Most of this year's Windows updates came out as part of the Windows 8.1 release wave, including the R2 updates of Windows Server 2012. But one had a slightly delayed release and finally made its official appearance over the weekend: the latest release of Windows Server for Embedded Systems.
Designed for use when building specialised server appliances, the newest release enhances virtualisation capabilities, increases data transfer speeds and tiered storage (letting applications choose between SSD and conventional drives based on their performance needs).
Server appliances are particularly useful in environments where connectivity isn't assured or where conventional equipment wouldn't work (such as building platforms for in-flight entertainment). However, it seems likely that some of the edge functions performed by appliances in data centres may become less prominent as cloud deployments become more common.
Windows Server for Embedded Systems now available to take on the most critical challenges [The Official Microsoft Blog]