Microsoft to deliver its new small-business server by end of 2012

Microsoft to deliver its new small-business server by end of 2012

Summary: Microsoft has made available for download a near-final release candidate of its hybrid on-premises/cloud server for small and mid-size businesses.


Microsoft already started rolling out the final versions of most of its Windows Server 2012 SKUs this month. The last of them -- Windows Server 2012 Essentials, which is its small/mid-size business server -- will be out before year-end, officials said this week.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials is Microsoft's intended replacement for Windows Small Business Server and Windows Home Server (for those SMBs who were using WHS for business purposes). The Essentials product is a hybrid on-premises/cloud server. It will have a 25-user limit and sell for $425, Microsoft officials have said.

Here's Microsoft's chart listing the four editions of Windows Server 2012, for those who want/need a refresher:


Microsoft made the near-final Release Candidate (RC) test build of Windows Server 2012 Essentials available to testers on August 21. There were a few major changes between the beta of the product, which went to testers in July, and the RC. Among them, according to a Microsoft blog post on the subject:

  • Increased support for importing SSL certificates
  • Installation of only critical setup updates during setup (a feature requested by a number of partners)
  • More granular settings for Windows SBS Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) rules
  • Changes to simplify the importing of existing Office 365 users into Windows Server 2012 Essentials
  • Verified DHCP support

The free RC of Windows Server 2012 Essentials can be downloaded from Microsoft's download site.

The final version of the Windows Server 2012 Essentials will be released to manufacturing and made generally available before the year is over, officials said in this week's blog post.

Topics: SMBs, Cloud, Microsoft, Servers


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • When will Server 2012 RTM be available?

    Thanks for the update. Any news about when Server 2012 Standard/Datacenter will be available for download to TechNet/MSDN/SA subscribers?
  • Server 2012

    Hi. Here's info on what's coming when for Win Server 2012:

    I believe I've seen folks with MSDN/TechNet access saying they already have the final server bits available to them. MJ
    Mary Jo Foley
    • Server 2012

      Thanks for the reply. My company has TechNet and we only see the Release Candidate for download. The "get your licenses" page also does not show Server 2012 testing licenses yet either.

      Since it didn't come out with Win8, I'm guessing it'll be available for TechNet/MSDN/SA customers when it becomes generally available on Sept 4.
  • Server 2012 is not yet on Technet/MSDN

    Just a fyi if Microsoft is telling journalists it's there.. it's not.
    I only have it on my VLSC page. It looks like they are gating it for the 9/4 event.
    • I stand corrected

      I mixed up Win 8 Enterprise and Win Server 2012 info. Win 8 Enterprise is avail to business users now. But you are right: Server bits not until Sept. 4. Sorry for the mistake! MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
  • SBS is much better choice to SMB's

    Thanks for the information. Recently we did a Infra Management project on Cloud for a client (this a featured story at our web:
    The client had around 50 users. We advised them to use Windows SBS to reduce the TCO. Now we will ask them to wait till SBS 2012 hits up. This will help them to further reduce their costs.
    Layer7 Labs
    • SBS 2011 is the last SBS

      SBS 2011 is the LAST SBS, there isnt more SBS from MS :-(
      Daffe Doffen
    • WHS is better

      although worthless for options...
  • WORTHLESS LINK: The free RC of Windows Server 2012 Essentials

    06/26/2013 9:20 CST
    forget trying to find this download; it does not exist