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Hello everyone!
With the reliability and density of today's spinning drives getting better all the time, and since I am now using DrivePool 2.x (works with any version of Windows), I've been thinking about leaving WHS2011, especially now that MS has ended support for it.  I recently purchased a much more modern Supermicro motherboard than my current X7SBE that can use the more modern i3, i5 and i7 CPU's and up to 32GB DDR3 RAM. When I install this board, I am planning to finally ditch the 2 PCI-X, 8-Port SATA cards in favor of the newer PCIe cards in conjunction with 1 or more port expanders.

I am sure this has probably been discussed here ad‑nauseam, but everyone’s situation is relatively unique, so I will forge ahead, fishing for ideas, comments, tips, tricks or whatever you think I need to know. The only super relevant post I could see in a quick search was a very short post by RacerX back in March. I’m going to need a little more hand-holding than he does to get this done. 

When I purchased the newer motherboard, I had originally intended to just upgrade the hardware, downsize a bit and continue with WHS2011. Now, I am thinking that might not be the best decision.  I was planning to construct a secondary server alongside the WHS2011 box anyway, and move the drives over after I get the new server running stable. This would include reinstalling the Server OS. So why not just install a better OS instead? Shouldn’t be that much more effort, right? At least that is what I am thinking. This is where I need some coaching. So along those lines, I have a few questions/issues I hope some of you might be kind enough to help me with:

1.       Firstly, is anyone here still using WHS2011, and if so how much longer are you planning to stick with it? How are you handling the security issues by using an OS that has not been updated in over a year now? Are you concerned? If not, why?

2.       I have read that Windows Server Essentials is what I should consider. Which version would be best for me? I am still planning to run several pieces of hardware that might not be Windows 10 compatible, an OS I am not a fan of at all! Also, there is PRICE. I don’t think the budget will handle a $600 or $700 OS acquisition cost. I think 2012 is quite a bit cheaper than 2016, but I am not 100% certain about that. I’m thinking Server 2012 would probably be the best choice, but what do you guys think?

3.       What major features would I be giving up that I had in WHS2011, and what would I be gaining by going to WS Essentials? Does Essentials have a Dashboard like in WHS2011?

4.       Most Important: How does DrivePool and Scanner interface with Essentials? Is it similar to WHS2011 or will they BOTH run as standalone products ONLY?

Thanks everyone! Really appreciate your input. I’m sure I will probably have more questions as I get further into this, but this is what is on my mind right now.

GDog

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Still happily running WHS2011. The only thing I am missing is that I would like to also have a desktop replacement as a VM so that I can work off of a very light laptop (which WSE does not offer either though). AFAIK, WHS2011 is still supported for security and will remain so until somewhere in 2021. I intend to go Windows Server Essentials (WSE) anytime before then. Might be tomorrow, may be 2021.

AFAIK, WSE 2016 is a lot like W10, GUI wise for sure. WSE2012 is much like Windows 8. But consider this: If you go 2012, you will face end-of-support earlier again. I'd go WSE 2016 and there are cheap versions out there if you look for it, albeit a bit shady (I had an issue with a similar Office license).

AFAIK, WSE has a dashboard and Scanner and DP will be visible in the dashboard. Having siad that, when I want to check DP, I choose the DP directly, not through the Dashboard.

My main issue with WSE 2016 (and the same goes for 2012) is that you actually need to know quite a bit more about it. For instance, all clients will join the Domain by default, unless you use a Registry hack. I don't even know what a Domain is, why I should want it and how it changes the user experience for my small group of IT-illiterate users. Then there is that WSE will establish itself as a DNS server. Should be fine if it is on 24/7, liek with me, but how do I look for online help if on a client if the DNS server is down? Things like that bug me. WHS2011 was/is simply very simple to use and if you want to you *can* make it more complicated.

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23 hours ago, GDogTech said:

1.       Firstly, is anyone here still using WHS2011, and if so how much longer are you planning to stick with it? How are you handling the security issues by using an OS that has not been updated in over a year now? Are you concerned? If not, why?

It's still getting security updates for the underlying OS (Server 2008R2), but not for the WHS components (which may still be an issue).  
So if you're using the Anywhere Access (remote access) website, that may be an issue. 

