By PowerBuy // 11 April 2013 // Related Categories: Tips

What you need to know about Windows Server 2012

Last September Microsoft launched Windows Server 2012, the third major release in the history of Windows Server. Here are the 5 most common Server 2012 questions:

Is Server 2012 really better than the previous versions?

Yes, it is. It’s faster, easier to use, more stable, better at managing large amounts of data and much better for virtualised environments. Microsoft has done a good job with Server 2012 and where it really shines is in mid-large workgroups where data processing and storage requirements are more complex.

What’s new?

Microsoft has engineered Server 2012 to work better with the Cloud so you can now better protect your data through automated backup with Windows Azure Online Backup. Some 2012 versions also come with an “app” that allows Windows 8 users to easily connect to the server even when they are not connected to the network.

Server 2012 does not come bundled with Exchange server or SQL server which affects you if you run Microsoft Small Business Server 2011. Now you can subscribe to a Cloud service for email and collaboration (e.g. hosted Exchange or Office 365) and if you want SQL server then you have to purchase it separately.

There are many new features that medium-large businesses will enjoy and we suggest you talk to your IT expert to understand what these mean for you.

What versions of Server 2012 are available?

Foundation is the most basic version available. Foundation is ideal for up to 15 users and it’s only available pre-installed on a new server.

Essentials is the most popular version and it supports up to 25 users. It replaces Windows Server 2008 and Small Business Server and it’s simple, affordable, easy to manage and has been tailored to address most small business IT needs.

Standard is for businesses with more than 25 users or those with virtualisation needs. It will support two virtual servers and an unlimited number of users.

Datacenter is for big business because it’s designed for highly virtualised private Cloud environments.

How does the price compare?

Foundation and Essentials are very good value for money and cheaper than past versions however with the extra licenses for Microsoft Exchange (an on-premise email server) or Microsoft SQL (database) it becomes more cost prohibitive than the former Small Business Server bundle. Essentials is the best value for money but it presents expanding businesses with a hefty upgrade bill once they break the 25-user mark. Larger businesses should carefully review their licensing options to get the best value for money.

When to upgrade?

If you have Software Assurance then you should upgrade when feasible because it doesn’t cost any extra to get the new license. There are a few application compatibility problems to consider but your IT consultant can help you with these.

If you run a small business (without Software Assurance) then you should only seriously consider upgrading if your server is getting old. There is not much new in file and print services so there is no rush to upgrade.

Medium-large businesses will see productivity benefits by upgrading; especially those that want to benefit from the improved virtualisation functions. If this is you then you should considering moving to Server 2012 as soon as is practical. 

Want to discuss your requirements?

If you would like to discuss if Windows Server 2012 is right for you then please contact us on 1300 955 523.

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