Last week, Microsoft announced that it was going to discontinue its Windows Home Server product. Today, the company launched the first public beta for its intended replacement, Windows Server 2012 Essentials.
The download is now available from the Windows Server 2012 Essentials website. Microsoft is marketing the software mostly for small business users, saying, "Windows Server 2012 Essentials supports the applications you need to run your business and also helps you to quickly connect to additional cloud-based applications and services to extend your server’s functionality."
Microsoft launched Windows Home Server in 2007 in an attempt to get home owners to purchase media-centric server software and hardware. However, the home PC server market never really took off. The last major version of Windows Home Server was released in March 2011.
In its announcement last week about the new Windows Server 2012 Essentials, the company said:
" ... Microsoft is combining the features that were previously only found in Windows Home Server, such as support for DLNA-compliant devices and media streaming, into Windows Server 2012 Essentials and focusing our efforts into making Windows Server 2012 Essentials the ideal first server operating system for both small business and home use ... "
Thanks to Tommy for the tip!