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What do you do with Windows Server 2012 Essentials when you grow beyond the 25 user ceiling?

What do you do with Windows Server 2012 Essentials when you grow beyond the 25 user ceiling?

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With the previous versions of Small Business Server ( SBS 2011 Essentials and SBS 2011 Standard), what do you do when you reach their user limits? You had to migrate them onto a Windows Server Standard platform and this in itself brought some complexity with the migration process and also some of those really cool features you came to depend on (such as client backup, remote web access and the dashboard) were no longer available.

We wanted to address this issue in Windows Server 2012 Essentials, so now we enable customers to do an in-place license transition to Windows Server 2012 Standard.

Windows Server 2012 Standard requires a Client Access License (CAL) for each user or device in your environment. This is different from Windows Server 2012 Essentials, which does not use the CAL model and does not come with any CALs.  So when you consider the transitioning from Windows Server 2012 Essentials to Windows Server 2012 Standard, you will need to purchase the appropriate number and type of CALs for your environment (most customers purchase user CALs). For example, if your organization has now grown to 30 users, then you would need to purchase 30 Windows Server 2012 per user or per device CALs.

After you have transitioned to Windows Server 2012 Standard, the Windows Server 2012 Essentials limits are removed, including restrictions on user accounts, number of devices, the Hyper-V role, and Active Directory. The features that are unique to Windows Server 2012 Essentials (such as the Dashboard, Remote Web Access, and client computer backup), still remain available. However, technical limitations for these features support a maximum of 75 user accounts and 75 devices. If it becomes necessary to add more than 75 user accounts or devices, you should turn off the Windows Server 2012 Essentials features and use the Windows Server 2012 Standard native tools to manage user accounts and devices.

 Transition to Windows Server 2012 Standard

1. Purchase a license for Windows Server 2012 Standard and the appropriate number of user and/or device Client Access Licenses (CALs) for your environment

2. Open Windows PowerShell as Administrator, and then run the following command

dism /online /set-edition:ServerStandard /accepteula /productkey:Product Key {where product key is the product key of your new server standard license}

The server restarts to finish the transition process.

 

Turn off Windows Server 2012 Essentials features

If you no longer need the Windows Server 2012 Essentials Dashboard or other value-add features to manage the server, you can turn the features off and remove them from your server. Also remember that these features support up to a maximum of 75 user accounts and 75 devices.

The Turn off Windows Server 2012 Essentials Features Wizard helps you uninstall the features. It also cleans the server of files that were created by the Windows Server 2012 Essentials server software. Some cleaning operations are performed immediately, while others are initiated after the server restarts.

the detailed process for performing the transition is documented on TechNet

 

 

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