It looks like Microsoft isn’t just simplifying its Windows client product edition lineup this time around: The Server version of Windows 8, called Windows Server 2012, is also undergoing a nice lineup simplification too. Now, we’ll only have about four SKUs to deal with, a dramatic reduction from the 12 or so we saw with Windows Server 2008 R2.
I first found out about the Windows Server 2012 SKU lineup from Mary Jo Foley, my Windows Weekly cohost.
Microsoft reveals the new lineup via its new Windows Server 2012 Editions page on Microsoft.com.
Small Business Server and Windows Home Server are not mentioned*. But a (not really) new “Essentials” SKU could very well replace both. (It’s more likely that Essentials is simply the new version of what used to be called Windows Small Business Server Essentials 2011, however, and that Microsoft expects customers to replace Windows Home Server with Windows 8, as I wrote about back in March. This much is clear: Windows Small Business Server Standard is dead, as it should be.)
The four Windows Server 2012 SKUs are:
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter. $4,809 per processor + CAL licensing model. Supports unlimited virtualized instances of the product (on the same hardware) as well.
Windows Server 2012 Standard. $882 per processor + CAL licensing model. Supports two virtualized instances of the product (on the same hardware) as well.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials. $425, supports up to 25 users, aimed at small businesses. No virtualization rights.
Windows Server 2012 Foundation. OEM-only (comes with new entry-level servers), supports up to 15 users. No virtualization rights.
So there you go.
*UPDATE: Windows Home Server has been cancelled along with Windows Small Business Server Standard. Windows Server 2012 Essentials is indeed an update to Windows Small Business Server Essentials 2011, and is domain-only, so is not applicable to home users.