First Look: Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview!

MS seems to be hugging the cloud with R2. I'm not so sure companies are THAT ready to put sensitive data into the cloud just yet.

We'll see...

Nearly one year after Microsoft declared its plan to transform itself into a devices and services company, the key underpinnings are taking shape. The cloud, of course, is the foundation of the services driving this transformation. Microsoft's commitment to cloud computing took off in earnest three years ago when CEO Steve Ballmer famously claimed that the company was "all in," meaning the cloud would be at the center of everything the company offers.

That won't happen overnight, but last year's release of Windows Server 2012 was a key component of what Microsoft has termed its "Cloud OS" platform. While easy enough to shrug off as marketing hype, it reasonably describes the tandem 2012 releases of Microsoft System Center and Windows Server as a cloud infrastructure platform designed to enable IT to build private clouds. It can now bridge those private clouds to the public cloud, and support a mixture of the two, which is routinely described as a hybrid cloud.

With Microsoft's devices and services shift and the emphasis on transitioning Windows Server into a cloud platform, it's no surprise that the forthcoming new release offers additional capabilities designed to carry that torch. Microsoft released a preview for testers of the new Windows Server 2012 R2, which the company said should be available for general availability by year's end.

Rather than accepting Microsoft's description of Windows Server as a cloud OS at face value, it makes sense to delve a little bit deeper and take an objective look at the cloud readiness of Windows Server 2012 R2. After all, countless software vendors have simply added the word cloud to their products as a way of appealing to the masses, but have done so without adding any significant cloud-specific features.

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