The answer is simple. Where Windows Server 2019 Essentials is limited to 25 clients, the standard version is not and depends on a number of Client's access licenses (CALs) which you buy. In this post we'll show some basic differences between Windows Server 2019 Essentials vs Standard.
The product was previously called “Windows Small Business Server (SBS)” and while it was a good choice for many very small businesses, it wasn't really a good choice for enterprise admins which were not completely in phase with the Experience role.
Windows Server 2019 Essentials is an on-premise server product for small businesses with less than 25 employees. In this post we will look at the Windows Server 2019 Essentials and will point out one particular feature which is missing – Windows Server Essentials Experience Role that has been deprecated
Windows Server 2019 Essentials will have the same characteristics as the 2016 version including:
- The single license that includes Client Access Licenses (CAL) for up to 25 users/50 devices
- Lower price point than Standard version
- Possibility to run all traditional applications and other features within the UI, and also use file and print sharing.
In fact, in Windows Server 2019 Essentials you will find fewer features than in 2019 as Microsoft has deprecated one main feature which has been present in the 2016 version.
Quote from Microsoft:
The Windows Server Essentials Experience Role has been removed from all server SKUs, including Windows Server 2019 Essentials. This means that the Administrative Dashboard that used to be the core feature for Essentials Experience Role is no longer accessible and all management and configuration must be completed manually.
With Server Essentials Experience Role deprecation, the following features are no longer available:
- Client backup
- Remote web access
As you can see, the admin dashboard is gone in WS Essentials 2019. You'll have Windows Admin Center to manage.
Another drawback for administrators is the fact that the Essential product If configured as a Domain Controller (DC), It must be the only Domain Controller, and it must run all Flexible Single Master Operations (FSMO) roles, and also, it cannot have two-way trusts with other Active Directory domains. There can be only one in the domain.
Windows Server Standard
Windows Standard is designed for small or medium businesses that need more than 25 users or more than one server to separate different server roles. In fact, only by using Standard edition of Windows server you can separate Flexible server master operations (FSMO) roles to more than one server and achieve higher security of your environment.
Windows Server Datacenter
Server Datacenter is usually used for virtualization as it allows you to put a lot of virtual machines (VMs) on a single physical host. Datacenter, the same as Standard, needs CALs, but it allows for an unlimited number of virtual machines to be executed.
However, the cost of a Datacenter license is approximatively 7 times the cost of a Standard license, so if you are running less 14 VMs on a physical server it is generally less costly to get just the Standard.
Check this: Windows Server 2016 Essentials vs Standard
Note that when you buy the Essentials edition, you do NOT need to buy any Client Access Licenses (CALs) like you do for Standard and Datacenter. However, you also can not expand the number of users past the built-in 25 users. That's one of the main breaks when thinking of buying Essentials.
Microsoft is actually not planning to release the next version of Essentials for the next major release of Windows server. Windows Server 2019 Essentials will be most likely the last version of the Windows Server Essentials.
Microsoft recommends small businesses to switch to Microsoft’s cloud products ( Microsoft 365 with Office 365). Further down the road, admins can still continue and use Windows Server 2016 Essentials via Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) servicing timeline or make the switch to Windows Server Standard, which as you know, supports more than 25 users, via CALs.
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