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Windows Server 2012 Essentials provides small businesses with a server solution that can support up to 25 users and 50 devices. It provides management, networking, data storage and backup, security, and document and printer sharing. All your applications and information are protected, centralized, and organized using Windows Server 2012 Essentials and can be accessed almost anywhere using virtually any device.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials provides improved data protection capabilities by offering Windows Azure online backup that can be used to protect files and folders in a cloud-based storage service that is managed by Microsoft. Another feature is Storage Space that allows you to group physical drives together into a storage pool to create storage spaces, which are virtual drives that appear in File Explorer. This allows you to create larger storage spaces by adding more drives when you run low on pool capacity.
The Essentials edition is used on servers that have 1 or 2 CPUs, and each physical server requires one license. For example, two licenses are required when you have two servers with one CPU each, while one server using 5 CPUs would need three licenses. This OEM version of Windows Server 2012 Essentials is not transferable to another server, and support is the responsibility of the computer manufacturer or installer.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials leverages several features available in Windows Server 2012 to provide greatly improved data protection capabilities. The Storage Spaces feature allows customers to aggregate the physical storage capacity of disparate hard drives, dynamically add hard drives, and to create volumes with specified levels of resilience. Windows Server 2012 Essentials can perform complete system backups and bare-metal restores of the server itself as well as the client computers connected to the network - now with support for volumes larger than 2 terabytes. Additionally, Windows Azure Online Backup can be used to protect files and folders in a cloud-based storage service that is managed by Microsoft. Windows Server 2012 Essentials also centrally manages and configures the new File History feature of Windows 8 clients, helping users to recover from accidentally deleted or overwritten files without requiring administrator assistance.
Remote Web Access provides a stream-lined, touch-friendly browser experience for accessing applications and data from virtually anywhere you have an Internet connection using almost any device. Windows Server 2012 Essentials also provides an updated Windows Phone app and a modern app for Windows 8 clients, allowing users to intuitively connect to, search across, and access files and folders on the server; files are also automatically cached for offline access and synchronized when a connection to the server becomes available. Windows Server 2012 Essentials turns setting up virtual private networking (VPN) into a painless wizard-driven process of just a few clicks, and simplifies the management of VPN access for users. Client computers can leverage a VPN connection to remotely join the Essentials environment without the need to come into the office.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials monitors its own health status and the status of client computers running Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac OS X version 10.5 and above. Health status notifies you of issues or problems related to computer backups, server storage, low disk space, and more.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials has been designed to allow customers the flexibility to choose which applications and services run on-premises and which run in the cloud. With Windows Server 2012 Essentials, customers can take advantage of the same integrated management experience whether they choose to run an on-premises copy of Exchange Server, subscribe to a hosted Exchange service, or subscribe to Office 365.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials builds on the extensibility model of Windows SBS 2011 Essentials, which allows other software vendors to add capabilities and features to the core product, and adds a new set of Web Services APIs. It also maintains compatibility with the existing software development kit (SDK) and Add-Ins created for Windows SBS 2011 Essentials.
Minimum CPU 1.4 GHz (64-bit processor) or faster single core 1.3 GHz (64-bit processor) or faster multi-core RAM 2 GB Hard Disks and Available Storage Space 160 GB hard disk with a 60 GB system partition Network Adapter Gigabit Ethernet adapter 10/100/1000baseT PHY/MAC Internet Some functionality may require Internet access (fees may apply) or a Windows Live ID Account Router A router or firewall that supports IPv4 NAT
Recommended CPU 3.1 GHz (64-bit processor) or faster multi-core RAM 8 GB
Client Operating System
Windows 8, Windows 7, Macintosh OS X version 10.5 to 10.8
Super-VGA 800 x 600 (minimum) or 1024 × 768 (recommended) or higher-resolution monitor (headed mode only)
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device (headed mode only)
Your server computer must be connected via a network cable to a router
The router should be a UPnP-certified device, but it is not required
The router should be in the 192.168.x.x subnet, but it is not required