MartinLooise-1366 avatar image
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MartinLooise-1366 asked LimitlessTechnology-2700 answered

Replacement for Windows 2012 Essentials to most current version of Essentials

Dear Community,

I wanted to know your experiences with replacing the now abandoned Windows Essentials series of server versions. I have maintained a Windows 2012Essentials domain for a friend of mine for quite some time. Essentials (and before this SBS2003) was always a good fit for the company because of their limited IT skills and also limited number of users. The 25 user limit was never a problem and they did not have very strong requirements for a computer system. We have now decided that the current 2012 Essentials setup is no longer safe and we want to replace it. One option would be to move to 2016 Essentials (2 version up skipping 2012R2 Essentials). This is still an option but now with the release of 2022 this seems like an outdated option. So we are looking to going to 2019Essentials (or even 2022 Essentials). We try to keep close to essentials because Standard with CAL's seems too expensive.

However if we switch to 2019Essentials or higher, there is no experience role anymore. So I am thinking how to compensate for this loss in functionality. I am very curious how others have dealt with this situation so please share your experience if you have any!

What we are using currently (from 2012Essentials)
- ActiveDirectory, DNS, DHCP (< 25 users) : no CAL
- FileSharing (SMB) : company produces documents. These are saved here.
- A seperate domain joined 2019standard application Server
- Remote Access through VPN & RDP : working from home on the desktop on-premise
- Remote document sharing through remote web access : when on the road: get the document through the web
- Client pc backups : safety first
- Server backups: On Synology NAS & off-site Synology (Rsync)

When going with 2019 / 2022 Essentials I think we get:
- ActiveDirectory, DNS, DHCP (<25 users) : no CAL
- A seperate domain joined application Server
- FileSharing (SMB)

But how to get alternatives for:
- Remote Access through VPN & RDP : Synology is an option, but what else?
- Remote document sharing: Microsoft pushes sharepoint online / office365 but volume is very high (large) and data sensitivity is an issue
- Client Backups: Again maybe synology with a paid-option for this (
- Server Backups: Altaro seems a good option

But what are the thoughts of going for a cloud-bases option:
- Azure Active Directory with Azure Active Directory Connect
- No on-prem ActiveDirectory, DNS needed
- A seperate domain joined 2019standard application Server: can this join an Azure AD ?
- DHCP through router?
- Filesharing through sharepoint / onedrive
- Combined with options above for VPN/RDP/Backups

I have no experience with Azure as a replacement for small companies. We have already gotten office365 so a azure domain is existing but not connected to the onpremise AD-domain. I understand that 2019Essentials (Azure AD Connect) can synch with this domain but is this necessary or can we abandon an onpremise AD altogether? Simpler looks better for us.

Very curious on the solutions you came up with as I gather a lot of people will be searching for solutions out of this Microsoft created gap of SBS/Essentials!

Kind regards,

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JamieSabbatella avatar image
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JamieSabbatella answered JamieSabbatella edited

Hi Martin,

When SBS was discontinued I thought it would be a nightmare, but now I just go cloud all the way, it's a lot less hassle. Also cost wise, it works out the same after hardware, UPS, backups, time etc.

To replicate your setup now:

  • Identity and access: Azure AD

  • File sharing: Sharepoint online / OneDrive

  • Application server can be in azure-vm

  • Remote access: azure VPN and/or azure virtual desktop

  • Remote doc sharing: Onedrive/Sharepoint app

  • Client PC backups - Files are on Onedrive, hard drive goes install windows, logon, files are back - apps need reinstalling, intune could deploy apps if you have many apps, or azure backups for full PC backup

  • Server backups to azure

That's just my thoughts, good luck! Let me know if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

Jamie Sabbatella

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LimitlessTechnology-2700 avatar image
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LimitlessTechnology-2700 answered

Hi there,

I would suggest you to try the Azure services. Windows Server 2022 will be available in two main editions: Standard and Datacenter. In addition, Microsoft will introduce a new edition for Azure. Windows Server Essentials will no longer be a separate SKU, and there is a new OS for hype converged systems.

Like its predecessors in the LTSC, Windows Server 2022 will receive 10 years of support. As usual, this period is divided into five years of mainstream support and five years of extended support.

The two installation options, Desktop Experience and Server Core, also remain unchanged

--If the reply is helpful, please Upvote and Accept it as an answer--

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