observers given its close hardware partnership with Redmond. Nonetheless, the company is fully on board with its ProLiant server line. A number of models in the ProLiant BL, DL, and ML lines are Windows Server 2012 compatible, as are some in the SL and MicroServer lines. [ Editor's Note: After the publication of this article, HP contacted us to say that it issued a Windows Server 2012-related press release on September 5. ]

Older models can be equipped with new, compatible drivers through a download of the HP Server Pack for ProLiant. Users wishing to upgrade ProLiant servers to Windows Server 2012 will need to do so manually, for now, as HP has yet to release a version of its Intelligent Provisioning toolkit that is compatible with the new OS.

On the chip side, AMD has built the latest generation of its 64-bit Opteron processors with Windows Server 2012 in mind. Both the 4200 and 6200 series can handle Windows Server 2012 extreme virtualization scenarios, such as running up to 64 virtual processors and up to a terabyte of memory on a single, virtual machine, or running up to 4,000 VMs per cluster.

AMD said it's also building its forthcoming Piledriver architecture to run in highly virtualized environments. "Our next-generation Piledriver core takes further advantage of the advances in virtualization, cloud computing and managing increasingly large sets of data," said AMD VP Suresh Gopalakrishnan.

Not to be outdone, Intel has prepped its Xeon E5 and E7 processors for use in boxes running Windows Server 2012. It's also updating its management software for compatibility with the OS. Intel Active System Console, Multi-Server Manager, and Server Continuity Suite should all be ready for Windows Server 2012 by the first quarter of 2013, according to the company, while Intel Deployment Assistant should be ready later this year.

Microsoft released Windows Server 2012 on Tuesday. It has gone through a beta process in which it was evaluated by more than 300,000 customers, including companies like ING Direct and Aflac. Microsoft also tested it internally by using it to power its Bing search engine.

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4/15/2014 | 1:28:01 PM
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