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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

August 22, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Windows Server 2012 has different editions, licenses

Some recent tech press articles have focused on licensing changes for the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

But coming up even sooner are licensing and edition changes for Windows Server 2012, which Microsoft said will be generally available on Sept. 4.

The previous version of Windows Server geared toward large and mid-sized businesses featured three editions: Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter.

Windows Server 2012 has two: Standard and Datacenter. The Enterprise edition will be going away.

The two remaining editions have the same set of features, with the difference coming in licensing rights, said Michael Cherry, an analyst with independent research firm Directions on Microsoft. Those who license the Standard edition will be able to run two virtual machines; those who license Datacenter can run an unlimited number of virtual machines, he said.

Because Microsoft typically changes its price lists in the Open and Select volume licensing programs when a product enters general availability, Cherry said businesses that are thinking of buying servers — especially those who’ve used Windows Server Enterprise — should evaluate whether buying before September will save them money.

Directions on Microsoft offers more details about Windows Server 2012 licensing in its report obtainable (for free) here.

Separately from the two editions mentioned above for large and mid-sized businesses, Microsoft also has two editions of Windows Server 2012 that are geared toward smaller businesses: Essentials and Foundation.

Microsoft announced Tuesday that the Release Candidate version of Windows Server 2012 Essentials is now available for download and evaluation. MIcrosoft did not give a date for Essentials’ general availability, other than to say that the goal is to make it generally available by the end of 2012.

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