Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials from Microsoft 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 R2 Essentials and can be accessed almost anywhere using virtually any device. Carrying over all the same features of Windows Server 2012 Essentials, this release 2 version has added options to server and client deployments and enhancements in users and groups, server storage, remote web access, and more.
Windows Server 2012 R2 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.
This product is part of the Microsoft Business Open Licensing program that is designed for businesses with 5 to 250 users or devices. The purchase of this product provides one perpetual software license for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials that is installed on a server with 1 or 2 CPUs. However, a minimum initial purchase of five licenses is required to qualify for the Open License Agreement. You can purchase any combination of Open License software products to fulfill the Open License Agreement. Once you have met the requirements, you can purchase additional licenses during the two-year term. You will receive an e-mail with instructions to access the Volume Licensing Service Center website. Afterwards, you will use your Windows Live ID, an Open License authorization number, and a license number to access the VLSC website to download your software product. The VLSC stores all your licenses so that you can better manage and track them. You can also obtain a physical media disc from Microsoft for an additional fee to install the licensed software.
Microsoft Software Assurance enhances the licensing agreement for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials during your term. It includes beta and final versions of the latest software versions of Windows Server Essentials when they are released. When help is needed, you can contact the 24 x 7 problem resolution department via phone or web. Software Assurance also offers TechNet experts to train your IT department. In addition, it provides licensing for servers used as offline "cold" backups for disaster recovery purposes, deployment planning services, extended Hotfix support, and technical information.
- Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials must be the domain controller at the root of the forest and domain, and must hold all the FSMO roles.
- Windows Server Essentials Experience as a server role in the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2012 R2 can be installed as a member server in a domain. If an Active Directory domain does not exist, installing the role will create an Active Directory domain, and the server will become the domain controller at the root of the forest and domain, holding all the FSMO roles. You can have more than one server with the Windows Server Essentials Experience role installed in your network.
- As part of your installation process, you can opt to install Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials as a virtual machine by following instructions in a wizard.
- The Connector can be used to connect to a server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials from a remote location.
- The Connector can trigger automatic VPN dialing in domain-joined clients, so that customers can always be connected to Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials when they are working off-premises.
- The Connector can be configured to connect to other servers running Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials without re-installation.
- The Connector performance has been improved by reducing its memory and CPU usage.
Users and Groups
- You can create user groups and add user accounts to them. User account permissions can be managed through their user group memberships.
- If your server is integrated with Office 365, you can manage your Office 365 distribution groups from the Dashboard.
- You can create shared folders on a secondary server while keeping the same Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path prefix.
- You can specify a space quota for a server folder. You receive an alert when a server folder size grows beyond its defined quota.
Office 365 Integration
- Manage your Office 365 SharePoint Libraries from the Dashboard.
- Manage your Office 365 distribution groups from the Dashboard.