Windows Server 2012 is not the only server-specific product that the Redmondians made generally available this week.
A couple of other related server SKUs are now available for test/evaluation and purchase. Specifically, these are:
Hyper-V Server 2012: Hyper-V Server 2012 is a dedicated stand-alone product that contains the Hyper-V hypervisor, Windows Server driver model, virtualization capabilities, and supporting components such as failover clustering, but does not contain all of the features and roles as the full Windows Server 2012 operating system does. "As a result Hyper-V Server produces a small footprint and and requires minimal overhead." according to Microsoft's page about the product, which includes a download link.
Aidan Finn -- a Microsoft Valuable Professional (MVP) with an expertise in Virtual Machine who works for MicroWarehouse Ltd. -- alerted me to the fact Hyper-V 2012 is generally available. He noted in a September 4 blog post that there are "no free virtualisation rights to install Windows Server in guest OSes" with this product. "This means it is good for labs, VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure), Linux hosting, and upgrading older hosts without SA (Software Assurance." In other words, it is pretty stripped-down, but may be the right choice for particular workloads.
Windows Storage Server 2012: Windows Storage Server 2012 is built on the Windows Server 2012 operating system to provide a platform for Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances. "Windows Storage Server 2012 NAS appliances can help reduce the storage costs associated with building modern datacenters and private clouds," according to the description on the Microsoft Download site.
Essentials is the only one of these four that has not yet been released to manufacturing. Microsoft officials have said that will happen later this year. Essentials -- meant to be the replacement for Windows Small Business Server and Windows Home Server (for those who used it as a small-business server) -- will be generally available before the end of calendar 2012, Microsoft officials have said.