The ideal server for small business, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials simplifies the integration of optional cloud-based applications and services such as Microsoft Office 365 and Windows Azure. Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials can help minimize the time, effort, and money you spend on IT.
Integrate cloud services
When integrated with Office 365, you can create your user accounts once in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and an associated mailbox is automatically created at the same time. User passwords are synchronized between the Essentials server and the Office 365 service so users sign on the same way whether accessing local or cloud-based resources. Integration with Windows Azure Backup complements your local server backups with a cloud-based service that stores your business-critical data in a highly secure, offsite datacenter.
Protect your data
Server backups are configured using a simple wizard. You can also take advantage of optional cloud-based backup services, such as Windows Azure Backup, for an even greater degree of protection. Client backups are configured to run daily for each PC connected to the Essentials environment and allow you to restore individual files and folders, or even an entire PC, as you would do when replacing a faulty hard drive or upgrading from an older hard disk drive. Personal data can easily be protected with File History, a new feature of Windows 8 clients, which can be centrally configured and managed from your Essentials server.
Small organizations want to focus on their core business, not on managing an IT infrastructure. Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials can help minimize the time, effort, and money that you spend on IT.
Provide secure remote access
Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials provides several options for remote access, including Remote Web Access (RWA), a highly secure way for users and administrators to use their web browsers to access files and folders, client computers, and servers. The My Server app for Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT is a modern and touch-friendly way to access your files and folders, as well as perform light administrative tasks from desktops, laptops, and tablet devices. The My Server app for Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 provides a very mobile option.
What's New in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
Server deployment options in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials include:
- Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials can be installed as a member server in a domain. You can have more than one server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials in your network.
- Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials can be installed on a physical server or as a virtual machine, depending on the OEM’s configuration. As part of your installation process, you can opt to install Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials as a virtual machine by following instructions in a wizard.
Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials provides improved client deployment options. The following improvements and changes are made in the client deployment process for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials:
- The Connector can be used to connect to a server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials from a remote location.
- The Connector can trigger automatic VPN dialing in domain-joined clients, so that customers can always be connected to Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials when they are working off premise.
- The Connector can be configured to connect to other servers running Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials without reinstallation.
- The Connector performance has been improved by reducing its memory and CPU usage.
Users and Groups
The following functionalities are added for managing users and groups :
- User groups management - You can create user groups and add user accounts to them. User account permissions can be managed through their user group memberships.
- Office 365 distribution groups management - If your server is integrated with Office 365, you can manage your Office 365 distribution groups from the Dashboard.
The following functionalities are added in Server Storage:
- Folder management on a second server in a Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials network - You can create shared folders on a secondary server while keeping the same Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path prefix.
- Server Folder quota - You can specify a space quota for a Server Folder. You receive an alert when a Server Folder size grows beyond its defined quota.
Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials includes improved File History. File History backups are configured per user instead of per device. Also, you can automatically restore your data through File History backups on a new computer, if your old computer is no longer functional or is unavailable.The first time you log on to your new computer in the network, you are prompted to restore your files from your File History backups.
Health Reports is integrated with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, and it no longer needs to be installed as an add-in. The Home page includes the Alerts and Reports tabs. Depending on your business needs, you can customize the system health reports to display items that you want to monitor.
BranchCache is integrated with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials. You can turn on BranchCache to improve data access if the server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials is located offsite.
Office 365 Integration
The following functionalities are available when Office 365 is integrated with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials:
- SharePoint Libraries management
- Office 365 distribution groups management
If your server is integrated with Office 365, you can:
- Manage your Office 365 SharePoint Libraries from the Dashboard.
- Manage your Office 365 distribution groups from the Dashboard.
You can manage Mobile Devices through the Dashboard. If your server is integrated with Office 365, you can manage your mobile devices by using the Exchange Active Sync functionalities, for example, you can define email access from a mobile device, set up password policies, and perform a remote wipe of the mobile device.
Client Full System Restore
Client Full System Restore is supported by Windows Deployment Services. You can create a client restore service by using the Set Up Client Restore Service task, and you can perform client full system restore over the network instead of using an image that is saved on a DVD.
Remote Web Access
Remote Web Access experience is updated. Remote Web Access is optimized for touch devices and enhanced with rich HTML5 support.