Windows Server has an awesome dynamic range.  It runs everything from the largest internet sites to the smallest businesses.  With all of the discussion about being a CloudOS, you might wonder whether this represents a change.  The answer is a definitive ‘no’.  We believe that the cloud offers dramatic advantages to everyone.  In today’s post, Sinead O’Donovan announces the RTM of Windows Server 2012 Essentials and discusses some of the many great new features including its ability to bring the advantages of the cloud to small businesses.

--Cheers! Jeffrey

 

Hi, I’m Sinead O'Donovan, Director of Program Management on the Windows Server Essentials team.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials is a significant milestone in our efforts to help cloud-enable small businesses and home offices. It is designed to help you protect business data, to allow highly secure access to the information you need from virtually anywhere by using almost any device, and to offer the flexibility to choose which applications and services you want to run on-premises and in the cloud—we have even made it easier than ever before to run Essentials itself in a hosted environment. Excitement about the release of Windows Server 2012 Essentials has been growing. In 8 weeks of public previews, we’ve had more than 23,000 downloads—far surpassing pre-release downloads of past versions.

Today I am pleased to tell you that Windows Server 2012 Essentials has reached the release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone. We are delivering the product to our hardware and ecosystem partners, and it will be generally available in all channels on November 1, with OEM partners shipping server systems by the end of the year.

I would like to encourage you to try Windows Server 2012 Essentials for yourself by visiting the Evaluation Center today to download a trial copy—and if you’re an MSDN or TechNet subscriber, you can download Essentials from those sites as well.

Let me share some quick product highlights with you:

  • Enable a dynamic, modern work style with access from your devices by using Remote Web Access (RWA), and take advantage of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 devices for a superior experience with rich modern “My Server” apps.
  • Enjoy peace of mind knowing that your data is well-protected by complementing your on-site backups with Windows Azure Online Backup, as well as utilizing integrated support for the new Windows 8 File History feature.
  • Choose the email and collaboration option that’s right for you, whether that’s in the cloud with Office 365 or a hosted service provider, or running on a local server.
  • Quickly and easily respond to increasing data capacity needs with support for Storage Spaces, which allows you to create elastic, resilient storage for your files and folders.
  • Run the line-of-business applications that you depend on by leveraging our greatly improved application compatibility, now with a single logo certification for all Windows Server 2012 editions.
  • Purchase with confidence knowing that your technology investment can easily grow to Windows Server 2012 Standard if the needs of your business grow.
  • Deploy today with full support for 19 languages, all releasing simultaneously.

We have seen some great initial press reviews of Windows Server 2012 Essentials, too. For example:

The right tool for the job… Server Essentials makes client backups so simple that not doing them borders on criminal. Combined with the Microsoft Online Backup service [Windows Azure Online Backup] (and possibly with replication based on Hyper-V), the backup features make for a much more disaster-resistant small network. And the integration with Office 365 and Exchange (but mostly with Office 365) greatly reduces the complexity of user administration.”
             -Ars Technica, A server for the rest of us: hands-on with Windows Server 2012 Essentials

“…ideal for a small business or a home office.”
             -ZDNet, Windows Server 2012 Essentials: Beta preview

You can find more information on the Windows Server 2012 Essentials product page, and discover deeper technical information on the Windows Server 2012 Essentials TechCenter. If you are a Microsoft Partner, be sure to visit the Microsoft Partner Network and take advantage of the training opportunities we have available, including the upcoming Disti Bootcamps. And, of course, we would like to continue the great dialog we’ve started with you during the previews, so please continue to share your experiences and provide us with your feedback in the Windows Server 2012 Essentials Forum.

Thank you,
Sinead O'Donovan