Windows server 2012 feature comparison with Windows server 2003

General features of Windows server 2012 not supported in server 2003


ACCESS CONTROL                                                                            

DirectAccess –

  • Unified server role that combines three networking services—DirectAccess, routing, and remote access—into one unified server role with remote access.
  • Single point of configuration and management for remote access server deployment with a new unified server role for DirectAccess and Routing and Remote Access service (RRAS)


Dynamic Access Control

  • entralized control and auditing access to file servers with Claims Based Access and File Classification
  • Ability to restrict access to sensitive files regardless of user actions through file security policy at the domain level, which is enforced across virtually all file servers in Windows Server 2012 with File Classification, access control policies, and audit policies


Metro-style application network isolation (New) –

  • Ability to set and enforce network boundaries to prevent compromised applications from accessing restricted networks
  • Customizable firewall rules for Metro-style applications in addition to firewall rules that can be created for programs and services


Windows PowerShell cmdlets for Windows Firewall (New) –

  • Extensive cmdlets for configuring and managing Windows Firewall
  • Fully configurable and manageable Windows Firewall, Internet Protocol security (IPsec), and related features with a more powerful and scriptable Windows PowerShell


Network Access Protection (NAP)

  • A client health policy creation, enforcement, and remediation technology to help system administrators establish and automatically enforce health policies, which can include software requirements, security update requirements, and other settings


Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC)

  • Support for online signing and automated key management, as part of the update process for DNSSEC support in the authoritative functions of Domain Name System (DNS) servers


Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP)

  • Architectural framework that provides extensibility for the authentication methods of commonly-used protected network access technologies, such as Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) 802.1X-based wireless access, IEEE 802.1X-based wired access, and Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) connections such as VPN  – SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


802.1X Authenticated Wired Access

  • IEEE 802.1X Authenticated Wired Service for IEEE 802.3 Ethernet network clients
  • EAP-Tunneled Transport Layer Security (EAP-TTLS) added to the list of network authentication methods included by default


Read-only domain controller (RODC)

  • Domain controller that hosts read-only partitions of a database in Active Directory
  • New ability to deploy RODC via Windows PowerShell and to virtual machines


Kerberos constrained delegation across domains

  • Administrative permission needed only for the back-end service account
  • Back-end permitted to authorize which front-end service accounts can impersonate users against their resources


Flexible Authentication Secure Tunneling (FAST)

  • Protected channel between domain-joined client and domain controller with FAST


Access controls in Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)

  • Authentication of users requesting access to the directory
  • Use of security descriptors, called access control lists (ACLs), on directory objects to determine which objects an authenticated user has access to



ACTIVE DIRECTORY SERVICES                                                          

Virtualized domain controller cloning (New) –

  • Ability to create replicas of virtualized domain controllers through cloning of existing ones
  • Virtualization-safe technologies and rapid deployment of virtual domain controllers through cloning


Virtualization supported (New) –

  • Virtual domain controllers hosted on hypervisor platforms that expose an identifier called VM-Generation ID (hypervisor-agnostic mechanism) that can detect and employ necessary safety measures to protect the sanctity of the AD DS environment if a virtual machine is rolled back in time by an unsupported mechanism (such as the application of a virtual machine snapshot


Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) 2.1 as a server role (New) –

  • Simplified, security-enhanced identity federation and web single sign-on (SSO) capabilities
  • Full integration of AD FS 2.0 into Windows Server 2012 (can be installed on Windows Server 2003 R2 and 2008 R2)


Active Directory Domain Services claims in Active Directory Federation Services (New) –

  • Ability to populate Security Assertions Markup Language (SAML) tokens with user- and device-claims taken directly from the Kerberos ticket through AD FS (v2.1) in Windows Server 2012


Off-premises domain join (New) –

  • Domain-join computers over the Internet for domains enabled for Direct Access


Fine-grained password policy

  • Simplified management of password-setting objects (PSOs) through Active Directory Administrative Center


Database Mounting Tool

  • Improved recovery processes with ability to compare data as it exists in snapshots or backups that are taken at different times, enabling better decision-making about what data to restore after data loss


Active Directory-Based Activation (AD BA) (New) –

  • Simplified configuring of the distribution and management of volume software licenses, with the Volume Activation Services server role, Key Management Service (KMS), and activation based in Active Directory


