Earlier in 2012, Microsoft had announced that it would be discontinuing the use of Windows Home Server product in exchange of something new i.e : Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Earlier this week, Microsoft has announced the details of the first major upgrades that would be done in its upcoming version of the small business server software, Windows Server R2 Essentials. It is is designed for small-to-medium (SMB) businesses as a “first server” product.
Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials will be available in two new ways. It will be available as a Server Edition and as a server role of Windows Server 2012 R2. The server role is called “Windows Server Essential Experience” edition. When buying Essentials R2 as a server role, it is available with the Standard or Data-center editions of Windows Server 2012 R2.
There will be two more new ways to deploy Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials i.e : in a virtual machine (VM) or on premises as part of a server role. Microsoft eased the licensing terms to run it in a virtual machine according to a report of the company.
In a blog comment, Microsoft has also declared that a public preview version of the server software is now available for download so that users can have a hands on experience of the software. It also leaves behind some of the new features that have been included in the R2 update version. One of them being he ability to create a virtualization of a Windows Server Essentials guest virtual machine on a Windows Server Essentials host server, either by a automated wizard setup or manually by an IT administrator.
It also has a seperate page of the new services integration status page that enables the administrator to see which of the Microsoft services are available in the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials shown in the above image. The services include Office 365, Windows Azure Active Directory, Windows Intune and Windows Azure Backup.
Microsoft also has planned to update the My Server Apps that have been released for Windows Phone and Windows 8 later this year that would be offering Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials some features.