So I decided to shift all my stuff to a new Windows Server 2012 R2 box instead of the amalgamation of Fedora 18, nginx, haproxy and a Windows Server 2008 R2 server hosting my web and FTP sites. They worked well as a reverse proxy when I had SSL sites using the same certificate hosted on Linux and Windows servers so I have no complaints, it was just getting a bit long in the tooth and I think my Fedora installation is a couple of releases behind now so patches are few and far between. I’ve had my Fedora installation since something like version 12 but it seemed timely to move from Linux since Fedora have lost the ability to upgrade easily like in the previous six releases. Plus, I get to kill off a number of cross-platform VMs and consolidate everything to a single box. High Availability and Disaster Recovery? At home? Pah.
When Windows Server 2012 came out, I installed it and, well, it was just a non-starter for me. I was left so frustrated with the stupid omission of any kind of Start button that I refused to use it for personal use. Stabbing at 4 pixels in the bottom left corner of the screen or moving my left hand to press the button on the keyboard is already a Bad Idea™ but clearly whoever thought of it had never even considered that people use RDP or vSphere console windows which your mouse flows out of! Even if I Full Screen an RDP session, what if I have a second or, heaven forbid, a third monitor? Having what amounts to a button made up of 4 pixels to hit is utter stupidity. The screenshot below is Windows 8.1 running in a VM with VMware Tools installed – look Microsoft, my mouse moves out of the console seamlessly so placing my mouse on an “edge” isn’t easy.
Of course the businesses I work for are a different story so it’s not like I haven’t had exposure to (and frustration with) Windows Server 2012 but thankfully R2 brings a Start button back.
I realise Microsoft want us to run their server in non-GUI mode (for security purposes) but it’s unrealistic to expect a generation of Windows administrators to suddenly abandon their knowledge and intrinsic understanding of a Microsoft OS to learn PowerShell administration where it is far easier to make a horrible mess. I’m pretty solid with PowerShell but I have no desire to configure a Windows Server using it. If I had to create 50 servers exactly the same, perhaps. Also, it’s called Windows not Commands, so ner.
So, Windows Server 2012 R2 seems pretty good. I’ve had some interesting challenges with abnormally terminating connections to FTPS and FTPES servers hosted in IIS but it seems to be related to the client I was using and, well, if the owner of said FTP client refuses to provide a solution to a problem that clearly a large number of people are experiencing (And only with his app), I’ll just use something else and recommend something else too if people ask.
I’m about to embark on a similar approach to consolidation with Windows 8.1 (I have a Windows 7 and Windows 8 box which I’ll consolidate to just the one 8.1) and, who knows, it might even end up on my laptop or desktop! *Gasp* Soon I’ll build out a domain and test out some of that new functionality like failover DHCP, data deduplication and a supposedly simplified DirectAccess setup – which were available in 2012 already but since I didn’t enjoy using it, I didn’t play.