A lot has been written already about the monumental announcements, and now the preview release at TechEd Europe 2013, for the "R2" versions of Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012, but there has been very little explained about the new features that are actually included in the release. The products in System Center 2012 seemed to have lost their distinctiveness because Microsoft promotes them as a suite of products. While this exhibits a steady, conscious progression for Microsoft's Cloud roadmap, it tends to alienate the customers that don't use the entire suite.

Fortunately, Microsoft is still updating the "What's New" documentation so customers can decide whether or not an upgrade to specific suite products they use are worthy of implementation. Here's the list of individual System Center 2012 products and links to the "R2" feature updates for each. Some have only been updated from a support standpoint, indicating they will work with the preview versions of Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1. Others have received significant updates.

Remember that the "R2" bits are evaluation only – meaning, don't use them in production. They are only available as preview versions. If you don't have the capacity to download, install, and test System Center 2012 R2 in your own infrastructure, you can also test the majority of these products in Windows Azure. You can find the Windows Azure links posted in this article: Microsoft Keeps TechEd 2013 NA Promise, Releases Previews for Blue Servers