Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Microsoft drops another one on my lap. I had already covered what I thought was Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 and its functions and flavors when I learned about Essentials. Essentials is still built for a NAS device, but it adds some fantastic functionality to the platform. Some of these include Active Directory Services, Computer Backups, and IIS.
To get some of the quick stuff out of the way:
|Ability to join a domain||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|BranchCache – Hosted Cache||No||Yes||Yes|
|Virtualization||No Hyper-V||Yes (2 VMs)||No Hyper-V|
|Networking infrastructure (including DNS, DHCP, and WINS)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Windows Server Essentials Experience||No||No||Yes|
|Active Directory (Domain Controller, Certificate Services, Federation Services, Rights Management)||No||No||Yes|
Although we have covered many aspects of the Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 platform in our previous post, this one immediately differs in the way some of the information is presented to you with the Essentials Platform.
First, the Essentials Dashboard is primarily comprised of two sections. The first is the banner across the top that highlights some key functions:
- Home – Introduces Get Started
- Users – User Management and Group Management
- Devices – Your Server and all computers connected to Server
- Storage – Server Folders and Hard Drives
- Applications – Add-ins and Microsoft Pinpoint
- Online Backup – Online Backup, Protected Folders, and Backup History