Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials preview released

In 2012, Microsoft announced it was going to discontinue its Windows Home Server product in favor of something new; Windows Server 2012 Essentials. This week, Microsoft announced the first details on the first major upgrade for the small business server software, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials.

In a blog post, Microsoft said that a public preview of the server software is now available for download. It also goes over some of the many new features that will be included in the R2 update. One of them is the ability to create a virtualization of a Windows Server Essentials guest virtual machine on a Windows Server Essentials host server, either by a automated wizard setup or manually by an IT administrator.

It also has a new services integration status page, shown in the above screenshot, that's designed to give administrators a quick way to see which of the many Microsoft services are available from Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials. They include Office 365, Windows Azure Active Directory, Windows Intune and Windows Azure Backup.

Microsoft also has plans to update the My Server apps that have been released for Windows Phone and Windows 8 later this year that will offer Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials some new features such as such as SharePoint Online libraries.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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15 Comments

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too bad they did away with SBS. it was nice to have a fully integrated web server, exchange server, directory, etc... set up for you all at once. That was truely a small business server, this is more a stripped down full blown server.

SirEvan said,
too bad they did away with SBS. it was nice to have a fully integrated web server, exchange server, directory, etc... set up for you all at once. That was truely a small business server, this is more a stripped down full blown server.

Actually, you can use walk-through wizards to set all those things up in Server 2012 - any versions (all except Exchange, which is a separate program). R2 (all versions) includes a Server Essentials feature wizard, which gives you the option to add/configure Microsoft Online Services - for any or all of it. I've added Windows Intune already, and I'm now configuring Office365.

It's designed and priced for small businesses. I believe it was home users that complained that the price was too high.

Thief000 said,
Agreed, they should make another Windows Home Server for up to $100.

Unfortunately, a lot of the Home Server stuff went into this product now that MS has done away with Home Server.

Gungel said,
Does anyone know if the R2 upgrade will be free for Server 2012 owners like with Windows 8 to 8.1?

doubt it

Gungel said,
Does anyone know if the R2 upgrade will be free for Server 2012 owners like with Windows 8 to 8.1?

8.1 is a service pack. R2 was a whole different version, much like server 2008, server 2008 R2

Strange ... could've sworn I already downloaded this last week from the Technet Evalulation Centre.

DJGM said,
Strange ... could've sworn I already downloaded this last week from the Technet Evalulation Centre.

Yes, it was. I downloaded it then too. Definitely the 'Essentials' version of 2012R2.

Squuiid said,

Yes, it was. I downloaded it then too. Definitely the 'Essentials' version of 2012R2.

It was on my Technet subscription too last week.