Windows PowerShell History Viewer (New) –

  • Ability to view Windows PowerShell cmdlets as they run
  • Ability to display the equivalent Windows PowerShell cmdlets in the History Viewer of Windows PowerShell with Active Directory Administrative Center


Active Directory Recycle Bin

  • Recovery of accidentally deleted objects from backups of AD DS taken by Windows Server Backup with Active Directory domains
  • Active Directory object not physically removed from the database immediately – SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Active Directory Domain Services integration

  • Ability to create cluster computer objects in targeted organizational units or by default in the same organizational unit as the cluster nodes


Server Core installations for Active Directory Lightweight Directory Service

  • Role support for Server Core installations


Backup and Restore for Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services

  • Ability to back up and restore databases to an existing AD LDS instance – SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Multiple directory service instances on a single server

  • Ability to concurrently run multiple instances of AD LDS on a single computer, with an independently managed schema for each AD LDS instance – SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Active Directory Rights Management Services as a server role

  • Available as server role with several new features not available in previous versions


Persistent protection –

  • Protection of content on the go with AD RMS
  • Ability to specify who can open, modify, print, or manage content
  • Rights stay with content—even when its transferred outside the organization


Usage Policy Templates

  • Ability to create a Usage Policy Template and apply it to content, eliminating the need to recreate usage rights settings for comprehensive file protection


Software Development Kit for Active Directory Rights Management Services

  • Compatible with rights-enabled applications


Self-enrollment of the Active Directory Rights Management Services cluster

  • Enrollment via local computer, to help eliminate the need to connect to Microsoft Enrollment Service through a server self-enrollment certificate


Integration with Active Directory Federation Services

  • Integration of AD RMS and AD FS to enable leveraging of existing federated relationships for collaboration with external partners


Windows PowerShell for deploying Active Directory Rights Management Services (New) –

  • Support for more secure and flexible remote server deployment of AD RMS using PowerShell


Enhancements in Active Directory Rights Management Services and SQL Server requirements (New) –

  • Improved support for remote deployment of AD RMS and Microsoft SQL Server25
  • AD RMS installer account must have system administration permissions in the SQL Server installation
  • SQL Server Browser service must be running to locate available SQL instances


Integration with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server

  • AD FS can be used to facilitate an out-of-the-box SSO solution for Microsoft SharePoint


Integration with Active Directory Rights Management Services

  • AD FS can integrate with AD RMS to support the sharing of rights-protected content between organizations, helping eliminate the need for AD RMS to be deployed in both organizations


Integration with Dynamic Access Control scenarios (New) –

  • AD FS can be used with the user and device claims that are issued using AD DS for various DAC scenarios
  • Ability of AD FS to consume AD DS claims included in Kerberos tickets as a result of domain authentication


Improved installation experience with Server Manager (New) –

  • Installation of AD FS server role with Server Manager
  • Automatic listing and installing of virtually all services that AD FS depends on during the AD FS server role installation with Server Manager and its configuration wizard when AD FS server role is installed


Windows PowerShell cmdlet tools (New) –

  • New cmdlets for installing the AD FS server role and for initial configuration of the federation server and federation server proxy in addition to management capabilities based in PowerShell that are provided in AD FS 2.0


Certification authorities (CAs)

  • Management of CAs, certificate revocation, and certificate enrollment27; root and subordinate CAs; and enterprise and stand-alone CAs – SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Web enrollment

  • Enrollment mechanism for organizations that need to issue and renew certificates for users and computers that are not joined to the domain or not connected directly to the network, and for users of non-Microsoft operating systems – SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Microsoft Online Responder Service

  • Ability to configure and manage Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) validation and revocation checking in networks based on Microsoft Windows


Network Device Enrollment Service (NDES)

  • Microsoft implementation of the Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP), a communication protocol that makes it possible for software running on network devices such as routers and switches, which cannot otherwise be authenticated on the network, to enroll for X.509 certificates from a certification authority – SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Certificate Enrollment Policy Web Service

  • AD CS role service for obtaining certificate enrollment policy information for humans and computers


Certificate Enrollment Web Service

  • Certificate enrollment with HTTPS protocol for users and computers


Integration with Server Manager

  • Integration of AD CS server role and its role services into Server Manager


Deployment and management capabilities of Windows PowerShell

  • Ability to configure or remove configurations for virtually all AD CS role services with the AD CS Deployment PowerShell cmdlets


