Your Guide to the Latest Windows Server Product Information
What an exciting time to be part of the Windows Server team! Earlier this week we announced the RTM and general availability of Windows Server 2012 in conjunction with the Windows 8 team's announcement of their dates. Since then we’ve seen a steady stream of exciting news coming out of Toronto where the 2012 World Wide Partner Conference is being held. Today I'm happy to host Joe Nalewabau from the Windows Server Essentials team to make yet another exciting announcement. By now you should be picking up on some reoccurring themes that keep showing up in these blogs:
Hi, I’m Joe Nalewabau, Group Program Manager on the Windows Server Essentials team, and today I’m excited to introduce the beta for Windows Server 2012 Essentials (Essentials 2012). The beta is a significant engineering milestone for the team. We’d obviously like to get as much feedback on the product as possible and you can see and give feedback on the beta through the Windows Server Essentials 2012 Beta Essentials forum. We are working hard to deliver Essentials 2012 this year and so your feedback on the beta will be critical to us over the next few weeks as we work towards a release candidate and an eventual RTM. As David Fabritius mentioned in his post last week, Essentials 2012 represents a significant milestone for the product. We have made some changes to the way that we think about the first-server market (SMBs, home offices, etc.) and the products that we offer in this space based on feedback from our customers and partners. This post will provide some high-level insight on how the engineering strategy as we built Essentials 2012. We will follow up with additional blog posts containing deeper information about specific features in the coming weeks. From an engineering perspective, we planned Essentials 2012 around four core principles:
Simplicity and flexibility for customers and partners Historically, the engineering team has developed and supported a number of solution products based on Windows Server. The current in-market products developed and supported by our team include: Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2011 Standard, Windows SBS 2011 Essentials, Windows Home Server (WHS) 2011, and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials. We also support previous versions of SBS Standard and WHS.
These products are not targeted at the traditional IT Pros. We spend a lot of time creating simple and integrated experiences that will work for non-IT Pros with the help of our broader partner ecosystem of OEMs, Value-Added Resellers and the Small Business Solution Specialist Community. We approached simplicity and flexibility for customers in Essentials 2012 in a number of ways:
Better together with Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 Windows Server 2012 enables an amazing number of scenarios and key technologies for customers. In Essentials 2012 we looked through the huge number of Windows Server features and chose specific ones to deeply integrate. I’d like to call out a few major technologies or processes from Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 that we have integrated:
Of course, customers also get a whole range of Windows Server 2012 technologies for free which makes the release even more compelling. Increased Device support Another area of focus for the team was around extending our level of support for devices. We know that customers using our existing products have multiple devices and they want to access information and/or control their server from these devices. In Essentials 2012 we have expanded our device support in a number of different ways:
Continue integrating with Cloud Services Another major focus for us is continuing to integrate with cloud services. Based on research and feedback from our customers we know that many people are looking for ways to integrate with cloud services and we wanted to ensure that Essentials 2012 had great integration with Microsoft’s offerings:
Essentials 2012 has a rich SDK that allows customers and partners to integrate additional services into the server. We made sure that existing add-ins for SBS 2011 Essentials and WHS 2011 continue to run in Essentials 2012. Summary We are excited about Essentials 2012 and thrilled to be able to get the beta in your hands. The engineering team is eagerly looking forward to hearing your feedback which will help make Essentials 2012 a great release.
Placing this as a WHS replacement and requiring that it be installed as a Domain was just plain stupid.
I like the product, but between the domain requirement and the high price, it will NEVER be a WHS replacement.
CAUTION!!! If you install the connector software on a client machine, it will remove all your workgroup settings and add it to the servers domain without any notice or warning !
Well it was confirmed by a Microsoft employee that there's no chance for WSUS in Windows Serve 2012 Essentials.
"WSUS role is not available on Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Please refer to following document for the server roles supported in different Windows Server 2012 Editions.
