Microsoft has provided three versions of the Windows Server 2019 operating system that offer unlike features and functionality. We want to key in on two versions to compare features, functionality, and practice cases. What are the differences between Windows Server 2019 Essentials vs. Standard ?
- History of Windows Server Essentials
- Windows Server 2016 Essentials
- Windows Server 2019 Essentials
- Windows Server 2019 Standard
- Windows Server 2019 Datacenter
- Concluding Thoughts
History of Windows Server Essentials
Before focusing on the intended habit encase with Windows Server 2019 Essentials, let ’ s take a attend at the history of Windows Server Essentials. Where did it originate ? What are its roots ? The path to Windows Server Essentials began some twenty years ago with a product called Windows Small Business Server. Microsoft recognized a need that was lacking for minor to mid-sized businesses .
Before any particular Windows Server unblock, little commercial enterprise environments may have used a Windows customer machine running in the function to share files with employees. It was less than ideal and did not include the enterprise-class controls and resilience of a proper server environment.
Microsoft recognized this need for small to mid-sized businesses to deliver resources in a streamlined, effective, and cost-efficient way. so, the Windows Small Business Server ( SBS ) was born. With Windows Small Business Server, Microsoft bundled together the most needed and desirable services for SMB environments. It included lotion, net, and communication services into a single, tightly integrated solution that empowered SMBs with the capabilities they needed. What were the versatile features of Windows Small Business Server at the time ?
With the release of Small Business Server 2003, Microsoft introduced the Remote Web Workplace. It provided an all-in-one solution to provide outside access as well and e-mail. Both Windows Small Business Server Standard and Premium editions provided Microsoft Exchange Server, Internet Information Services ( IIS ), Windows SharePoint Services, and Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, email customer. antimony 2003 included extra infrastructure components such as Routing and Remote Access ( RRAS ), Windows Server Update Services ( WSUS ), and Microsoft Fax Server .
Microsoft Small Business Server ( SBS ) 2003 included Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Security and Acceleration Server, and Microsoft Office Frontpage 2003. As you can tell, Windows Small Business Server was the quintessential “ LAN in a Can ” that provided everything a small to mid-sized clientele needed. It was an excellent product for anyone that wanted to service anywhere from 25 to 50 employees using diverse devices .
Microsoft Windows Small Business Server provided everything an SMB needed for productivity management
In looking at Windows Small Business Server, you get a good estimate of the historic background of Windows Server Essentials and its use case .
Windows Server 2016 Essentials
As the predecessor to Windows Server 2019 Essentials, Windows Server 2016 Essentials was the official Windows Server spill that Microsoft started to step up its bet on in regards to integrating Windows Server Essentials with the Azure obscure. What are the features of Windows Server 2016 Essentials ?
- Support for up to 25 users and 50 devices
- Integration with Azure Site Recovery Services
- Integration with Azure Virtual network
- Larger deployment support
- Supports multiple domains
- Multiple domain controllers
- Designate a specific domain controller
early Windows Small Business Server ( SBS ) editions offered very “ wizardized ” avail for setting up the first SBS server. In like manner, Windows Server 2016 Essentials edition provides an initial “ Configure Windows Server Essentials ” sorcerer that steps you through configuring the waiter in the environment .
Configure Windows Server 2016 Essentials
When you first gear install Windows Server 2016 Essentials edition, the Configure Windows Server Essentials ace begins at first login. It steps you through the Essentials server ’ s initial configuration, including setting up the date and time, sphere, user accounts, update settings, and others. Below are screenshots of the initial Configure Windows Server Essentials charming .
Windows Server 2016 configure Windows Server Essentials wizard
Configuring the date and time in Windows Server 2016 Essentials setup wizard
Configure the domain settings
Create a network administrator account
Configure the Windows Update settings in the Windows Server Essentials configuration wizard
Configuration of Windows Server 2016 Essentials completes successfully
One of the full-bodied features included with Windows Server 2016 is the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard, installed as part of the Windows Server Essentials Experience function ( installed during the Configure Windows Server Essentials sorcerer ). It provides a unmarried point of management dashboard that configures the Windows Server 2016 Essentials apparatus, services, and other integrations. A few of the tasks one can complete using the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard admit :
- Finish setting up your server
- Access and perform everyday administrative tasks
- View server alerts and action these
- Set up and change server settings
- Access or search for Help topics on the web
- Access Community resources on the web
- Manage user accounts
- Manage devices and backups
- Manage access and settings for server folders and hard drives
- View and manage add-in applications
- Integrate with Microsoft online services
After running the initial shape ace with Windows Server 2016 Essentials, a Windows Server Essentials Dashboard shortcut is handily placed on the background. The check at the top of the dashboard allow manage and configuring your server ’ second main settings, including users, devices, storehouse, and applications .