Active Directory Certificate Services role services on Server Core (New) –

  • Ability to install and run virtually all AD CS role services on Server Core installations of Windows Server 2012 or the Minimal Server Interface installation options


Automatic renewal of certificates for non-domain joined computers (New) –

  • Builds on Certificate Enrollment Web Services by adding the ability to automatically renew certificates for computers that are part of untrusted AD DS domains or not joined to a domain


Enforcement of certificate renewal with same key (New) –

  • Increased security with AD CS that requires certificate renewal with the same key, enabling the same assurance level of the original key to be maintained throughout its life cycle


Support for international domain names (New) –

  • Support for Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) that contain characters that cannot be represented in ASCII with AD CS


Increased security with default on certification authorities role service (New) –

  • Enforcement of enhanced security by CA role service in requests sent to it
  • Encryption required for packets requesting a certificate




Hyper-V Extensible Switch (New) –

  • A Layer-2 virtual network switch that provides programmatically managed and extensible capabilities to connect virtual machines to the physical network


Shared-nothing live migration (New) –

  • New features for moving a virtual machine from one host to another while running, helping reduce the need for origin and destination servers to share common storage


Live storage migration (New) –

  • Ability to move VHDs that are attached to a running virtual machine
  • Ability to transfer VHDs to a new location for upgrading or migrating storage, performing back-end storage maintenance, or redistributing the storage load


Live Merging Snapshots (New) –

  • Ability to merge snapshots back into the virtual machine while it continues to run Hyper V Live Merge


Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) support (New) –

  • NUMA support inside virtual machines
  • Ability to project NUMA topology onto a virtual machines, guest operating systems, and applications that can make intelligent NUMA decisions


Runtime Memory Configuration (New) –

  • Ability to make configuration changes to dynamic memory (increasing maximum memory or decreasing minimum memory) when a virtual machine is running



VHDX (New) –

  • Support for VHDX file format with Hyper-V
  • VHDX support for up to 64 TB of storage
  • Protection from corruption due to power failures by logging updates to the VHDX metadata structures
  • Prevention of performance degradation on large-sector physical disks through optimizing structure alignment


Hyper-V Resource Metering (New) –

  • Tracks and reports amount of data transferred per IP address or virtual machine


Virtual Fibre Channel (New) –

  • Fibre Channel ports within the guest operating system


Hyper-V Replica (New) –

  • Ability to replicate virtual machines among storage systems, clusters, and datacenters between two sites to provide business continuity and failure recovery


Simultaneous live migrations (New) –

  • Ability to migrate several virtual machines with support for simultaneous live migrations at the same time
  • Live migrations not limited to a cluster
  • Virtual machines can be migrated across cluster boundaries and between stand-alone servers that are not part of a cluster


Multitenant security and isolation

  • Fully isolated network layer of the datacenter with server virtualization, through programmatically managed and extensible capabilities that help users connect virtual machines to physical networks with policy enforcement for enhanced security and isolation


Private virtual local area network (PVLAN) (New) –

  • Ability to isolate virtual machines from each other—for example, virtual machines cannot contact other virtual machines over the network—while still maintaining external network connectivity for nearly all virtual machines


Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) guard and router guard (New) –

  • Drops server messages from unauthorized virtual machines acting as DHCP servers, and automatically drops DHCP server traffic from other virtual switch ports
  • Router guard drops router advertisement and redirection messages from unauthorized virtual machines acting as routers


Extension monitoring and extension uniqueness (New) –

  • Support for multiple monitoring and filtering extensions at the “enter” and “exit” portions of the Hyper-V Extensible Switch
  • Extension state/configuration unique to each instance of a Hyper-V Extensible Switch on a machine


Multiple extensions on same switch (New) –

  • Multiple extensions that can coexist on the same Hyper-V Extensible Switch


Network virtualization New –

  • Isolation of networks and network traffic to help eliminate the use of VLANs to help eliminate need for hierarchical IP address assignment across virtual machines
  • Easier to manage on a large scale compared to Hyper-V version in Windows Server 2008 R2


IP address rewrite (New) –

  • Mapping of each virtual machine customer address to a unique host provider address
  • Hyper-V network virtualization uses an IP address rewrite to map the customer address to the provider address


