On October 9th, we released the final RTM version of Windows Server 2012 Essentials as the successor to our Small Business Server product line.  Windows Server 2012 Essentials supports up to 25-users and 50-devices out-of-the-box and can be easily upgraded in-place to a full copy of Windows Server as your organization grows beyond these limits.  It offers direct integration with Office 365 and hosting providers for collaboration and supports the new Windows Azure Online Backup service.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials is expected to become generally available for new retail purchases on November 1st, 2012.

How Can I Deploy Windows Server 2012 Essentials?

I'm Planning to Run "Essentials" as a VM on Hyper-V ... Anything special I need to do?

If you're planning to deploy Windows Server 2012 Essentials in a virtualized Hyper-V environment, be sure to follow these steps to partially disable the "Time Synchronization" feature so that Hyper-V Host Time Synchronization is only used at VM reboot or VM restore from saved state and not for moment-by-moment ongoing time synchronization while the VM is actively running.  Since Windows Server 2012 Essentials operates as a Domain Controller, it should be configured to synchronize time with an external authoritative time source, just like you'd do with a physical Domain Controller server.  Here's the commands to run inside your guest OS from an elevated command prompt:

  1. Partially Disable Hyper-V Host Time Synchronization.
     
    reg add HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\TimeProviders\VMICTimeProvider /v Enabled /t reg_dword /d 0
     
  2. Configure Windows Server Essentials to synchronize time with an external authoritative time server.
     
    w32tm /config /manualpeerlist:TIME_SERVER_1, TIME_SERVER_2 /syncfromflags:MANUAL
     
  3. Restart the Windows Time Service and force a time synchronization to occur.
     
    net stop w32time & net start w32time
    w32tm /resync /force

Planning to Deploy Windows Server 2012 Essentials?

If you're planning to deploy Windows Server 2012 Essentials, feel free to share your questions, tips, and deployment stories below so that we can all benefit from our combined experiences!

HTH,

Keith