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Microsoft Releases a Number of Software Previews

Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview LogoWith Microsoft’s Build Conference 2013 set to start tomorrow morning, Microsoft is about to hit us with a flurry of new and preview bits of its biggest software packages. Of the biggest previews tomorrow, we’ll likely see the big “Blue” Windows 8.1 preview released for us to test. Late yesterday and today, however, Microsoft made a few other packages available for download and preview.

1. Windows Server 2012 R2

The very popular Windows Server operating system continues to adapt for, and include cloud support. Some of the features that have me interested with this release include being able to remove SMB 1.0 features, workplace join with an iOS device, and second factor authentication features. I’ve also been interested in the extent of Server 2012’s data de-duplication features and/or improvements on that.

2. System Center 2012 R2 Preview

Microsoft’s flagship management tool. It looks like features lean heavily on managing new features of Windows Server R2 and/or cloud resources.

3. System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) management counterpart to System Center is also available for download.

4. SQL Server 2014 Trial

SQL is Microsoft’s big database management system. Some new features here appear to be cloud-based including linking and backing up to an Azure cloud.

This would a be a great time to fire up any machines you have and test out Microsoft’s software, all for free. I’m already running Server 2012 R2 to get a feel for what’s coming next. No doubt, I’ll be bring you more as tomorrow’s keynote unfolds. Most of the above software requires both a Microsoft account and 64bit compatible hardware.