Generic routing encapsulation (New) –

  • Mapping of virtual networks to physical networks with Hyper-V network virtualization to generic routing encapsulation (GRE) of IP packets
  • Ability to use as few as one IP address per host


Hyper-V host and workload support

  • Ability to configure up to 160 logical processors on hardware, 2 TB of physical memory, 32 virtual processors, and up to 512 GB of memory on a virtual machine
  • Support for up to 64 nodes and 4,000 virtual machines in a cluster


Dynamic memory, startup memory, and minimum memory

  • Hyper-V can reclaim the unused memory from virtual machines with a minimum memory value lower than their startup value


Hyper-V Smart Paging (New) –

  • Bridges the gap between minimum and startup memory if a virtual machine is configured with a lower minimum memory than its startup memory (Hyper-V needs additional memory to restart it)


Runtime memory configuration (New) –

  • Ability to make configuration changes to dynamic memory (increasing maximum memory or decreasing minimum memory) when a virtual machine is running


Quality of Service (QoS) minimum bandwidth (New) –

  • Hyper-V uses minimum bandwidth to assign specific bandwidth for each type of traffic and to ensure fair sharing during congestion


Incremental backup

  • Hyper-V supports incremental backup (backing up only the differences) of VHDs while the virtual machine is running
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 ‒ Support for full backups only



  • New support for guest clustering via Fibre Channel, new live migration enhancements, massive scale, encrypted cluster volumes, Cluster Shared Volume 2.0 (CSV), Hyper-V application monitoring, virtual machine failover prioritization, inbox live migration queuing, affinity (and anti-affinity) virtual machine rules, and File Server transparent failover



Application monitoring (New) –

  • Ability to monitor health of key services provided by virtual machines
  • Higher availability for workloads not supporting clustering with automatic correction (like restarting a virtual machine or moving it to a different server)




Storage Spaces (New) –

  • Ability to leverage commodity storage into virtual storage pools, which can then be provisioned as Storage Spaces
  • Virtualized drives that can be formatted and accessed just like a physical drive, which can also be dynamically resized with the addition of more physical drives to the storage pool


File System improvements – ReFS, deduplication, thin provisioning and trim, Chkdsk –

  • Support for multi-terabyte volumes and a new model of Chksdsk that detects corruption even when the volume is online
  • New local file system called Resilient File System (ReFS), which maximizes data availability and online operation despite errors that would historically cause data loss or downtime
  • Support for data de-duplication
  • Identification of thinly provisioned virtual disks
  • Standardized notifications when use thresholds are crossed
  • Platform for maximizing application use by giving up storage space when needed


Clustered Share Volume

  • Storage system for scale-out file servers, which can provide optimized availability and scalable file-based (such as SMB) server application storage
  • CSVs now appear as CSV File System (CSVFS) instead of NTFS


Live storage migration (New) –

  • Ability to perform live migrations of virtual machine storage independently of the virtual machine itself, with virtually no downtime


SMB Direct (RDMA) and SMB Multichannel (New) –

  • Load balanced failover connections to remote file servers that not only fail over when connections are lost, but also evaluate the condition of available connections to route traffic away from congested links38
  • Support for network adapters that have Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) and can function at full speed with low latency, while using very little CPU


Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) (New) –

  • New feature of the storage stack in Windows Server 2012
  • Used with offload-capable SAN storage hardware to enable a storage device to perform a file copy operation without the main processor of the host actually reading the content from one storage place and writing it to another


SMB for workloads (New) –

  • Ability of remote file server shares to be used as storage for workloads such as Hyper-V and SQL Server 2012


Network File System (NFS) support

  • File-sharing solution for enterprises with a mixed Windows and UNIX environment
  • Ability to reliably store and run VMware ESX virtual infrastructures with FS support on Windows Server 2012, while using the advanced high availability of Windows


Built in Microsoft iSCSI Software Target support (New) –

  • Integrated feature that provides storage from a server over a TCP/IP network, including shared storage for applications that are hosted in a failover cluster


Management (Server Manager and PowerShell)

  • Single point of access to management snap-ins for virtually all installed roles
  • Snap-in for managing Storage Spaces along with storage that can be managed through PowerShell


