Windows Server 2012 Essentials RTM and Trial!

Today Windows Server 2012 Essentials has been released to manufacturing (RTM).


A trial copy of Windows Server 2012 Essentials is immediately available for download:

Windows Server 2012 Essentials will be available for purchase on November 1, 2012.

It was just a few months ago (July) that the beta version of this product was announced. Then just a month ago we had the announcement of the Release Candidate (RC) version of 2012 Essentials.

The news that caught everyone’s attention (both good and bad) was that the name “Small Business Server” (SBS) would not be used by Microsoft as it moved forward with the 2012 era of Microsoft servers.

However, that does not mean that Windows Server 2012 Essentials isn’t jammed packed with features for the small or medium sized business. Here are just a few of those features:

  • Supports a maximum of 25 user (50 devices) with client CALS built in!
  • Enhanced Remote Web Access features, extending to Windows 8 clients
  • Wizards to setup, configure and manage Office 365 from the server
  • Support for Storage Spaces, allowing for  creation of resilient storage using a mix of different size disk drives
  • Supports backing up of workstations (maximum of 25) on a daily scheduled basis)
  • New health monitoring reports
  • Supports implementation as a Hyper-V guest
  • Supports third party add-ins
  • Supports Mac OS X clients (version 10.5 and up)

So, what’s changed? I’ll list what I consider are three two of the more important changes:

  • Windows Vista and XP workstations will not be supported
  • Exchange and Sharepoint have been removed from the product, but can be purchased and installed as separate packages
  • No Premium Add-On (PAO) packages, so no specific SQL package, although SQL can be purchased and installed as a separate package

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