Windows Server 2012 (codenamed Windows Server 8) is the sixth release of the Windows Server series of operating systems. It is the server version of Windows 8, and is the successor to Windows Server 2008 R2 and the predecessor to Windows Server 2016. It was released to manufacturing on August 1, 2012, and to the public on September 4, 2012.
Notable new features and improvements include:
- The new Metro user interface from Windows 8 (originally from Windows Phone 7)
- Ability to switch between Server GUI and Server Core interface options without reinstallation
- A redesigned Task Manager
- Improvements to Active Directory, Hyper-V and the new IIS 8
- A new licensing model (see below)
Windows Server 2012 will be available in only 4 editions:
- Foundation - Limited to 1 CPU and limited connections, AD must be forest root. Available through OEM only
- Essentials - Limited to 2 CPUs, higher limits than Foundation. Available through Retail, VL and OEM.
- Standard - Adds Hyper-V, Server Core, ADFS, and uses CALs. Available through Retail, VL and OEM.
- Datacenter - Unlimited virtualization rights. Available only though VL or OEM
Microsoft has indicated that Windows Server 2012 will not support 32-bit (IA-32) or Itanium (IA-64) processors, but has not officially released any other system requirements, except for the Release Candidate. The following system requirements are for the Release Candidate, and are subject to change in the final release.
|Memory (RAM)||512 MB|
|HDD free space||32 GB (more if there is 16 GB of RAM or more)|
Upgrades from Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 are supported, though upgrades from prior releases will not be supported.
|Distribution||OEM only||Retail, Volume Licensing, OEM||Volume Licensing and OEM|
|Licensing model||Per server||Per every pair of processor chips (although minimum on each server is 1 chip)[note 1]||Per every pair of processor chips (minimum chip count on each server is 2)[note 1]|
|User limit||15||25||Unlimited, but one Client Access License per user required|
|Virtualization rights||N/A||Either in 1 VM or 1 physical server, but not both at once (per license)||2 VMs per license[note 1]||Unlimited (on each licensed physical server)|
|Processor chip limit||1||2||Up to 64, 1 license for every 2|
|DNS server role||Yes|
|Fax server role||Yes|
|File Services||Limited to 1 standalone DFS root||Limited to 1 standalone DFS root, automatically installed||Yes|
|Network Policy and Access Services||Limited to 50 RRAS connections and 10 IAS connections||Limited to 250 RRAS connections, 50 IAS connections, and 2 IAS Server Groups||Yes (no limits)|
|Print and Document Services||Yes|
|Remote Desktop Services||Limited to 50 Remote Desktop Services connections||Limited to 250 Remote Desktop Services connections||Unlimited, but Client Access Licenses required|
|Web Services (Internet Information Services)||Yes||Yes (automatically installed)||Yes|
|Windows Deploy Services||Yes|
|Windows Server Update Services||Yes|
|Active Directory Certificate Services||Certificate Authorities only||Certificate Authorities only (automatically installed)||Yes|
|Active Directory Domain Services||Must be root of forest and domain||Yes|
|Active Directory Federation Services||No||Yes|
|Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services||Yes|
|Active Directory Rights Management Services||Yes|
|Application server role||Yes||Yes (installed automatically)||Yes|
|Server Core mode||No||Yes|
- Each license of Windows Server 2012 Standard or Datacenter allows up to two processor chips. Each license of Windows Server 2012 Standard allows up to two virtual instances of Windows Server 2012 Standard on that physical server. If more virtual instances of Windows Server 2012 Standard are needed, each additional license of Windows Server 2012 allows up to two more virtual instances of Windows Server 2012 Standard, even though the physical server itself may have sufficient licenses for its processor chip count. Because Windows Server 2012 Datacenter has no limit on the number of virtual instances per licensed server, only enough licenses for the physical server are needed for any number of virtual instances of Windows Server 2012 Datacenter. If the number of processor chips or virtual instances is an odd number, the number of licenses required is the same as the next even number. For example, a single-processor-chip server would still require 1 license, the same as if the server were two-processor-chip and a five-processor-chip server would require 3 licenses, the same as if the server were six-processor-chip, and if 15 virtual instances of Windows Server 2012 Standard are needed on one server, 8 licenses of Windows Server 2012, which can cover up to 16 virtual instances, are needed (assuming, in this example, that the processor chip count does not exceed 16).
- Foley, Mary Jo (April 5, 2010). "Microsoft pulls the plug on future Itanium support". ZDNet. pp. 1. http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-pulls-the-plug-on-future-itanium-support/5796. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
- "Installing Windows Server 2012". Microsoft. http://technet.microsoft.com/library/jj134246#BKMK_sysreq. Retrieved 10 June2012.
- Jo Foley, Mary (July 05, 2012). "Microsoft goes public with Windows Server 2012 versions, licensing". ZDNet. http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-goes-public-with-windows-server-2012-versions-licensing-7000000341/. Retrieved July 05, 2012.
- "Windows Server 2012 Editions". Microsoft. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/windows-server/2012-editions.aspx. Retrieved July 08, 2012.
- "Windows Server 2012 Licensing and Pricing FAQ". Microsoft. pp. 14. http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/D/B/4DB352D1-C610-466A-9AAF-EEF4F4CFFF27/WS2012_Licensing-Pricing_FAQ.pdf. Retrieved July 05, 2012.
- "Windows Server 2012 Licensing Data Sheet". Microsoft. pp. 5. http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/4/B/04BD0EB1-42FE-488B-919F-3981EF9B2101/WS2012_Licensing-Pricing_Datasheet.pdf. Retrieved July 05, 2012.
- Official Windows Server 2012 site
- Windows 8 Server Beta Download, Technet
- Windows Server "8", TechNet
- Windows Server "8", MSDN
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