WEB AND APP PLAT                                                                        

Multitenant high-density websites (New) –

  • Hosting-friendly web server platform with FTP Logon Attempt Restriction and improved site density, centralized SSL certificate support, and server name indication
  • Increased IIS scalability with SSL scalability, centralized SSL certificate support, and NUMA-aware scalability


Server Name Indicator (SNI) (New) –

  • Binding a more secure site required a unique network endpoint using an IP address and a port in previous versions of Windows Server, which often meant having a dedicated IP address for each secure site because site owners wanted their secure sites to be running on a standard SSL port
  • Support for increased density of secure sites for greater scalability of sites


Centralized SSL Certificate Management (New) –

  • Central storage of SSL certificates on a file share to simplify certificate management and lower the total cost of ownership
  • Rapid addition of servers to web farm to help eliminate the need to individually configuring SSL


NUMA-aware scalability (New) –

  • Ability to scale up web servers beyond 32 processors and use next-generation hardware


IIS CPU Throttling (New) –

  • Ability to set maximum CPU consumption for individual IIS 8.0 application pools, helping every application get ample processor time
  • Ability to create sandbox for each tenant and ensure that no single tenant consumes virtually all of a web server’s processing power


FTP Service

  • FTP publishing on a web server


FTP Logon Attempt Restrictions

  • Protection against brute force attacks with automatic detection of attacks in-progress and blocking of future requests from the same address with Windows Server 2012 and IIS 8.0


Application initialization (New) –

  • Ability to proactively start ASP.NET applications with IIS 8.0
  • Applications available virtually all the time
  • Initialization of ASP.NET applications before users need it
  • Returns static pages to users instead of making users wait on a blank browser page


Dynamic IP restrictions (New) –

  • Dynamic filters to automatically block potentially harmful IP addresses with IIS 8.0


WebSocket Protocol (New) –

  • Encrypted, real-time, bidirectional communications between client and server


ASP.NET Support (2.0, 3.0, 3.5, and 4.5)

  • Multiple ASP.NET applications with different .NET Framework versions to run simultaneously with Windows Server 2012 with IIS 8.0 – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


ASP.NET 3.5 and 4.5 Application Management

  • Graphical and command-line management tools to manage both ASP.NET 3.5 and ASP.NET 4.5 applications with IIS 8.0 in Windows Server 2012 – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Multiple language support

  • Support for programming languages, such as .NET, PHP, Node.js, and Python. Enhanced support for PHP and MySQL through IIS extensions. ASP.NET 4.5 integration and support for latest HTML5 standards – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003



Cross-premises application platform (New) –

  • Integration of applications between on-premises environments and the cloud (including Windows Azure)


Application and programming symmetry (New) –

  • Shared development model with Windows Server 2012 and Windows Azure


Common development platform and tools (New) –

  • Common development environment for .NET developers to build cloud and on-premises applications on


Application-layer connectivity and messaging (New) –

  • Access to on-premises applications through a cloud-based application




Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) networking devices (New) –

  • Hyper-V enables support for SR-IOV-capable network devices and enables the SR-IOV virtual function of a physical network adapter to be assigned directly to a virtual machine


NIC Teaming (New) –

  • Prevention of connectivity loss with a team of multiple network interface cards for bandwidth aggregation and traffic failover


Network virtualization

  • Isolation of networks and network traffic to help eliminate the use of VLANs
  • Reduced need for hierarchical IP address assignment across virtual machines


DHCP server failover (New) –

  • Ability to deploy two DHCP servers for high availability of DHCP services to clients, including replicating lease information between them
  • DHCP servers can be deployed in a non-clustered failover configuration that includes multi-subnet support


Hyper-V Replica (New) –

  • Storage-agnostic and workload-agnostic solution that replicates virtual machines efficiently, periodically, and asynchronously over networks to a remote site or location for failure recovery


Dynamic Virtual Machine Queue (VMQ)

  • Enables a host’s network adapter to pass DMA packets directly into individual virtual machine memory stacks
  • VMQ assigned to each virtual machine device buffer to avoid needless packet copies and route lookups in the virtual switch


IP Address Management (IPAM) and Resource Metering (New) –

  • Built-in framework in Windows Server 2012 for discovering, monitoring, auditing, and managing IP address space used on a corporate network
  • Includes automatic IP address infrastructure discovery, displaying, reporting, and management of custom IP address space, as well as monitoring and management of DHCP and DNS services


