Q: Does Windows Server 2012 Essentials or Foundation include the Hyper-V role?

A: No. Only Windows Server 2012 Standard and Datacenter include the Hyper-V role in addition to the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 OS that can be downloaded from Microsoft.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials and Foundation aren't geared toward virtualization. If you need to run Windows server OSs, using Standard or Datacenter makes sense as they include Windows server guest OS instance rights. If you need to run client OSs or non-Windows OSs, then using the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server solution would be the best fit.

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