Just like Windows Server 8 in other editions, the Essentials edition is a significant milestone in the developers’ efforts to cloud-enable small businesses and home offices. It is designed to protect business data to allow highly secure access to information you need from virtually anywhere by using almost any device and to offer the flexibility to choose which applications and services you want to run on-premises and in the cloud and besides, it is made even easier before to run itself in a hosted environment. However, since the Essentials is likely to be a combination of Small Business and Home Server editions, I may believe that the target audience for this may be different. Mostly, the small business users may seem to be using it but for Home Server users, you can still take the opportunity to try provided that the add-ons and apps are for both types of users commonly and especially for the features.
The release date will be in November 1st after it had just reached RTM yesterday so in the meantime, you can try out the trial copy from the Evaluation Center and if you’re an MSDN or Technet Subscriber, you can download the Essentials edition from those sites as well. Now, here are the quick product highlights the developers may want to share:
- Enable a dynamic, modern work style with access from devices by using Remote Web Access and take advantage of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 devices for a superior experience with rich modern “My Server” apps. Oh come on, how much factors do you need for Remote Web Access? I already have an external router that has the UPnP support which is good for media viewing but even then, there were still technical problems when trying out the prototype version of Windows Home Server 7 and Small Business Server 7. I don’t even know if this technical problem will occur in this as well.
- On-site backups with Windows Azure Online Backup for peace of mind enjoyment? Now this is where things are quite uncommon and small business users will have to learn about Windows Azure technology before using this online backup feature as I believe that Windows Azure is likely to be for business users and not home users. Your best bet will be to establish your home office somewhere in your home and then start working on whatever work you have from the company you work at. That’s how you can use this technology for personal backup as a business user. You can also utilize integrated support for the new Windows 8 File History feature and I don’t know if this is like Volume Shadow Copies or some sort.
- Oh, hosted service provider for email and collaboration option? This one again is for small business users but for users of both types, you can probably choose Office 365.
- Storage Spaces may be useful for both types of users and THIS is one common feature and it is also in Windows 8 as well as other editions of Windows Server 8. In case you need multiple storages for storing data, this one is for you.
- Line-of-business applications can be run that you depend on by leveraging the greatly improved application compatibility, with the logo certification for all Windows Server 8 editions. Man, this one is gonna be confusing unless there are like multiple logo certifications for all Windows Server 8 editions. Also, this product highlight may seem to be for small business users.
- If the needs of your small business grow, you can upgrade to Windows Server 8 Standard edition which gives you the standard features of Windows Server 8 in case you may want to use Windows Server 8 Standard edition for whatever purpose. You can also use the Standard edition for home use but I don’t know if you can install that on your home servers.