Hyper-V Extensible Switch (New) –

  • Layer-2 virtual network switch that provides programmatically managed and extensible capabilities to connect virtual machines to the physical network


Quality of Service (QoS)

  • QoS for Hyper-V and other enhancements
  • Hyper-V uses minimum bandwidth to assign specific bandwidth for each type of traffic and to help ensure fair sharing during congestion35
  • Support for hardware compatible with Data Center Bridging (DCB), which makes it possible to use a single ultra-high bandwidth NIC and provides QoS and isolation services to support multitenant workloads expected on private cloud deployments – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003



  • Improved performance, availability, scalability, and availability
  • New features include: Support for offices of nearly any size; single GPO object for nearly all offices; automatic configuration of client computers through Group Policy; integration with Windows file server; use of highly optimized file chunking system for intelligent splitting of files so that users can download only that the changed part of the content; cache encryption; cache preloading; PowerShell support; and new Group Policies


Domain Name System (DNS)

  • DNSSEC and PowerShell support for DNS configuration and management – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

  • New enhancements in DHCP in Windows Server 2012: DHCP failover, policy-based assignment, and PowerShell cmdlets for DHCP server – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)

  • Improved management of IPv6 addresses, better connectivity to Internet using IPv6 addresses, and NAT64/DNS64 protocol translation for DirectAccess clients


Low latency workload technologies (New) –

  • New capabilities and features for managing latency, such as NIC Teaming


Network Load Balancing

  • New features in Windows Server 2008 R2 in comparison to Windows Server 2003 R2: Extended affinity, PowerShell for NLB clusters, and support for rolling upgrades
  • Additional features for failover clustering in comparison to Windows Server 2008 R2, including support for scale-out file servers, CAU, virtual machine application monitoring, and iSCSI Software Target integration – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Remote Access

  • Windows Server 2012 Remote Access is a new server role with DirectAccess, routing, and VPN
  • Better management of remote computers, better connectivity, and better manageability of Remote Access services using PowerShell
  • DirectAccess and RRAS unified into a single server role, with ability to co-exist on the same server on the edge
  • Simplified DirectAccess deployment and Network Security Policy, support for NAT64, and DNS64 for accessing IPv4-only resources in the network
  • DirectAccess can now be deployed behind a NAT device, and supports load balancing, multiple domains, NAP integration, one-time password (OTP), automated force tunneling, manage-out and multisite, Server Core, and health monitoring – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003



MANAGEMENT AND AUTOMATION                                                 

Graphic User Interface as Server Role

  • Ability to deploy the GUI as a role in Windows Server 2012 using PowerShell 3.0
  • Enables servers to easily remove the full GUI and more to either Server Core or Minimal Installation Shell (PowerShell, Server Manager, and MMC support)
  • Servers can move among Server Core, Minimal Installation Shell, and full GUI using PowerShell commands when required


Server Manager

  • Single point of access to manage snap-ins for virtually all installed roles
  • Ability to manage a server’s identity and system information, display server status, identify problems with server role configuration, and manage virtually all roles installed on the server – SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Multiserver management (New) –

  • Managing of multiple servers via roles, services, or customized management groups
  • Single view for administrators to view events, roles, services, and other important information for virtually all managed servers


Role and feature deployment to remote servers and offline hard disks (New) –

  • Windows Server 2012 with Server Manager can deploy both roles and features in a single session using the unified Add Roles and Features Wizard
  • Add Roles and Features Wizard perform validation passes on a server selected for deployment as part of the installation process; no requirement to pre-verify that a server in the Server Manager server pool is configured to support a role


Integrated console (New) –

  • Integrated console for IT departments to manage multiple server platforms—whether physical or virtual—more effectively, helping lower IT operational costs (such as file storage management, Remote Desktop Services, and IP address management)


Windows PowerShell 3.0

  • More than 2,300 cmdlets that are easier to learn and discover
  • Modules that are easier than ever to find, explore, create, and use
  • No longer necessary to import modules manually to use cmdlets



Windows PowerShell Disconnected Sessions (New) –

  • Ability to create a session on a remote computer, start a command or job, disconnect from the session, shut down a computer, and then reconnect to the session from a different computer later to check job status or get results


