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Initial impressions of Essentials R2?

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Drashna Jaelre

From what I understand of that article, the only legitimate/legal use of HyperV on Essentials is ... with the essentials feature removed on the host, and a second copy of Essentials as a VM (as the ONLY VM).  So you have two copies of Essentials, but only one has the "Essentials Role" installed.


This is meant for replication/migration to be a lot easier. And it's meant for OEMs only (but then again, most of us are basically OEMs, aren't we).



However, there isn't anything to stop you for using it however you want. I mean, how many of us have "transitioned" 2012 Essentials to Standard and *aren't* using CALs...  Just remember, while you can, doesn't mean it's legal..... (go Microsoft legal department.... yay....)

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Yeah sorry my sarcastic tone was obviously lost during typing.     It may be anything causing my issues including operator error but Benjamiah having identical issues suggests otherwise.  The re

Drashna Jaelre

As for the differences here.... I'm not sure about 2012R2's pricing but here is 2012's:


  • Essentials: ~$400
  • Standard: ~$600-700, plus $30-40 PER user CAL (not RDP user, but just normal CALs... RDP is seperate and requires additional user or computer CALs.... which are equally expensive)
  • Datacenter: ~$4000. Plus all the same cals.... Plus it's licensed per CPU (I believe you get the first two for "free", but after that...) This is physical CPUs (as in slots), not cores.

R2 will probably be a bit steeper than this, because... well it's new.


Also, Standard gets you two VM rights, plus downgrade rights. (so you could install Standard as the host, and a VM, and Essentials as a VM as well). I'm not sure on how to do this (other than to use the eval key for essentials), but the instructions aren't exactly clear.....


And Datacenter gets you unlimited VM rights of just Standard, IIRC.


This is all for 2012, not R2. Things may have changed.



As for R2 and the Essentials Experience role.... Just remember, to keep things legal, that's ~$600+, plus a MINIMUM of 25 CALs, IIRC. So to keep it legal, that's in the $1300+ ballpark. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't drop that much money for home use.... Not unless that was pocket change....




Also, from what I'm reading... there is no media feature in R2 at all. :(

On the plus side, (I'm sorry Dave and Jim.... wait, I'm totally not sorry at all), that means that you should just install Subsonic. :P



Also, I'm by no means a MS Partner, reseller, or expert when it comes to this stuff. This is all what I've picked up. A lot from following Susan (sbsdiva). She, on the other hand, is a great resource for this kind of information. And yes, I definitely bow down to her, when it comes to all this SBS/licensing stuff.

Edited by Drashna (WGS)
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Thanks for the response.


Something still seems wrong here though. If the goal is just to virtualize 7 Pro and 8 Pro, Essentials can't do that? I mean even Windows 8 Pro has Hyper-V which, I think can, virtualize Windows 7 and 8 OS with the proper additional licenses, so that means that Windows 8 Pro has a feature that Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2 (4-5x the price) does not?


For example, in the latest show there is an example of what looks like an Essentials R2 server running Windows 8 Pro, Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8.1 Preview, and Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2 preview all at once. I haven't actually used Hyper-V but I think that might have been what was being shown. Disregarding the running Server 2012 Essentials virtually thing, is it really not allowed to do what was demonstrated in the podcast where it looked like you could switch between virtual instances of Windows 7 Pro and 8 Pro while running Server 2012 Essentials R2 physically? Is it really a Server licensing issue to virtually run a desktop OS that already has its own license?


What exactly was being shown? Was that part Windows 2012 Standard or something?

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I believe you have it correct. As Drashna says, R2 Essentials is not intended to be a Hyper-V server, except to run R2 Essentials in a VM while transitioning to R2 Standard.


Technically, of course, it is possible to do everything that was demoed in the podcast

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Drashna Jaelre

"The Hyper-V role and Hyper-V Manager console are now included with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials! The server licensing rights have been expanded, allowing you to install an instance of Essentials on your physical server to run the Hyper-V role (with none of the other roles and features of the Essentials Experience installed), and a second instance of Essentials as a virtual machine (VM) on that same server with all the Essentials Experience roles and features"


That's from the link.


And yes, you're not allowed to use the hypervisor (hyper-V) for ANYTHING BUT R2 ESSENTIALS. Period. That is the ONLY thing it's licensed for. It is this way for replication/migration purposes. Aka, for failover. To prevent downtime. Nothing more.


However, that doesn't stop you from using it any way you like. But if you're setting this up for a small office, or a home office (SOHO), or a small to medium business (SMB), then you DO NOT WANT TO DO THAT. Because you've violated the licensings, and if you get audited. You will be in some serious shit.  If you're doing this at home for personal use.... whatever. 

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I think Microsoft dropped the ball--again. I started the rebuild process of my EX487 with Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2, and when I got to the point where it asked me for the "internal domain name" (not just "domain name," but "internal domain name.")


Knowing full well that on November 1, 2015, the use of ".local" names in the SSL world will be prohibited, I chose a more forward-thinking domain name. Previously on Server 2012 Essentials, the domain was named "ParietalBone.local" so I typed in "ParietalBone.net".


The wizard didn't like that. So I tried ParietalBone.com. The wizard still wasn't feeling the love. ParietalBone.org? Denied. ParietalBone.biz? Nope. ParietalBone.mil? The wizard was having none of it.


For some reason unknown to me, Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2 insists that my domain suffix absolutely must be .local.


The changes in the SSL world are nothing new--the royal SSL decree came into effect on July 1, 2012 that proclaimed, "Thou shalt not use .local in thy domain name and thou shalt not use thy NetBIOS names in thy SSL certificate requests. Woe be unto thine administrators who dare useth such certificates, for thine certificates will cease to worketh on thy First Day of November in thy Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Fifteen."


It would seem to me that the folks at Microsoft didn't get that memo. Woe be unto them, I guess.


I guess it's time to rebuild to Server 2012 R2, set up Active Directory first, then install the Essentials role.

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Drashna Jaelre

Well, it doesn't really matter. Essentials sets up your server as a Certificate authority. It then creates and manages the certificates for the local domain. So I don't see how this is really an issue, unless the internal code for the CA role has also been changed to update this.



And yes, while this may not be good practice.... at least it will work just fine.

Also, speaking of licensing..... it's a CF.... 



Basically if you install Server 2012 R2 standard and downgrade, you must pay for 25+ User CALs, and then 25+ RDP CALs (user or computer, but much more expensive per).

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Am going to move forward with a clean install of WSE2012R2 this Fri. Giving MS sufficient time to document their findings on my WSE2012 DirectAccess support case (now escalated to GES, highest level of support in MS).


Seemed like a good time for a clean Install of the latest OS.

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What are initial impressions of those who have already made the jump to E12 R2? 



Having just spent two days with R2, my impressions are *!$*@!**


Two days of trying to get anything to work. Microsoft domain assignment, remote access, server randomly vanishing from the devices tab. Clients refusing to install the connector. This on all three installs that I did. 


So after two days wasted, I went back to the original S2012E and everything is running smoothly!

Lesson learnt.. If something works leave it alone!

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Not what I was hoping to read. Am about to blow away my WSE2012 install for R2. Are others experiencing these basic issues?

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