updated 07:15 pm EDT, Tue September 4, 2012
New simplified licensing reduces installer confusion
Microsoft has released Windows Server 2012, with simplified licensing. Four versions are available -- the Datacenter, Standard, Essentials, and Foundation -- all aimed at different market segments. The new offerings come with training on the new features of the software, as well as a 90-day trial period running on Microsoft's Azure cloud service.
"One of the things we tried to do for this launch was simplifying the licensing," said Mike Schutz, Microsoft's Windows Server general marketing manager. "We've simplified it to two core SKUs: Datacenter edition and Standard edition. We used to have multiple licensing models -- some were per server, some were per processor -- and the feature differentiation was spread through the editions. We got feedback that sometimes it was too complex for customers to choose which version."
The main edition of Windows Server 2012 consists of the Datacenter and Standard editions. virtualization is supported on the $4,809 Datacenter edition offering an unlimited number of virtual machines per processor. The Standard edition allowing two virtual machines per license runs $882. Both Datacenter and Standard editions require one license per pair of processor chips.
Essentials replaces the previous Small Business Server later this year and costs $501 per server. A user limit of 25 is imposed on Essentials. Windows server 2012 Foundation is only available pre-installed in complete Microsoft partner-provided solutions and is limited to 15 concurrent users.