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Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials


TheOfficeMaven
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Hi All.

 

Well, it looks like Microsoft has finally put out a server OS that is a worthy replacement for Windows Home Server 2011. If you're interested in getting a home/small business (SOHO) server, and haven't yet heard of Microsoft's new "Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials" (WSS2012R2e) offering, then you really should take a good look at it.

 

WSS2012R2e is basically a specially modified version of Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard (and NOT Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 as its name would suggest) that's running the Windows Server Essentials Experience (WSEE) server role, and limited to distribution via OEMs (pre-installed on new servers/NAS boxes). It's essentially the exact same OS as Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials (WS2012R2e), but it offers double the number of users (i.e. 50 users for WSS2012R2e vs only 25 users for WS2012R2e - no CALs required!), and is considerably less money. Just the WS2012R2e operating system itself lists for around $500 USD, but you can pick up a brand spanking new server/NAS with WSS2012R2e installed on it for a list price of under $350 USD!

 

If you'd like to read a bit more about the new WSS2012R2e operating system, then checkout the following links:

 

Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials: A Closer Look

http://blogs.technet.com/b/storageserver/archive/2014/12/10/windows-storage-server-2012-r2-essentials-a-closer-look.aspx

 

Thecus (first OEM to offer a server/NAS with WSS2012R2e installed)

http://wss.thecus.com/index.php

 

Thecus W2000

http://wss.thecus.com/product_W2000.php

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822102095

 

Thecus W4000

http://wss.thecus.com/product_W4000.php

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822102094

 

Thecus W5000

http://wss.thecus.com/product_W5000.php

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822102093

 

I've personally never seen/used any hardware from Thecus, so I can't offer up any advice there, but I'm sure that other OEMs will be offering server/NAS boxes with WSS2012R2e installed on them in the near future (should you not be a fan of theirs).

 

I've also managed to get a copy of WSS2012R2e running inside of a Gen 2 Virtual Machine, so if you have any questions (as far as the operating system itself goes), then please feel free to ask.

 

-- MIKE

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Oh and BTW...

 

If you want to use WSS2012R2e as a WHS2011 replacement, and don't want to join your clients to the domain controller (nor have it act as the DNS server instead of your router - i.e. if you want your client computers to still have an internet connection even when the server is offline), then you can mimic that exact behavior of WHS2011 by simply using the Microsoft-provided "SkipDomainJoin" and "SkipAutoDNSServerDetection" registry keys. Paul Braren has a really nice "How to" guide that will walk you through setting things up like that:

 

How to make Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials client connector install behave just like Windows Home Server

http://www.tinkertry.com/how-to-make-windows-server-2012-r2-essentials-client-connector-install-behave-just-like-windows-home-server/

 

-- MIKE

Edited by TheOfficeMaven
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Yup, had seen the Thecus boxes. Very nice looking, and good specs, IIRC.

 

Now if there was only a good way to buy Windows Storage Server 2012R2 Essentials without buying a Thecus box...

 

Also, what are the differences between Storage Server Essentials and just regular Server Essentials?

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I've seen this thru the educational market

http://www.genesis-technologies.com/cart/Microsoft_Windows_Server_2012_R2_Essentials_School_Licenses_p8902.html?utm_source=feeds&utm_medium=shp&utm_campaign=froogle&gclid=CKrgiPv1-sICFQeCMgodrF8AgQ

 

About $150 US

Note, this is a institutional license, not a student/teacher deal

 

At this price,this group would be lining up to buy it

 

Sent from my IdeaTab S6000-F using Tapatalk

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That's till for Windows Server 2012R2 Essentials and not Windows Storage Server 2012R2 Essentials.

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Hi Guys,

All I know is that the underlying SKU of the OS is 100% identical to Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard (PRODUCT_STANDARD_SERVER 0x7). Thus, it's just a copy of WS2012R2Std with a few minor locks and limitations built-in (such as being limited to a single processor and a lower max amount of RAM - i.e. exactly the same as WS2012R2e is). The only big difference between them being that the full-blown WS2012R2Std allows 100 users/200 devices in its WSEE server role (but requires CALs for each of those users). Whereas WSS2012R2e allows for 50 users/50 devices in its WSEE server role (and doesn't require any user CALs). WS2012R2e has a completely different SKU (PRODUCT_SB_SOLUTION_SERVER 0x32) and is locked to 25 users/50 devices (and also does not require any user CALs). Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Standard is SKU PRODUCT_STORAGE_STANDARD_SERVER 0x15, and doesn't even offer the WSEE server role at all.

Personally, I like the fact that Microsoft has locked WSS2012R2e to OEMs only (and at an extremely reasonable price), as doing that will stop the "race to the bottom" pricing that completely devalued Windows Home Server 2011. Once folks started seeing WHS2011 selling for $50 (which is a completely unrealistic price for a server OS), they were no longer willing to pay anything more than that for a home server OS. Locking the OS to being pre-installed on server/NAS boxes will prevent that from happening IMHO.

Overall, I'm completely impressed by WSS2012R2e, and Microsoft should get a HUGE kudos for releasing it (although, they probably should of done it much sooner). Now all we need is other OEMs to offer it on different hardware (seeing as we all have our preferred hardware vendors). Obviously, it won't satisfy the power users out there, but that's what WS2012R2Std is for (if you want to play, then you gotta pay). The OEM WSS2012R2e offering should be more than adequate for its intended target audience of home/small business (SOHO) users.

And, as an added bonus, existing WSS add-ins (like mine) work just fine with the new OS since it's exactly the same under-the-hood (as WS2012R2e and WS2012R2Std with WSEE).

-- MIKE

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I agree.

 

Although I'm not 100% sure if having an Atom based processor is a forced requirement for the OEM or not (i.e. if it's a forced requirement by Microsoft in order for the OEM to be able to pre-install the OS on their hardware).

 

I do know for sure that the WSS2012R2e OS itself isn't locked to having an Atom processor because it is running just fine within my VM which shows up as having the "AMD Turion II Neo N40L Dual-Core Processor" (running at 1.50 GHz) from my underlying HP ProLiant MicroServer N40L.

 

WSS2012R2e.png

Edited by TheOfficeMaven
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I don't think it's been explicitly stated, but do the servers (e.g. Thecus) come with a DVD/Blu-ray/other-media that allows the OS to be moved to another computer? I'm kinda thinking Yes because there's mention of running it in a VM, but I think it would be useful to have it stated for sure.

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