Windows PowerShell Workflow (New) –

  • Provides IT pros and developers with the ability to apply the benefits of workflows to the automation capabilities of PowerShell
  • Management of distribution, sequencing, and completion of multicomputer tasks, freeing users and administrators to focus on higher-level tasks


Windows PowerShell Web Access (New) –

  • Ability to manage Windows servers by using PowerShell within a web browser
  • Target computers compatible with any version of Windows enabled for PowerShell remoting


Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) 3.0 (New) –

  • New features to ease beginning users into Windows PowerShell and provide advanced editing support for scripters57 ‒ Show-Command pane helps users find and run cmdlets in a dialog box; IntelliSense provides context-sensitive command completion for cmdlet and script names, parameter names and enumerated values, and property and method names; Code examples add reusable text to scripts and commands; Collapsible regions in scripts and XML files make navigation in long scripts easier


Windows PowerShell Script Sharing (New) –

  • Access to a community-generated library of PowerShell code snippets, called Integrated Script Snippets, within PowerShell ISE57 for IT pros with PowerShell 3.0


Windows PowerShell Scheduled Jobs (New) –

  • Enables administrators to schedule run jobs via the Windows Task Scheduler


Windows PowerShell Syntax Simplification (New) –

  • Simplified, consistent syntax across virtually all cmdlets with PowerShell 3.0
  • Support for intuitive command structure more closely modeling natural language


Windows PowerShell cmdlet discovery and module auto loading (New) –

  • Get-Command cmdlet ‒ Gets nearly all cmdlets and functions from virtually all modules installed on a computer, even if the module is not imported into the current session
  • Cmdlets ready for immediate use to help eliminate the need to import modules
  • Windows PowerShell modules ‒ Imported automatically when any cmdlet in the module is used; no longer need to search for the module and import it to use its cmdlets


Device Management and Installation (DMI)

  • Central management and configuration of hardware and device driver configurations for computers on networks – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Initial Configuration Tasks

  • Helps administrators to configure a server and shorten the amount of time between operating system installation and deployment of the server in an enterprise


Authorization Manager

  • Flexible framework for integrating role-based access control into applications – SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Windows Deployment Services

  • Server role that enables user to remotely (network based) deploy Windows operating systems – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) for Server Role

  • Core set of guidance to configure roles and features for Windows Server, including configuration, management, and security
  • BPA now fully integrated into Server Manager


Group Policy

  • Ability to specify managed configurations for users and computers through Group Policy settings and Group Policy preferences – SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Remote Group Policy Update (New) –

  • Schedule remote Group Policy updates (gpupdate.exe) for one or many computers


Windows Azure Online Backup (cloud-based backup service) (New) –

  • Off-site protection against data loss from failure with a cloud-based backup solution which allows files and folders to be backed up and recovered from the cloud


Group Policy Infrastructure Status (New) –

  • Ability to display status of Active Directory and SYSVOL replication as it relates to Group Policy



SERVER ROLES                                                                                                 

Active Directory Certificate Services  –

  • Integration with Server Manager, deployment, and management capabilities from Windows PowerShell; runs virtually all role services on Server Core; automatic renewal of certificates for non-domain-joined computers; enforcement of certificate renewal with same key; support for international domain names; and increased security enabled by default – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Active Directory Domain Services

  • Enhancements in Windows Server 2012 include virtualized domain controller cloning; virtualization-safe technology; AD DS integration with Server Manager; Relative ID (RID) improvements; deferred index creation; off-premises domain join; Recycle Bin UI; DAC; AD DS claims in AD FS; History Viewer in PowerShell; Fine-grained password policy UI; AD Replication and Topology Windows PowerShell cmdlets; Active Directory Based Activation (AD BA); Kerberos enhancements; and Group Managed Service Accounts (gMSA) – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Active Directory Federation Services

  • New capabilities in AD FS in Windows Server 2012 include integration with DAC scenarios; improved installation experience using Server Manager; and additional PowerShell cmdlet tools – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Active Directory Lightweight Directory Service

  • Inclusion of AD LDS as a new server role
  • Integration of AD LDS with AD DS – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Active Directory Rights Management Services

  • Simple delegation and strong cryptography (also made in Windows Server 2008 R2 through recent updates)
  • Changed requirements for installation and deployment: System administrator account permissions instead of local administrator accounts in SQL Server installation; SQL Server Browser service must be running; firewall exceptions for port numbers used by AD RMS; remote deployment; use of Server Manager and Windows PowerShell to deploy AD RMS – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Application Server