Windows Server 2016 Essentials Dashboard
Using the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard, you can configure assorted service integrations in the environment. It includes integration with Microsoft Exchange Server. If you use an on-premises Microsoft Exchange Server to manage electronic mail for your administration, the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard apparatus allows slowly integration with Microsoft Exchange Server. As a note, Windows Server 2016 Essentials does not install Exchange Server but instead allows integrating with it.
Windows Server 2019 Essentials
Windows Server 2019 Essentials Edition is the successor to Windows Server 2016 Essentials edition and carries on the purpose for small businesses ’ needs. Windows Server 2019 contains many Windows Server 2016 Essentials ’ features and capabilities with respective obscure features and interoperability. With these points noted, what are the key elements of Windows Server 2019 Essentials ?
- It is available as a single license that includes Client Access Licenses (CAL) for up to 25 users/50 devices
- ***Note*** You do not need to buy Client Access Licenses (CALs) for Essentials edition like Standard and Datacenter Edition
- It offers a very compelling price point compared to other Windows Server editions
- It runs native file and print services
- Manageable with Windows Admin Center (WAC)
azure specific features to note :
much like Windows Server 2016 Essentials, Windows Server 2019 Essentials contains the follow key Azure integration features :
- Integration with Azure Site Recovery Services
- Easily extend the connection from on-premises Windows Server 2019 Essentials server to Azure with Azure Virtual Network
- Windows Server 2019 Essentials now supports Azure Active Directory Connect (AAD) installation.
apart from some of the have parity with Windows Server 2016 Essentials, features have besides been removed. One of the major features that many have noted as the “ death knell ” for Windows Server Essentials is removing the Windows Server Essentials Experience character in Windows Server 2019 Essentials. As shown above, with Windows Server 2016 Essentials, this is historically a core component of the Essentials product line installed during the initial shape of Windows Server 2016 Essentials version. part of the Windows Server Essentials Experience character is the administrative Dashboard detailed above, a kernel have for the Windows Server Essentials function. It means that all management and configuration of Windows Server 2019 Essentials ’ diverse functionality must be completed manually .
The Windows Server Essentials Administrative Dashboard has historically been seen as one of the facility ’ s elementary benefits aside from cost. The administrative Dashboard simplifies the tasks you perform to manage the Windows Server Essentials network and server shape. particularly in SMB environments lacking dedicated IT staff trained to take concern of on-premises infrastructure, removing the splashboard will require more expertness. immediately, settings will require manual shape .
Below is a screenshot of a Windows Server 2019 Essentials server after a scavenge initiation. As you can see, there is no option in the Add Roles and Features Wizard for the Windows Server Essentials Experience function .
Windows Server 2019 Essentials server after installation
In comparison, the same Add Roles and Features Wizard in Windows Server 2016 Essentials has the Windows Server Essentials Experience role installed .
Windows Server 2016 Essentials after installation and initial configuration
interestingly, with the disabled nature of Windows Server 2019, Microsoft has noted LTSC support for Windows Server Essentials. Customers who are presently making consumption of Windows Server 2016 Essentials will be supported according to the LTSC time-line. When is the end-of-life ( EOL ) for Windows Server 2016 ( 1607 ) ? As listed among the Windows Server current versions by Microsoft ’ s servicing documentation, mainstream support ends 01/11/2022 with the option for extend documentation until 01/11/2027 .
