In Windows Server 2012 R2, the Windows Server Essentials user experience is integrated as a Windows Server role, referred to as Windows Server Essentials Experience. The server role integration enables the following technical capabilities:
- Standard deployment approach with other server roles and features, including offline imaging.
- Remote and batch deployment via Server Manager, which is optimized for hosting environment.
- Support for domain join and deployment on an existing domain controller, which offers more deployment flexibility including 2nd server deployments and branch office deployments.
Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials is a cloud connected first server, ideal for small businesses with up to 25 users. This provides customers with the flexibility to have email in the cloud, run line of business applications, or run email on premises. The licensing for Essentials will continue to be a server model with no CAL requirements.