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Server 2012 Essentials or Essentials R2 RRS feed

  • Question

  • All,

    I know this is in the Preview forum, but I am looking for some upgrade advice which includes Essentials R2.

    Currently, I provide part-time IT support along with another IT guy for an older Dell 1900 PowerEdge Server running Windows SBS 2003 that I configured for a small company with 15 users many years ago as well as a handful of 12 Windows 7 desktops and laptops.  The server itself is starting to show its age and now the Hard Drives are starting to grind with very audible clicking that it did not do before, thus my plans for upgrading/replacing this system are now escalating.  I am not sure how much time this machine has left before the drives die.

    The main point of contention is the OS.  Even though it is Small Business Server, they only ever used the Core OS features and have Hosted Exchange and use BackupExec for backup software and one of the administrative assistants logs into the machine to perform backups and check the machine.

    When I purchase new hardware, I wanted to go to Essentials 2012 due to the nice Migration path from SBS 2003 and they use hosted features anyway, and would possibly take advantage of remote access they do not use now; however, they have problem with interface change and the lack of a start button, especially from Remote Desktop sessions on Windows 7 desktops, will cause me more time on the phone guiding them then I would look forward to.  I know I can get around this with ClassicShell, but it is not the most optimal solution.

    Now Essentials 2012 R2 has been announced on the "Blue" platform, which includes all the enhancements to the interface bringing back some of the elements they would be comfortable with and additional features, but I am not sure what the release date for R2 is going to be.

    I know it has been asked before about an upgrade path from Essentials 2012 to R2, such as from Vista to 7, or 8 to 8.1, and if that was possible for the RTM version of R2 it would be an easy answer, just upgrade 2012 to R2.

    If it is not possible though, what would be my best option?  Go with Essentials 2012, and possibly Classic shell for interface changes and skip R2, try to wait for R2 if the release is going to be within a month, or go the LONG route, doing both, SBS 2003 physical to Essentials 2012 physical to Essential 2012 R2 Virtual back to Essentials 2012 R2 Physical.  Which just seems like a LOT of data migrations, domain joins, changes, re-joins, installs, etc...

    Any ideas, comments, suggestions, would be helpful.

    Thank you,

    Nathan

    Tuesday, July 23, 2013 4:50 AM

Answers

  • Because this is a domain controller there is no in place upgrade between these little guys.  While I don't anticipate that the R2 release will be within the month - per Tami whatshername at WPC, Windows 8.1 will be late August to OEMs (http://hexus.net/tech/news/software/57585-microsoft-windows-81-rtm-scheduled-late-august/) Assuming Server 2012 (which includes Essentials hits rtm at the same time, RTM does not mean you can go to the store and buy it.  There's normally a good 30-60 PAST RTM to where you start to see SKUs you can buy.  Keep in mind that in the RWA interface the Remote experience is driven by the workstation, not so much the server, so they will still have a start button on their Windows 7.

    Does that help with your question? 


    Don't Retire TechNet

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013 6:09 PM
  • Nathan,

    Have you thought about going to SBS 2011 Essentials?  SBS 2011 Essentials runs Server 2008 R2.  If your upgrade is becoming critical, it might be best to go with an operating system that has already been released; and SBS 2011 Essentials has the remote desktop and remote web app functionality your users are looking for.  From what you describe here, there is no compelling reason to go with 2012 essentials.  In fact, it sounds like you might be taking a step backwards from a usability standpoint. 

    As Susan mentions.. there is no in-place upgrade so you will have to do a migration to the new OS whether it be 2008 R2 or 2012 R2. 

    I don't want to throw a wrench in your upgrade plans.  But my own experience tells me to NEVER wait for Microsoft to release their latest version if you have a critical need. 

    Hope this helps.

    -Randy 

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013 8:05 PM

All replies

  • Because this is a domain controller there is no in place upgrade between these little guys.  While I don't anticipate that the R2 release will be within the month - per Tami whatshername at WPC, Windows 8.1 will be late August to OEMs (http://hexus.net/tech/news/software/57585-microsoft-windows-81-rtm-scheduled-late-august/) Assuming Server 2012 (which includes Essentials hits rtm at the same time, RTM does not mean you can go to the store and buy it.  There's normally a good 30-60 PAST RTM to where you start to see SKUs you can buy.  Keep in mind that in the RWA interface the Remote experience is driven by the workstation, not so much the server, so they will still have a start button on their Windows 7.

    Does that help with your question? 


    Don't Retire TechNet

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013 6:09 PM
  • Nathan,

    Have you thought about going to SBS 2011 Essentials?  SBS 2011 Essentials runs Server 2008 R2.  If your upgrade is becoming critical, it might be best to go with an operating system that has already been released; and SBS 2011 Essentials has the remote desktop and remote web app functionality your users are looking for.  From what you describe here, there is no compelling reason to go with 2012 essentials.  In fact, it sounds like you might be taking a step backwards from a usability standpoint. 

    As Susan mentions.. there is no in-place upgrade so you will have to do a migration to the new OS whether it be 2008 R2 or 2012 R2. 

    I don't want to throw a wrench in your upgrade plans.  But my own experience tells me to NEVER wait for Microsoft to release their latest version if you have a critical need. 

    Hope this helps.

    -Randy 

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013 8:05 PM
  • Because this is a domain controller there is no in place upgrade between these little guys

    So according to this

    http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh994618.aspx#BKMK_UpgradePaths

    you can in-place upgrade almost any 2008 or later domain controller to 2012. And yet it seems you can't in-place upgrade to 2012 Essentials R2, not even from 2012 Essentials. Why not?

    This little restriction will cost lots of extra hours, not to mention having to keep an extra server and/or Hyper-V in place to handle migrations. Seems like the entry level is where simple upgrades would be most desirable.

    Mark Berry
    MCB Systems


    • Edited by mcbsys Wednesday, October 2, 2013 12:15 AM
    Wednesday, October 2, 2013 12:14 AM
  • Because of the console/the backup/RWA and all the guts that makes Essentials uniquely a DC for SMB.

    Don't Retire TechNet

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013 12:37 AM
  • ...all of which is supposedly available as the Essentials Experience Role under Standard 2012 R2. Seems they are removing SMB uniqueness except for the license-count restriction of the Essentials version.

    I guess I could buy 2012 R2 Standard, upgrade from 2008 R2, then enable the Essentials role.

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013 1:00 AM