Help Me Choose: Server Operating Systems

Windows® Server 2012 R2 Foundation is a cost-effective, entry-level server operating system designed for small business owners and IT generalists supporting small businesses with fewer than 15 users. Windows Foundation is a reliable technology that provides organizations with the basic ability to run prevalent business applications, as well as share information and resources.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials is designed and priced for small businesses with fewer than 25 users. This edition provides a simple, easy-to-use solution to help protect data with automatic daily backups for client systems, provide file and document access from anywhere with centralized storage and access to cloud-based services such as email, collaboration and line-of-business applications.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard is Microsoft’s most robust Windows Server operating system to date. With built-in advanced web and virtualization capabilities, it is designed to increase the reliability and flexibility of your server infrastructure while helping save time and reduce costs. Virtualization abilities enable increased scalability and control over your servers, as well as streamlined configuration and management tasks. Plus, cutting-edge security features help protect your data and network providing a solid, highly dependable foundation for your business.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter offers an enterprise-class platform for deploying business-critical applications and large-scale virtualization on small and large servers. It can improve availability, help enhance power management, integrate solutions for mobile and branch workers, and reduce infrastructure costs by consolidating applications with unlimited virtualization licensing rights. With unlimited virtualization rights, Windows Server 2012 Datacenter provides a foundation on which to build enterprise-class virtualization and private cloud solutions.

 If you need...


Basic solution that includes shared files, printers and remote access for 15 users or less.Windows Server 2012 R2 Foundation
A solution for small business environments for 25 users or less. Includes automatic daily backups, file and document access from anywhere, easy access to cloud-based services, and a simpler interface for easy management. No virtualization rights.Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
Full Windows Server functionality with 2 virtual instances (or more with Additional Licenses) for an unlimited number of users. Ideal for low density or nonvirtualized environments.Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard
Full Windows Server functionality with unlimited virtual instances for an unlimited number of users. Ideal for highly virtualized private and hybrid cloud environments.Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter