Ahead of the highly anticipated release of Microsoft's Windows 8 Release Preview today, the company has posted the server edition of its next-generation operating system. Windows Server 2012 is the server version of Windows 8, an upgrade from the previous Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft's Release Candidate of Windows Server 2012 includes a redesigned Server Manager and uses the Metro user interface as a Start Menu replacement. We haven't tested the latest Release Candidate of Windows Server 2012, but it will reportedly remove options to boot directly to the desktop instead of the new Metro interface.

Windows Server 2012 will also include Microsoft's new Resilient File System (ReFS) to handle large volumes, resiliency to corruption, and shared storage pools across machines. ReFS will only be available inside Windows Server 2012 initially, but Microsoft has plans to test it within the server edition and make it available to Windows 8 client users at a later date. Microsoft has also previously promised that the majority of applications that currently run on Windows Server 2008 and R2 "should work" on Windows Server 2012.