The new “cloud-optimized OS” is due out… you guessed it… later this year.
Microsoft traditionally names its Server operating systems with the year of release, unlike its desktop operating systems.
Windows Server 2012 is available now in beta, although for now it’s still called Windows Server 8 Beta. The OS still needs to hit its Release Candidate (RC) milestone before it reachs RTM later this year.
If you haven’t worked with Windows Server 2012 yet, I encourage you to do so in a virtualized environment to get your head around the differences. If you don’t already have a Hyper-V host server, may I recommend this one. It’s been getting rave reviews!