Windows Server 2012 R2 was released to manufacturers this week, meaning the next-gen server OS is one step closer to its general availability of October 18. But you don't have to wait to start taking advantage of its ability to run Windows Azure Pack, as the pack's preview version also runs on the current Windows Server 2012. (You will need R2 to take advantage of the final version of Azure Pack that debuts with Windows Server 2012 R2.)
Windows Azure Pack is a big deal, or should be, because it extends the functionality you have in the cloud to your data center.
In carpentry, there's an expression: Measure twice, cut once. It's good advice all around, but you must have the right tools in place for it to work. With modern applications increasingly developed in the cloud (it's easier and cheaper to do your dev and test work on a cloud-based system like Azure than to build your own infrastructure), what happens when the decision is made to bring that app in-house? With Windows Server 2012 and Windows Azure Pack, developers don't have to worry; they can measure twice and cut once by developing for the cloud and moving that same application to any Microsoft cloud (public, private, hybrid) through a service provider or through in-house servers.
The IT admins reading this post may stop right here, figuring this is an issue for developers. That would be a mistake — although developers enjoy the direct benefit of Azure Pack, the fact is you, the IT pros, are the ones implementing the platform. Thus, you need to understand how the applications are built on it.
One of the key components to make the cross-platform connection possible for developers is Windows Azure Service Bus, which provides messaging capabilities that combines with Windows Azure Pack to form the key components developers need to write once and use anywhere by working with the same client SDK when developing apps.
Another piece to this puzzle is Advanced Message Queuing Protocol AMQP 1.0 support in Windows Azure Service Bus. This is an open-standard messaging protocol developed first at JP Morgan Chase to make it easier to build message-based applications that use different languages, frameworks, and operating systems.
Whether you're a developer or an IT admin, understanding these key components will help you take the most advantage of Azure Pack and Windows Server 2012.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.