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Server Roles and Technologies in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012

Published: February 29, 2012

Updated: March 5, 2014

Applies To: Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2



This section contains information to design, deploy, manage, and troubleshoot technologies in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012.

  • Active Directory Certificate Services Overview
    This content provides an overview of Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) in Windows Server 2012. AD CS is the server role that allows you to build a public key infrastructure (PKI) and provide public key cryptography, digital certificates, and digital signature capabilities for your organization.

  • Active Directory Domain Services Overview
    By using the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) server role, you can create a scalable, secure, and manageable infrastructure for user and resource management, and provide support for directory-enabled applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server.

  • Active Directory Federation Services Overview
    This topic provides an overview of Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) in Windows Server 2012.

  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services Overview
    Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) is a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directory service that provides flexible support for directory-enabled applications, without the dependencies and domain-related restrictions of AD DS.

  • Active Directory Rights Management Services Overview
    This document provides an overview of Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) in Windows Server 2012. AD RMS is the server role that provides you with management and development tools that work with industry security technologies—including encryption, certificates, and authentication—to help organizations create reliable information protection solutions.

  • Application Server Overview
    Application Server provides an integrated environment for deploying and running custom, server-based business applications.

  • Desktop Experience Overview
    This topic includes information about Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure, Server Graphical Shell, Desktop Experience, and Media Foundation.

  • Failover Clustering Overview
    This topic describes the Failover Clustering feature and provides links to additional guidance about creating, configuring, and managing failover clusters on up to 4,000 virtual machines or up to 64 physical nodes.

  • File and Storage Services Overview
    This topic discusses the File and Storage Services server role in Windows Server 2012, including what’s new, a list of role services, and where to find evaluation and deployment information.

  • Group Policy Overview
    This topic describes the Group Policy feature in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. Use this topic to find the documentation resources and other technical information you need to accomplish key Group Policy tasks, new or updated functionality in this version compared to previous versions of Group Policy, and ways to automate common Group Policy tasks using Windows PowerShell.

  • Hyper-V Overview
    This topic describes the Hyper-V role in Windows Server 2012—practical uses for the role, the most significant new or updated functionality in this version compared to previous versions of Hyper-V, hardware requirements, and a list of operating systems (known as guest operating systems) supported for use in a Hyper-V virtual machine.

  • Networking Overview
    This section contains detailed information about networking products and features for the IT professional to design, deploy, and maintain Windows Server 2012.

  • Network Load Balancing Overview
    By managing two or more servers as a single virtual cluster, Network Load Balancing (NLB) enhances the availability and scalability of Internet server applications such as those used on web, FTP, firewall, proxy, virtual private network (VPN), and other mission-critical servers. This topic describes the NLB feature and provides links to additional guidance about creating, configuring, and managing NLB clusters.

  • Network Policy and Access Services Overview
    This topic provides an overview of Network Policy and Access Services in Windows Server 2012, including the specific role services of Network Policy Server (NPS), Health Registration Authority (HRA), and Host Credential Authorization Protocol (HCAP). Use the Network Policy and Access Services server role to deploy and configure Network Access Protection (NAP), secure wired and wireless access points, and RADIUS servers and proxies.

  • Print and Document Services Overview
    This is an overview of Print and Document Services, including Print Server, Distributed Scan Server, and Fax Server in Windows Server 2012.

  • Remote Desktop Services Overview
    Remote Desktop Services accelerates and extends desktop and application deployments to any device, improving remote worker efficiency, while helping to keep critical intellectual property secure and simplify regulatory compliance. Remote Desktop Services enables both a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and session-based desktops, allowing users to work anywhere.

  • Security and Protection
    The table on this page provides links to available information for the IT pro about security technologies and features for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.

  • Telemetry Overview
    Find out about Windows Feedback Forwarder—a service that enables you to automatically send feedback to Microsoft by deploying a Group Policy setting to one or more organizational units. Windows Feedback Forwarder is available on all editions of Windows Server 2012.

  • Volume Activation Overview
    This technical overview for the IT pro describes the volume activation technologies in Windows Server 2012 and how your organization can benefit from using these technologies to deploy and manage volume licenses for a medium to large number of computers.

  • Web Server (IIS) Overview
    This document introduces the Web Server (IIS) role of Windows Server 2012, describes new IIS 8 features, and links to additional Microsoft and community information about IIS.

  • Windows Deployment Services Overview
    Windows Deployment Services enables you to deploy Windows operating systems over the network, which means that you do not have to install each operating system directly from a CD or DVD.

  • Windows Server Backup Feature Overview
    This section provides an overview of the Windows Server Backup feature and lists the new features in Windows Server 2012.

  • Windows Server Essentials Experience Overview
    With the Windows Server Essentials Experience role, you can take advantage of Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials features such as simplified management using the server dashboard, data protection, Remote Web Access, and integration with Microsoft online services—all without enforcement of the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials locks and limits.

  • Windows Server Update Services Overview
    Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) enables information technology administrators to deploy the latest Microsoft product updates. By using WSUS, administrators can fully manage the distribution of updates that are released through Microsoft Update to computers in their network. In Windows Server 2012, this feature is integrated with the operating system as a server role. This topic provides an overview of this server role and more information about how to deploy and maintain WSUS.

  • Windows System Resource Manager Overview
    With Windows System Resource Manager for the Windows Server 2012 operating system, you can manage server processor and memory usage with standard or custom resource policies. Managing your resources can help ensure that all the services provided by a single server are available on an equal basis or that your resources will always be available to high-priority applications, services, or users.

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