Personally, I'm using 2012R2 Essentials. 

23 hours ago, GDogTech said:

 2.       I have read that Windows Server Essentials is what I should consider. Which version would be best for me? I am still planning to run several pieces of hardware that might not be Windows 10 compatible, an OS I am not a fan of at all! Also, there is PRICE. I don’t think the budget will handle a $600 or $700 OS acquisition cost. I think 2012 is quite a bit cheaper than 2016, but I am not 100% certain about that. I’m thinking Server 2012 would probably be the best choice, but what do you guys think?

Mostly. Windows Server Essentials is a direct continuation of the codebase for WHS2011.  In many places, it uses the exact same names (and terminology). 

Unfortunately, yeah, the price is aimed at small businesses, not at home users. 

But Windows 10 Pro may be a better option. If you need backups, then Veeam Endpoint Backup may be something that works well for you. 

Otherwise, .... even though it may be more expensive, the Windows Server 2016 version if what you'd want to get, since it's much newer, and will be supported for much longer. 

23 hours ago, GDogTech said:

 3.       What major features would I be giving up that I had in WHS2011, and what would I be gaining by going to WS Essentials? Does Essentials have a Dashboard like in WHS2011?

None.  It's the same code, actually, but updated.   In fact, you may gain some stuff.  Like .... if you set up Anywhere Access, it gives you access to a SSTP VPN server, as well as the website. 

But otherwise, yeah, it has a dashboard, client connector software, backups, the Anywhere Access website stuff, etc.   Plus Domain/Active Directory functionality (which you may not want) 

23 hours ago, GDogTech said:

 4.       Most Important: How does DrivePool and Scanner interface with Essentials? Is it similar to WHS2011 or will they BOTH run as standalone products ONLY?

All of our products will install a dashboard tab, actually.  But they are "stand alone tabs" and not as integrated with the dashboard.

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I've decided that when my next server upgrade happens (in 1-2 months) I'm avoiding server versions due to pricing, in favor of W10 Pro.  Being a home-based small business IT professional and not truly needing a domain or it's features (just a large file/media server), it'll suit my purposes while being flexible at the same time.  And no need for Storage Spaces or ReFS means I'm not truly losing anything I need.

My personal opinion is that MS is losing out on a segment of the market with inadequate pricing models for home professionals.  I'd gladly pay 2x or even 3x the price of W10 pro for a suitable server version with limited CALs (or non-domain model).

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3 hours ago, Jaga said:

My personal opinion is that MS is losing out on a segment of the market with inadequate pricing models for home professionals.  I'd gladly pay 2x or even 3x the price of W10 pro for a suitable server version with limited CALs (or non-domain model).

Looking at the M$ store, I see W10 Pro at euro 259 and WSE 2016 at 707, that is less than W10 Pro x3, no?

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2 hours ago, Umfriend said:

Looking at the M$ store, I see W10 Pro at euro 259 and WSE 2016 at 707, that is less than W10 Pro x3, no?

I can get a copy of W10 Pro OEM on DVD for $140, which is ~120 Euro.  WSE for 2 device access is $390, or 333 Euro.  It's around the right price by itself, but 1 CAL is just an insult to a server platform (any platform) since the server itself counts as a CAL (2 device total).  A 5-device CAL license is an additional $150 (128 Euro).  I have a server, 2 workstations, 2 laptops, 2 Android phones, 2 Roku devices, etc.. all needing network access.

Total price for Server (6 client access) is $540 (4x more) vs $140 for W10 Pro which doesn't need CALs or Domain security.  MS still doesn't cater to the small server crowd nor offer reasonable pricing.  In my opinion they're targeting actual small businesses with higher pricing, and have no product to suit home/very small businesses in their Server line.  If you ask me they're 'stuck' in their old concept of what makes a small business, and haven't adapted any of their licensing models from 15+ years ago to suit.

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On 7/3/2018 at 1:42 AM, Umfriend said:

Still happily running WHS2011. The only thing I am missing is that I would like to also have a desktop replacement as a VM so that I can work off of a very light laptop (which WSE does not offer either though). AFAIK, WHS2011 is still supported for security and will remain so until somewhere in 2021. I intend to go Windows Server Essentials (WSE) anytime before then. Might be tomorrow, may be 2021.