|Windows Server release||Version||OS Build||Availability||Mainstream support end date||Extended support end date|
|Windows Server, version 20H2 ( Semi-Annual Channel ) ( Datacenter Core, Standard Core )||20H2||19042.508.200927-1902||10/20/2020||05/10/2022||Review note|
|Windows Server, version 2004 ( Semi-Annual Channel ) ( Datacenter Core, Standard Core )||2004||19041.264.200508-2205||05/27/20||12/14/2021||Review note|
|Windows Server, interpretation 1909 ( Semi-Annual Channel ) ( Datacenter Core, Standard Core )||1909||18363.418.191007-0143||11/12/2019||05/11/2021||Review note|
| Windows Server, version 1903 ( Semi-Annual Channel ) ( Datacenter Core, Standard Core )
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|Windows Server 2019 ( Long-Term Servicing Channel ) ( Datacenter, Essentials, Standard )||1809||17763.107.1010129-1455||11/13/2018||01/09/2024||01/09/2029|
|Windows Server, version 1809 ( Semi-Annual Channel ) ( Datacenter Core, Standard Core )||1809||17763.107.1010129-1455||11/13/2018||11/10/2020||Review eminence|
|Windows Server 2016 ( Long-Term Servicing Channel )||1607||14393.0||10/15/2016||01/11/2022||01/11/2027|
Hacks for Windows Server 2019 Essentials Role and Administrative Dashboard
It is worth noting. Steps have been posted on the Internet showing the process of copying the ask files from a working Windows Server 2016 Essentials server to a Windows Server 2019 Essentials server and getting the Windows Server Essentials Experience Administrative Dashboard working and functional in Windows Server 2019 .
The Administrative Dashboard is a .NET application preinstalled with Windows Server 2016. Copying the command files, register entries and installing the prerequisite roles and features in Windows Server 2019 allows running the administrative Dashboard in Windows Server 2019 Essentials .
It is worth noting that Microsoft does not support the process of doing this in any way. This may be an option for those desperate to retain the lapp level of Essentials functionality in Windows Server 2019 Essentials edition .
Windows Server 2019 Essentials – the last Windows Essentials?
It is speculation, evening hinted at, that Windows Server 2019 Essentials will be the death Windows Server Essentials version released. The rationality is that Microsoft sees the future for SMBs in the cloud, specifically the Microsoft 365 cloud. alternatively of deploying a Windows Server Essential installation on-premises, Microsoft is heavily encourage customers to use Microsoft 365 Software-as-a-Service ( SaaS ) environment alternatively of installing and using Windows Server Essentials on-premises .
Microsoft ’ s reasoning here is that customers will benefit more from the solutions, services, and capabilities of the Microsoft 365 obscure SaaS offer than relying on the capabilities of an on-premises Windows Server Essentials installation .
It besides helps to understand the rationale of adding the ability to allow the initiation of AAD Connect. The Azure Active Directory Connect solution will enable organizations to synchronize their on-premises directory services to the Microsoft 365 defile. It means users can log in with the same password in their Microsoft 365 environment as they do with their on-premises Active Directory credentials. Microsoft is hera facilitating the consolidation with Microsoft 365 to coax SMBs and early organizations to use their cloud SaaS offering alternatively of on-premises resources backed by Windows Server Essentials installations .
note Microsoft ’ s statement regarding what they refer to as the modern small business solution :
“Over the years since Windows Server 2016 Essentials was released, we have been working hard on the next solution for large and small businesses alike: Microsoft 365. We highly recommend Microsoft 365 for small business customers as a replacement for all versions of Windows Server Essentials. Microsoft 365 is a modern solution for file sharing and collaboration and includes Microsoft 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security.
Evolve your business further with Microsoft 365 Business, which includes even more Office features, like email and calendaring, file storage in the cloud, data protection, and more. Microsoft 365 Business will help your small business achieve new levels of productivity.”
The writing is on the wall for Windows Server Essentials. Microsoft 365 is the modern solution that fills the motivation for SMBs looking for an all-in-one solution to do everything for them, like to Windows Server Essentials. As many organizations are shifting to a much more stagger function layout, the anywhere, any device capabilities afforded by swarm SaaS environments become identical appealing. realistically, Microsoft 365 Business provides many more features for SMB organizations .
These include :
- Chat, calls, and online meetings – Provides the ability to host only meetings, calls, share files, and provides real-time collaboration by way of Microsoft Teams
- Cloud storage – Provides the ability to access files remotely, from anywhere
- Office apps and services – A Microsoft 365 Business subscription allows SMB organizations to have access to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files within Microsoft Teams
- Email and calendaring – While Windows Server Essentials does not include Exchange Server, rather an integration to it, Microsoft 365 provides powerful Exchange Online email for end-users
- Modern cybersecurity features – protects against viruses, malware, phishing emails, ransomware, and other cybersecurity threats
- Protect against data leak – Protect business-critical data
- Mobile Device Management – Allows managing mobile devices across the landscape of your employees
- Identity and Access Management – Manage identity across your entire environment
Windows Server 2019 Standard
For environments that grow beyond the 25 users/50 device limitations found in both Windows Server 2016 and 2019 Essentials, Windows Server 2019 Standard is the commend edition of Windows Server in that character. In reality, due to the implicit in limitations of Essentials Edition, the Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition of Windows Server may be a more feasible solution for SMB and enterprise organizations looking to provide a bouncy and fully-featured Microsoft Active Directory Domain environment in their environment and defend more users. In environments where multiple world controllers are needed and organizations want to build their AD infrastructure on-premises, the Windows Server 2019 Essentials SKU will not be sufficient .
Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition
Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition provides the features and capabilities for organizations with more than 25 users and 50 devices. With Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition, you get extra roles and features not found in Windows Server 2019 Essentials Edition. These include :
- Device Health Attestation – This is a new feature introduced with Windows Server 2016 to run the DHA service as a server role. It provides a secure way to attest to the security integrity of hardware running in your environment using the new role and without any additional infrastructure in the environment.
- Host Guardian Service – This is a new service responsible for ensuring that Hyper-V hosts in the fabric are known to the hoster or enterprise and running trusted software
- Network Virtualization – Microsoft’s network virtualization platform
- Storage Migration Service – Uses a new Storage Migration Proxy Service to seamlessly migrate data from legacy file servers running in the environment.
- Storage Migration Proxy – A component of the storage migration service
- Storage Replica – Replicate storage between two Windows Servers
- System Data Archiver – Collect and archive Windows system data
- System Insights – Provides predictive analytics capabilities that analyze Windows System data.
- VM Shielding Tools for Fabric Management – Part of the shielded VMs and Fabric Management components.
With Windows Server 2019 Standard edition, SMBs are responsible for node access licenses ( CALs ). They are NOT included automatically. additionally, with the Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition SKU, the license is purchased a core-based license mannequin. so, if you are virtualizing servers, the proper license requirements must be followed when running multiple instances of Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition in a VM .
Windows Server 2019 Datacenter
There is another version of Windows Server 2019 to mention. Windows Server 2019 Datacenter Edition is the top-level Windows Server edition that provides all enterprise features for organizations. This Windows Server version is specially beneficial in heavily virtualized environments looking to run many instances of Windows Server as production workloads .
With Windows Server Datacenter Edition, you can run an unlimited phone number of Windows Server virtual machines and containers by purchasing a single Windows Server 2019 Datacenter license. however, depending on the number of VMs an organization needs to run, it may still be less dearly-won to purchase individual Windows Server 2019 Standard licenses rather of a single Windows Server 2019 Datacenter license as it is typically 7-8 times more expensive. The break-even bespeak for most organizations where it becomes cost-efficient to buy a Windows Server 2019 Datacenter license is around 12-14 VMs .
Windows Server 2019 Essentials comes from a hanker line of unique Windows Server versions created for the particular consumption case of little to medium-sized businesses. It provides basic office connectivity features for environments supporting 25 users/50 devices without purchasing customer access licenses ( CALs ). While Windows Server 2016 retained the Windows Server Essentials Experience role and the Windows Essentials Administrative Dashboard, Windows Server 2019 Essentials has this functionality removed. With this and other changes, Microsoft has shown that Windows Server 2019 Essentials will undoubtedly be the last Windows Server Essentials interpretation that is released .
With the reduced functionality and features provided by Windows Server 2019 Essentials, many SMBs may stick with Windows Server 2016 Essentials and look to transition to either Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition or migrate all resources to the obscure .
Microsoft is strongly encouraging that SMB organizations using Windows Server Essentials in their environment to consider migrating their business-critical resources to Microsoft 365. Microsoft notes that Microsoft 365 is the modern solution for small to medium-sized businesses looking to meet the needs of end-users sharing files, accessing e-mail, collaborate, and early tasks and features needed in SMB environments. In most ways, Microsoft 365 provides superior features for SMBs .
For organizations needing to support more than 25 users/50 devices on-premises, Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition provides capabilities beyond those included in Windows Server 2019 Essentials Edition. With Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition, customers must purchase CALs for users. For the top-level features and functionality in the enterprise and highly dense virtualization initiatives, Windows Server 2019 Datacenter allows running outright virtual machines and containers .
What are your thoughts ? Do you see a continue need for Windows Server 2019 Essentials ? Do you have any “ from the trenches ” type of stories regarding this version of Windows Server ? Let us know in the comments section below !
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