The lynchpin in the whole system, of course, is Windows Server. The new Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system can be fully integrated with the necessary Azure hooks. Windows Azure uses the very same Hyper-V service that is built into Windows Server 2012. That guarantees compatibility between on-premise systems and the cloud, but how do you get them working back and forth?
New features in Windows Server R2 allow for faster VM live migration. Deduplication and compression for example, ensure that everything is transferred as quickly as possible. In addition, exporting and cloning of virtual machines can now be done without stopping the VM. That allows administrators to move back and forth between the cloud without having to plan for downtime. Even better, Hyper-V Replica now supports a third, or tertiary system. There is no need to move or transfer VMs when you can already have them replicated where you want them to be next. And, if you’re worried about the migration from Server 2012 to Server 2012 R2, administrators can do a “live-migration” from one to the other. Just get your new environment up and running and then move VMs when you are ready.
Right on its heels comes the ability to manage systems and resources across the cloud with System Center 2012 R2. New features include built-in IPAM integration, better built-in switch management and new cloud based reporting metrics.