Windows Server 2012: Understanding the Different Editions Available

Windows Server 2012: understanding the different editions

While most of the Microsoft operating system attention is landing on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, for those in enterprise situations, there is yet another operating system that is even more significant. Yes, we are talking about Windows Server 2012.

Regardless of what size of business you have, if you are in the need of a server solution, Windows Server 2012 could be exactly what you are looking for. Still, with four different versions of the OS, how do you know which is right for you and/or your organization?

Let’s take a look at the four different versions and what makes them different:

Windows Server 2012 Foundation

This special version of Windows Server 2012 is the most basic option available. Foundation has a limitation of just 15 user accounts. Additionally, it only be available for OEMs.

Foundation SKU is an economical variant with absolutely no virtualization rights.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials

This is the best version for home users, as well as small and mid-size businesses. Essentials has a limitation of 25 users, has a simplified interface and is pre-configured with connectivity to the cloud. Like Foundation, it doesn’t offer virtualization rights, though.

This “open no level ERP” of Essentials is set to $425.

You might also have noticed I mentioned this is the version you should get for home owners. What happened to Windows Home Server? Unfortunately, Microsoft discontinued the popular $99 version meant for home users. If you really want a Windows server, you’ll either need to keep using an older version or shell out more for Essentials.

Windows Server 2012 Standard

This is your base package, perfect for most mid and higher sized organizations. Standard offers all the same features and full functionality you will find in Datacenter– except for the virtualization options. With Standard edition you can run up to two Vms on to two processors.

All other high end features like failover clustering is available. Standard features a price tag of $882 Open No Level (NL) ERP.

Windows Server 2012 Data Center

Windows Server 2012 Data Center is your ultimate server option. It basically is the same as Standard, but with one big difference: you can have an unlimited amount of virtual instances running. This is perfect for highly virtualized environments.

The Open NL ERP of Datacenter costs $4,809.

Summing it Up…

While all the features found in Windows Server 2012 are not highlighted in this article, you should still have a much clear idea of which version will best fit into your organization.

While Windows Server is much more expensive than many of the free or cheap Linux alternatives out there, it is also likely the most compatible with a Windows network environment, and will have the least sharpest learning curve.

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