Windows Server simplified

imageMy colleague Damir has written about this topic before on this blog, but I thought it warranted another post so here it is. You see, with past iterations of the Microsoft Windows Server operating system, there were always a number of things to contemplate before selecting which version to purchase – workload, growth potential, features needed, etc. However, with Windows Server 2012 your selection process couldn’t be simpler. Well, it could if there were no choice at all but this is the next simplest option.

You have 2 choices:

  1. Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition
  2. Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Edition

Your deciding criteria can be summed up in your answer to one question:

Will the server to run a workload directly or will the it be a virtualization host?

Because from a technical standpoint, these editions are exactly the same. The only difference lies in the virtualization rights. Standard edition entitles you to run up to two virtual machines on up to two CPUs while Datacenter edition gives you license to run an unlimited number of virtual machines on up to two CPUs.

That means that all the features available in the Datacenter edition are also available in the Standard edition. This includes being able to scale up to 4TB of RAM, up to 64 physical CPUs, up to 640 logical CPUs (without Hyper-V enabled) and up to 320 logical CPUs (with Hyper-V enabled). This includes being able to enable features and roles such as Failover Clustering, BranchCache, Active Directory Federated Services, Distributed File Services and more. They are the same.

But you thought there were 4 editions? Ok, you got me. There are.

If you’re a small business with up to 25 users and don’t need all the features that Windows Server 2012 has to offer, such as Failover Clustering and BranchCache, you can opt for a third edition:

    3.   Windows Server 2012 Essentials Edition

The Essentials Edition allows you to run workloads on the box as usual, but it also comes with a connector to Office 365 and allows you to manage your cloud-based applications such as email, collaboration, online backup, etc.

The fourth edition is called Windows Server 2012 Foundation Edition. It’s only available to OEMs which isn’t applicable for most organizations so I won't touch on it here.

That about sums it up. You can read about the pricing and licensing of editions in more detail by downloading these PDF papers:

If you're interested in more information on Windows Server 2012, why not attend our Canadian Launch Tour.  And don't forget to try it out first by downloading an evaluation of Windows Server 2012 from here

Pretty simple, eh?

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Comments (2)

  1. evan says:

    Does the limit of virtual guests on the physical host of 2 per Standard license include non MS VM's?  for example if I had 1 Windows VM and 3 Linux VM's would I need 1 or 2 standard licenses on a 2 processor system?


    (Reply from Mitch): Hi Evan.  The 2 use rights are for Windows 2012 VMs.  Any other OS can be used without any further license from Microsoft, as long as they are properly licensed by the OS vendor.  In the example you set out you need a single license for Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition. -MDG


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