Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system is receiving the lion's share of attention lately, but lest anyone forget, the Redmond outfit also builds server software, both for the home consumer and business clients. Windows Server 2012 is geared towards the latter, and according to Microsoft, one of the benefits is a "dramatically simplified licensing experience" with just three versions to choose from, plus an edition for OEM vendors.
Here's how it breaks down:
Datacenter: Processor + CAL licensing model, $4,809
Standard: Processor + CAL licensing model, $882
Essentials: Server licensing model (25 user account limit), $425
Foundation: Server licensing model (25 user account limit), OEM only (price not disclosed)
Choosing an appropriate edition comes down to the size of an organization and requirements for virtualization and cloud computing. For example, the Datacenter edition offers unlimited virtual instances, the Standard edition allows two virtual editions, and both the Essentials and Foundation editions ship with no virtual rights.