The Essentials Server's management dashboard optimized the admin tasks for small/home business, if you go to server settings tab, you will see the Windows Update (as well as Microsoft update) configuration page. By default, all "important" and "recommended" updates are installed. Based on previous feedback, this simplified default settings fits most of the needs for customer. However you can still customize it if needed.
This post is "AS IS" and confers no rights. Ning Kuang[MSFT] Windows Server Program Manager"
My reply to the people in charge at Microsoft for their "small business" offerings.
It was a mistake to pull WSUS / block the manual install of WSUS from the Windows Server 2012 Essentials product. If you didn't want to have a listing for it in the management dashboard that's fine, but blocking the role or manual install doesn't make sense. You expect customers to already use up a lot of bandwidth using Office 365 for email with this solution or some other "cloud based", bandwidth using email solution. Having a central repository for updates would have helped out with slow Internet links, bandwidth caps, and it just makes sense. Why have 10, 15, 20, or 25 PCs all hitting the internet and downloading the same updates when they could be downloaded once with WSUS and then distributed out to the PCs from a central location. Easy, simple management is fine...I get that. Not having WSUS installed by default would have been fine but blocking administrators that actually know what they are doing from installing WSUS doesn't make sense. I have clients and I manage all of their networks for them. In less than 30 minutes I would have been able to install WSUS and setup a simple group policy to distribute the updates to the entire network using the regular WSUS management console. I don't need a wizard to do everything for me.
Can someone confirm the CAL requiremens, specifically when a second server is involved? So if we have 2012 Essentials, and we need a second server i.e. for TS access / SQL etc; do we need to purchase CAL's in order to access that second server, or are there considered 25 CAL's 'included' in Essentials?
Great blog post! I do have a question about the following statement:
“…RWA is an existing feature that many of our customers love. In Essentials 2012, we made a number of improvements with one of the biggest being making sure that RWA works well on touch first devices including the iPad and Windows 8 based touch devices…”
I was wondering what exact functionality within the RWA it is you are referring here too. In particular, the RWA contains an option to connect to the Essentials server remotely. (this option: http://bit.ly/NKxWap). However, this is based of RD RemoteApp. That would not work on non-Windows devices like iPad’s right?
Freek Berson [MVP]
>> I was wondering what exact functionality within the RWA it is you are referring here too. In particular, the RWA contains an option to connect to the Essentials server remotely. (this option: http://bit.ly/NKxWap). However, this is based of RD RemoteApp. That would not work on non-Windows devices like iPad’s right?
We have enhanced RWA in WS 2012 Essentials to have a tablet layout so that users can easily use it on touch tablet devices. We've ensured that major functionality such as accessing files work well on various tablet platform. We've added HTTP progressive media download in addition to Silverlight streaming so that media playback can work well across different platforms. As to your question on remote desktop, you will need to use a 3rd party remote client that supports parsing a .rdp file on non-Windows platforms.
SBS Standard is what we use for the majority of our customers. Getting rid of Exchange in the SBS platform is a huge mistake and I sure hope Microsoft re-thinks this. SBS 2011 is an amazing product. I would be happy to wait to 2013 for a Exchange 2012/Server 2012 integrated SBS Standard solution. From what I read here they abandoned the idea to a totally stripped down essentials product which is useless to the majority of my customers.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials, which supports up to 25 user accounts, has a simplified licensing model and does not use CALs. There are no CALs included with the product and none are required to access the Essentials server. If a second server running any version of Windows Server Standard, Enterprise, or Datacenter (2012, 2008, 2003, etc.) is used with Essentials, each user (or device, depending on the CAL type used) would need a Windows Server CAL to access those servers. This is the same licensing model used by Windows SBS 2011 Essentials.
David Fabritius, Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft
Anyone knows if it is possible to do an in-place upgrade from WHS 2011 at all? Migrating large amounts of data without an in-place upgrade will be a problem for many users I guess, I have more than 8 TB of data...