Microsoft has released the latest server edition of Windows. Windows Server enables a computer to manage file sharing, print sharing, and websites, and serves as a platform for running Exchange Server and SQL Server.
In addition to the new user interface, Windows Server 2012 features a greatly enhanced PowerShell, a recycle bin for Active Directory, and a new version of Hyper-V. For a full list of updates, see the datasheet (PDF) and the list of new features on TechNet.
Three Editions Available
Microsoft offers Windows Server through TechSoup Canada in the Standard, Datacenter, and Essentials editions.
The Standard and Datacenter editions have identical features, but they differ in the number of virtual instances of the server software you are allowed to run. Essentials shares many of the features of the other two versions, but not those appropriate only to medium-to-large enterprises. It replaces Microsoft's Small Business Server 2011 Essentials product.
- The Standard edition is designed for small-to-medium-sized organizations. Each Standard edition license allows you to run two instances of the server software in a virtual operating system on one server. Multiple Standard edition licenses can be combined to run additional virtual instances.
- The Datacenter edition is optimized for large-scale virtualization. Its license allows one server to run an unlimited number of Windows Server instances.
- The Essentials edition is designed for small organizations with up to 25 users and 50 devices. Its license allows only one instance of the server software to be run in the physical or virtual environment (Essentials edition licenses can't be combined). Client access licenses (CALs) aren't needed.
For more on the transition to Windows Server, see Microsoft Retires Small Business Server.
The Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server both use processor-based licensing, with each license allowing up to two physical processors. Multiple licenses can be obtained and applied to a single server to accommodate servers with more than two physical processors. For more information, see the Windows Server 2012 Licensing & Pricing FAQ.
The Essentials edition license also allows up to two physical processors, but licenses cannot be combined: two processors is the maximum the Essentials edition supports and its license allows only one instance of the server software to be run in the physical or virtual environment. Client access licenses (CALs) aren't needed for the Essentials edition.
For more information, check out TechSoup Canada's Guide to Windows Server Editions and Licensing.
Are you planning to install Exchange 2010 on Windows Server 2012?
Unfortunately the operation is not completely straightforward, because these two products are not yet quite compatible with each other out of the box. Read this blog post on how to get Exchange 2010 working on Windows Server 2012 to learn more!
TechSoup Canada no longer offers Windows Server 2003 and 2008, but current CALs requested from TechSoup Canada are backwards-compatible with these versions.