  • Updated to support .Net Framework 4.5 – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


DHCP Server

  • DHCP failover; policy-based assignment; and PowerShell cmdlets for DHCP Server – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


DNS Server

  • New features in DNSSEC, Windows PowerShell support for DNS configuration, and management – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Fax Server

  • Windows Server 2012 Fax Server continues as an installable Server Role – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


File and Storage Services

  • File Services changed to File and Storage Services
  • Enhancements include: Data de-duplication; iSCSI Target Server; Storage Spaces and storage pools; unified remote management of File and Storage Services in Server Manager; PowerShell cmdlets for File and Storage Services; and ReFS
  • Changes to File Server Resource Manager in FSS include: DAC; automatic classification; manual classification; file management tasks; and access-denied assistance
  • Support for multi-terabyte volumes and a new model of Chkdsk that detects corruption even when the volume is online – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003



  • New features in Windows Server 2012 include shared nothing, SMB, and storage live migration; QoS; Resource Metering; Hyper-V Replica; virtual HBAs; support for ODX and other offloaded hardware support; greater scale; Hyper-V Network Virtualization; Hyper-V Extensible Switch; cluster enhancements; support for runtime memory configuration; NUMA; support for SMB; and more


Network Policy and Access Services

  • New features in Windows Server 2012 include Print and Document Services role; Type 4 drivers; Branch Office Direct Printing; Print Management Windows PowerShell module; WSD Secure printing; and High Availability Printing – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Print and Document Services

  • Following new features are supported in Windows Server 2012 ‘Print and Document Services role’ – Type 4 drivers, Branch Office Direct printing, Print Management Windows PowerShell module, WSD Secure printing, and High Availability Printing – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Remote Access

  • New server role with DirectAccess, routing, VPN, and more
  • Better management of remote computers, better connectivity, and better manageability of Remote Access services using PowerShell
  • DirectAccess and RRAS unified into a single server role, with ability to co-exist on the same server on the edge
  • Simplified DirectAccess deployment and Network Security Policy, supporting NAT64 and DNS64 for accessing IPv4-only resources in the network
  • DirectAccess can now be deployed behind a NAT device, with support for load balancing, multiple domains, NAP integration, OTP, automated force tunneling, manage-out and multisite support, Server Core support, and health monitoring – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Remote Desktop Services

  • New enhancements in Remote Desktop services as compared to its previous versions: unified central experience; automated and simple single-image management; user personalization; centralized deployment; and fair share experience
  • Configuration changes to RemoteApp and Desktop Connection URL with Group Policy and automatic sending of URLs to users via email message
  • Richer and more consistent user experience – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Volume Activation Services

  • Additional volume activation technologies not available in previous versions of Windows Server: Volume Activation Services server role, in-built support for KMS, Active Directory-based Activation, and Volume Activation Tools console – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Web Server (IIS)

  • IIS 8.0 with a unified web platform that integrates IIS, ASP.NET, FTP services, PHP, and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)
  • New features include Centralized Certificates, Dynamic IP Restrictions, FTP Logon Attempt Restrictions, Server Name Indication (SNI), Application Initialization, and NUMA-aware scalability – PARTLY SUPPORTED BY SERVER 2003


Windows Deployment Services

  • Enhancements in Windows Deployment Services available across previous versions: support for image type (VHDX support); multicasting (supports TFTP and multicasting over IPv6 and DHCPv6, and improved multicast deployment); driver provisioning; and Extensible Firmware Interface (supports x86 clients with 32-bit processors) with Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) to network boot and complete an end-to-end deployment using WDS


Windows Server Update Services

  • Introduced as a Server Role in Windows Server 2012

7 Responses to Windows server 2012 feature comparison with Windows server 2003

  1. The basic purpose of remote management services and file servers is to create a space for the accessed data on the disc through data sharing and the file server might carry large amount of data. The stored data could be accessed and used by more than two users at a time and thus, the server must be capable enough to serve the data users according to their requirements. And if it comes with 24 x 7 support then it will be the best option which is now incorporated with server 2012.


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  4. Really your post useful to learn windows server concepts! thanking you.


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