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MS Windows 2012 Essentials or Foundation?


RobWu
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Hi all,

 

Long time lurker, but haven't made a account until now.

I'm on the brink of replacing my trusty (but failing) WHS v1 for a HP Proliant Microserver Gen8.
I've done a lot of reading and viewing on this, thanks all for the videos and posts! :-)

The one thing I'm not sure of is the OS. I just want to replace WHS v1, so file sharing and PC backup is the main priority.
I'm running a small office from home, so there's not a ton of users or I/O going on.
Other stuff like streaming etc. is a bonus, as I don't really use that now either.

It's also a price thing, as Foundation is roughly half the price of Essentials, and I don't see much of a difference between the two but in user numbers that can access the server.

As I don't see a lot of posts mentioning Foundation, I can only assume people are going for Essentials. If so, what are the advantages in daily work?

cheers for any answers, so I can start ordering :-)

 

rob

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If you want to replace your WHSv1 box, then Look at Windows Server Essentials.  Especially, WIndows Server 2012 R2 Essentials (though 2012 Essentials works as well). 

 

Specifically, both are "low end OEM" OSes.  It means that both do not require user CALs, and both are meant for super small companies.

 

The main difference is that Foundation is basically a striped down version of Standard.  Whereas Essentials is based DIRECTLY on the WHS code (it's an upgraded version of WHS2011, which was a port of the code to Server 2008R2).  So, if you want the WHS experience, go with essentials.

 

Specifically, what Essentials gets you, on top of the normal server stuff is:

  • Connector Software (include update/antivirus status)
  • Client Backups (using data deduplication for the database)
  • Remote Access website ("Anywhere Access", and 2012R2 gets you VPN functionality as well)
  • Dashboard for management (very similar the console for WHSv1, and all of the same functionality)
  • Simplified file sharing (and media streaming/sharing) though the dashboard. 
  • Optional integration with Office 365/Azure.

Basically, if you want the WHS feel, Essentials is your best option (as it's based on it). 

 

But if the price tag is steep, grab the eval copy from Technet. It lasts for 180 days (six months)! So you can ... well, save up, if you need to. :)

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I moved from whs 2011 to 2012r2 with essentials, I found the bare metal restore to be far slower than 2011. whs2011 is good for another few years, just a thought...not my intention to start a flame war :)

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Active Domain should be mentioned to anyone moving from WHS to 2012R2E. Also the (not MS sanctioned) "SkipDomainJoin".

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As soon as I hit enter I thought that is wrong and Drashna will be the first to chide me.  I was going to change it to "(not supported)" but it seems I would have been wrong there too.  But my point is that the intricacies of AD should be pointed out to anyone contemplating moving to windows server proper from WHS unless they have previous experience with AD. 

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If you stick with the Dashboard, most anyone can navigate through essentials.

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As soon as I hit enter I thought that is wrong and Drashna will be the first to chide me.  I was going to change it to "(not supported)" but it seems I would have been wrong there too.  But my point is that the intricacies of AD should be pointed out to anyone contemplating moving to windows server proper from WHS unless they have previous experience with AD. 

 

I don't know if that makes me proud or depressed. :):(

 

But yes, I agree. Active Directory can be complicated, and cause issues, even if you're not using it. 

 

Though, normally one of the things I always make a point of is: If clients are joined to the domain, YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST BACKUP THE SERVER.  Failure to do so means that if you reinstall the server, you'll be wiping the clients essentially. 

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Hi all,

 

Thanks for all the answers, I ordered all my hardware and 2012 Essentials R2. I found a pretty nice deal on R2, so it's not too bad.

The domain thing is/was a worry of mine, but it seems I can work around it for now with that TechNet link.
I would like to know if you can use WSUS if the PC is not linked to the domain though. Especially for W10 clients.

@jmwills: I do have some previous server admin experience, but the latest versions do have added a lot since then, and it's a tad more complicated than WHSv1 ;-)

@Drashna Jaelre: Not sure on the backup comment. What do you mean exactly?

cheers,

 

rob

 

P.S. I have some extra W10/MS account client related questions, but I can start a new thread for that.

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@Drashna Jaelre: Not sure on the backup comment. What do you mean exactly?

 

If the client computers are joined to the domain and you're logging on with domain accounts, then if the domain controller is wiped, you've effectively wiped the user database.

 

you can continue to log onto the accounts for a while ,but that's time limited IIRC.

 

And if you leave the domain to join the new domain, you LOSE those user accounts.  And to install the connector on the clients, you MUST leave the domain. 

 

That means you have to recreate the profile from scratch, or use something to migrate the user accounts. 

 

And this would be for each machine. 

 

 

 

So yo ucan see how problematic this would be.  Having a backup means that is something does happen, you can restore.  Otherwise, you'd want a second server as a backup domain controller, which requires Standard or Datacenter (both expensive) and user CALs (also expensive). 

 

 

 

P.S. I have some extra W10/MS account client related questions, but I can start a new thread for that.

 

You can link your Microsoft account to domain accounts. :)

Also, if you use Microsoft accounts, you can use the Windows Credential Manager to store server credentials for seamless login to server shares. 

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