Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Essentials available now

Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Essentials available now

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[Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Joe Nalewabau from Windows Server Essentials Team]

Great news! We reached another important milestone on the road to the final release of Windows Server 2012 Essentials: the Release Candidate (RC) is available now for download and evaluation.

If you haven’t started exploring the product yet, this new pre-release version is an ideal time to begin. Customer and partner feedback on the Beta release has helped us prioritize the changes we have made—so thanks to everyone who provided feedback to us.

Here are some of the major changes in the RC:

  • Increased support for importing your own SSL certificates. Previously, customers had to do a lot of work to configure domains obtained in our domain wizard by using SSL certificates that were acquired outside of our domain wizard. We have now updated our wizard, which should make this process much simpler.
  • Installation of only critical setup updates during setup. One of the things that all Microsoft teams care about is getting customers up and running as quickly as possible. With the RC release we have changed our logic to only install critical setup-related updates during setup time. This might not seem to be a big issue if you only occasionally install Windows Server 2012 Essentials, but to partners that install Windows Server 2012 Essentials often, this change will make setup faster and more predictable. Note that customers will continue to select the update strategy that they want to use after the server has been set up.
  • Windows SBS Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) changes. We have updated the BPA rules to include the latest set of rules and have also made it possible to ignore specific BPA rules by using our UI.
  • Office 365 changes. We have now made it easier to import existing Office 365 users into Windows Server 2012 Essentials.
  • Verified DHCP supported. Windows Server 2012 Essentials supports turning on the DHCP role and setting a static IP address for the server.

We are now turning our sights towards the Windows Server 2012 Essentials release to manufacturing (RTM). The other Windows Server 2012 editions released to manufacturing at the beginning of August. Our goal has been to release Windows Server 2012 Essentials to manufacturing and make it generally available by the end of 2012, and we remain committed to this target.

In addition, in the next few weeks we are going to release some additional software that works with our RC release:

  • Windows 8 companion app. Customers will be able to access Windows Server 2012 Essentials through a number of different client apps: a Remote Web Access web browser, our Windows Phone 7 app, and the brand new Windows 8 companion app. We are especially excited about the Windows 8 app because it not only makes it easy to access files and folders on the server, but also supports offline access.
  • Windows Phone app. We have updated our existing Windows Phone app to work with Windows Server 2012 Essentials. The phone app now allows customers to access files and folders on the server.

We will use this blog to announce the availability of these releases as they become available. Stay tuned…

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  • Essentials have pretty much same RWA client experience as SBS/WHS 2011. It would be good if the web RWA client be made a bit metro style and offer pure HTML5 based video playback instead of silver light; a plugin that is not supported by Windows 8 Metro IE version. Changing layout of the site for tablets is not enough... it has to extend to better UI improvements because certain areas like shared folder explorer and media library can be further optimized for touch. You should also offer more extensive personalization support; like supporting themes (just on the same lines as plugins; add new if you need to)

    Moreover the feature set need to be more than just porting from previous iterations; offering features like on the fly transcoding and better media player/slide show capabilities like complete playlist support and extending sharing to wider folks (virtually like skydrive) with similar social sharing capabilities and child lock/access control list based media access.

    Most important of all, I hope Windows 8 companion app sits pretty much as well as skydrive app; Providing access across other apps like; video; music; photos and even in office 2013 product suite for document uploads and updates.

  • Hi Andrew,

    Thanks very much for the feedback.  If you'd like to play back media from the IE Windows 8 app, you can use HTTP progressive download streaming in RWA which we have added support for in Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

    Cheers,

    Clinton

    ------------------------------------------------------

    This post is "AS IS" and confers no rights

  • Is it a supported upgrade path to move to the RTM version from this RC?

  • With the dropping of the SBS line, will the new Server 2012 Essentials support running RDS on it, or will it keep the restriction that even its smaller cousin (foundation) wont?

  • Along with Carl's question (RC to RTM upgrade), is it supported to upgrade from Beta to this RC?

  • "Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Essentials" ? Surely you mean "Windows Server 2012 Essentials Release Candidate"

  • I need to be able to perform backups of computers which are on disparate networks, all to one server.  WHS2011 limited he backups to 10 machines, and to addresses which were on the same IP network as the server.  This just seems absolutely insane!  Will Essentials drop these limits so that it can be used as a real server, instead of as a little machine that can't?

  • I need some advice. I am running SBS 2011 at home right now. I want to move up to Server 2012 with Hyper-V. I assume if I want to run multiple Hyper-V I will have to use Data center version? I would like to have some way to back up all of our physical pc's.

    I have thought about running two servers so I can run failover clustering and add a storage server to the pool. But not sure if this is the best way to do it.

    Any other thoughts I am open to them.

    Thanks a ton.

  • Are you going to test for MacOS 10.8 compatibility before the RTM?

  • Hi, will there be an upgrade path from SBS Essentials 2011 to WS Essentials 2012 or migration?  I ask as I have seen no direction here: technet.microsoft.com/.../jj200183 as of yet and we are eager to implement this to start testing.

    Thanks

  • I am trying to install the DHCP feature but I am getting the Error 0x800f0922 ...

    have restarted and tried 3 times

    Thanks

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  • Just wondering if there is an actual known release date for Windows Server 2012 Essentials yet?