Windows Server 2012 Editions comparison

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Windows Server 2012 is an operating system built by Microsoft and is the successor of Windows Server 2008 R2. Windows Server 2012 is the server-edition of Windows 8 and is available since September 2012. Its minor update (Windows Server 2012 R2) is available since Oktober 2013.

This article shows the differences between the individual Windows Server 2012 editions.

Windows Server 2012 pricing information about can be found at the Thomas-Krenn web shop in the area Microsoft software.

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Editions

Windows Server 2012 is available in 4 editions:

  • Foundation
  • Essentials
  • Standard
  • Datacenter

The editions are suitable for the following application areas:[1]

Edition Ideal for... High level feature-comparision Licensing model Memory limits[2] Pricing
Foundation Cost-efficient allround server Essential server functionality without virtualization rights Server (Limited to 15 users) 32 GB RAM See Microsoft software in the Thomas-Krenn web shop.
Essentials Environments in small companies Essential server functionality without virtualization rights Server (Limited to 25 users) 64 GB RAM
Standard Non-virtualized or lightly virtualized environments All features, with two virtual instances Processor + CAL* 4 TB RAM
Datacenter Highly-virtualized private cloud environments All features, with unlimited virtual instances Processor + CAL* 4 TB RAM
(*) CALs are required for each user or device, who directly or indirectly accesses a server. Find more information on this topic at the Client Access Licenses site at microsoft.com.

Minimal System Requirements for Windows Server 2012

The following are the minimal system requirements for Windows Server 2012 R2:[3]

Description Requirements
CPU architecture x64
CPU clock rate 1,4 GHz
RAM 512 MB
Disc capacity 32 GB *
(*) Servers with more than 16 GB of RAM will require more disk space for paging, hibernation, and dump files.

Edition comparison by physical / virtual instances

Windows Server 2012 instances can either run in a physical operating system environment (POSE) or a virtual operating system environment (VOSE):[4]

Edition Running instances in POSE Running instances in VOSE
Foundation 1 0
Essentials 1** 1**
Standard 1* 2
Datacenter 1 Unlimited
(*) When a customer is running all allowed virtual instances, the physical instance may only be used to manage and service the virtual instances.
(**) Essentials can be run in either a physical or virtual operating system environment “1 or 1.”

Edition comparison by server roles

The Windows Server 2012 editions differ in the following server roles:[4]

Server role Datacenter/Standard Essentials Foundation
AD Certificate Services X Automatically Installed/Configured (1) Partial/Limited (1)
AD Domain Services X Automatically Installed/Configured (2) X (3)
AD Federation Services X X X
AD Lightweight Directory Services X X X
AD Rights Management Services (4) X (4) X (4) X (4)
Application Server X X X
DHCP Server X X X
DNS Server X Automatically Installed/Configured X
Fax Server X X X
File Services X Automatically Installed/Configured (5) Partial/Limited (5)
Hyper-V X - -
Network Policy & Access Services X Automatically Installed/Configured Partial/Limited
Print & Document Services X X X
Remote Access X Automatically Installed/Configured (6) limitiert (6)
Remote Desktop Services (7) X (7) - (7)(8) Partial/Limited (7)(9)
UDDI Services X X X
Web Server (IIS) X Automatically Installed/Configured X
Windows Deploy Services X X X
Windows Server Update Services X - -
(1) Limited to creating Certificate Authorities – there are no other Active Directory Certificate Services features (Network Device Enrollment Services, Online Responder Service). See ADCS role documentation on TechNet for more information.
(2) Must be root of ADDS forest and domain and have all FSMO roles.
(3) If ADDS role is installed, must be root of forest and domain and have all FSMO roles.
(4) Requires an incremental AD RMS CAL for access.
(5) The data de-duplication feature is not available.
(6) Limited to 50 RRAS connections, 10 IAS connections; DirectAccess and VPN are supported.
(7) Requires an incremental RDS CAL for access, with the exception of using the Remote Web Access feature of the Essentials edition.
(8) Only the RD Gateway role service is installed and configured, other RDS role services including RD Session Host are not supported.
(9) Limited to 50 Remote Desktop Services connections.

Edition comparison by feature

Feature Datacenter / Standard Essentials Foundation
BranchCache X X X
User Interfaces and Infrastructure (Server Core) X - -
Server Manager X X X
Windows Power Shell X X X

References

  1. Windows Server 2012 Editionen - Die vier Editionen von Windows Server 2012 (www.microsoft.com)
  2. Memory Limits for Windows and Windows Server Releases - Physical Memory Limits: Windows Server 2012 (msdn.microsoft.com)
  3. System Requirements and Installation Information for Windows Server 2012 R2 (technet.microsoft.com, 24.06.2013)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Windows Server 2012 Licensing Data Sheet (EN) (download.microsoft.com)

Additional Information

Related articles

Creating a Network Share in Windows
Creating and managing a Group Policy on a Windows 2012 Server