Windows Server 2012 R2 editions overview

They carry the exact same capabilities, which has made data center planning much easier. However, for smaller organizations, neither edition may make sense. For these organizations, Microsoft makes available two additional, less comprehensive editions.

The first, Foundation, cant be purchased separately. It must be included as a part of a server purchase. In addition, the Foundation edition supports only a single processor and up to 15 users.

The Essentials edition is a bit more robust and can support up to two processors and 25 users. Unlike Foundation, Essentials can be purchased separately from server hardware and carries a starting price of $501.

Both features carry most of the same features as the Standard and Data Center editions, but there are some exceptions:

  • In the file server role, deduplication is not supported in either edition.
  • Hyper-V is not available in the Foundation edition.
  • In both editions, Remote Access is limited to 50 RRAS connections, 10 IAS connections.
  • The Foundation edition is limited to 50 RDS connections.
  • WSUS is not available in the Foundation edition.

There are also some important Active Directory limitations to understand. For example, the Foundation edition is limited to creating Certificate Authoritiesthere are no other Active Directory Certificate Services features (Network Device Enrollment Services, Online Responder Service).

The Essentials and Foundation editions are targeted at SMBs with fewer needs while the Standard and Data Center editions are targeted at larger organizations and those with more complex IT environments. From Microsoft:

  • Datacenter edition for highly-virtualized private cloud environments.
  • Standard edition for non-virtualized or lightly virtualized environments.
  • Essentials edition for small businesses with up to 25 users running on servers with up to two processors.
  • Foundation edition for small businesses with up to 15 users running on single processor servers.

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