Windows Server 2012: The breakdown

Many may consider Microsoft Windows Server 2012 as the enemy because SBS was axed in the process of releasing it. But, the different editions of Server 2012 (Foundation, Essentials, Standard and Datacentre) will cater for the small, medium and large organisations, it just might be a little more costly in some scenarios.

Simplified Licensing Model

The Foundation version (which is OEM only) is limited to 1 processor and 15 users and once purchase additional processors cannot be added. It will provide a basic infrastructure with active directory, remote access and file and print sharing, ideal for a small businesses.

Essentials would suit SMEs up to 25 users and unlike SBS, it does not include on-premise versions of Exchange, Sharepoint, SQL Server and WSUS – but, they can be purchase separately (which can be costly). A more cost-effective option would be to integrate it with Microsoft online hosted services like Office365, hosted Exchange etc.

When buying the Essentials or Foundation edition CALs (Client Access Licenses) are not required to go with the processor licenses. If the business is looking to grow or virtualise in the future it may be better to go for the other editions because, they both have no virtualisation rights.

The Standard and Datacentre editions both have the same product features and need to be purchased with CALs, for each user or device that connects to the server – the only difference between them is usage rights.

For Standard, each processor license will only allow 2 virtual instances whereas, the Datacentre edition allows unlimited virtual instances. Extra CALs will be needed if you wish to use certain features such as Remote Desktop Services and Active Directory Rights Management.

So before deciding on which to buy, it is the case of working out how many virtual machines you are looking to run in the current environment (if any), whether this will increase in the near future and whether you require the use of the additional features.

Some of the Features of Windows Server 2012

  • Server Manager – the ability to create and manage server groups within the network
  • Hyper-V Replication – the features allow administrators to replicate a virtual machine from one location to another with Hyper-V and a network connection
  • Increased PowerShell Capabilities – remote sessions are resilient, helps to simplify management of workloads and you can also program the secure multi-machine workflow engine.
  • Dynamic Access Control improvements – the ability now to restrict access to sensitive files by enforcing file security policy at domain level i.e. allow users to view but not edit, print or copy protected files.

For more advice on moving away from end of support products and Microsoft licensing contact us today.


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