Windows Server 2012, as always, is available in a few different flavours. The names have changed a bit from Server 2008 R2, but overall the effect is the same. Your small business will want to focus on evaluating Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Why? For a few simple reasons:
- It’s a full-fledged version of Windows Server 2012.
- Essentials can perform complete system backups, and bare-metal restores, of the server itself.
- Essentials can perform complete system backups of client workstations.
- Microsoft Online Backup, its own cloud storage service, can be used to protect data.
- Essentials centrally manages and configures the new File History feature of Windows 8 clients. This helps users recover accidently deleted or overwritten files without IT support.
- It can monitor the health of Windows 7, Windows 8, and even Mac OS X 10.5+ clients, notifying of any issues related to backups, low disk space, and others.
- As nice as Exchange Server can be, you’re no longer tied to it. You no longer need to feel as though you have to leverage the investment made into Exchange, because it’s no longer included. Head for the cloud!
All this for up to 25 users, and 50 devices. Fully recognizing that employees now use multiple devices at work, the device count is higher than the employee count. Smart move.
Now, I say all this, over the past few weeks, with most of you knowing full well I’m a big open source guy. And I still am. But when dealing with smaller businesses, few are willing to entertain the idea of completely ditching Windows. So even if they employ a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy and let power users bring their own Ubuntu Linux laptops, or Apple iMacs, the vast majority of businesses are still running Windows in the server room/wiring closet.
And that, dear friends, concludes my series on leveraging Windows Server 2012 in your small business. I truly hope you found it informative and worthy of the time you spent reading each entry. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email through the Contact page.