Thanks for your response, Umfriend! That's sorta where I'm at right now too. But I'm just starting to get the "bug" for something new. Kind of like a new car thing. :)

On 7/3/2018 at 1:42 AM, Umfriend said:

AFAIK, WSE 2016 is a lot like W10, GUI wise for sure. WSE2012 is much like Windows 8. But consider this: If you go 2012, you will face end-of-support earlier again. I'd go WSE 2016 and there are cheap versions out there if you look for it, albeit a bit shady (I had an issue with a similar Office license).

Well, I surely am NOT a fan of the W10 GUI, that's for sure. However, do we automatically ASSume the Server version will have a similar GUI? I don't know as I have never sat in front of a machine running Server 2016 Essentials. Can someone help out with a description here maybe?

On 7/3/2018 at 1:42 AM, Umfriend said:

AFAIK, WSE has a dashboard and Scanner and DP will be visible in the dashboard. Having siad that, when I want to check DP, I choose the DP directly, not through the Dashboard.

Drashna has confirmed this already, so maybe that will make WSE2016 a little bit easier for me to swallow.

On 7/3/2018 at 1:42 AM, Umfriend said:

My main issue with WSE 2016 (and the same goes for 2012) is that you actually need to know quite a bit more about it. For instance, all clients will join the Domain by default, unless you use a Registry hack. I don't even know what a Domain is, why I should want it and how it changes the user experience for my small group of IT-illiterate users. Then there is that WSE will establish itself as a DNS server. Should be fine if it is on 24/7, liek with me, but how do I look for online help if on a client if the DNS server is down? Things like that bug me. WHS2011 was/is simply very simple to use and if you want to you *can* make it more complicated.

Christopher, can you comment on this? I don't know much about Domains either, except to NAME one. How simple WOULD WSE2016 be to use compared to WHS2011? My server is in fact left on 24/7, but I don't know what difference that makes in this regard.

Gary

 

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On 7/3/2018 at 3:44 PM, Christopher (Drashna) said:
On 7/2/2018 at 3:47 PM, GDogTech said:

1.       Firstly, is anyone here still using WHS2011, and if so how much longer are you planning to stick with it? How are you handling the security issues by using an OS that has not been updated in over a year now? Are you concerned? If not, why?

It's still getting security updates for the underlying OS (Server 2008R2), but not for the WHS components (which may still be an issue).  
So if you're using the Anywhere Access (remote access) website, that may be an issue. 

Personally, I'm using 2012R2 Essentials. 

I'm not using the Anywhere Access, and do not plan to, so I guess I'm off the hook somewhat?

Are you planning to go to 2016 Essentials anytime soon?

On 7/3/2018 at 3:44 PM, Christopher (Drashna) said:

But Windows 10 Pro may be a better option. If you need backups, then Veeam Endpoint Backup may be something that works well for you. 

Otherwise, .... even though it may be more expensive, the Windows Server 2016 version if what you'd want to get, since it's much newer, and will be supported for much longer. 

The W10 Pro option sounds intriguing. The backups I really rely on, I do outside of WHS2011 using Macrium Reflect. I just store the backup files on the Server. 

Using W10 Pro confuses me though, as it is NOT a Server OS. I have read in these Forums authoritive statements by several users that they plan to use W10 Pro *AS* their Server OS in Lieu of a Server OS per se'. Could you give me a little more detail as to exactly WHAT makes this a good SERVER OS option? Like how does W10 handle USERS (how many etc), SHARES. Are there limits? And what about this "CAL" thing Jaga is talking about? W10 Pro limited to only ONE??? I am sooo confused about this. 

On 7/3/2018 at 3:44 PM, Christopher (Drashna) said:
On 7/2/2018 at 3:47 PM, GDogTech said:

 4.       Most Important: How does DrivePool and Scanner interface with Essentials? Is it similar to WHS2011 or will they BOTH run as standalone products ONLY?

All of our products will install a dashboard tab, actually.  But they are "stand alone tabs" and not as integrated with the dashboard.

I'm running DrivePool 2.x now as a standalone. However, I don't see that with Scanner. My version is 2.5.3062, which I think *IS* the latest one. It ONLY comes up within the WHS2011 Dashboard. If I go to say Win10 Pro, how would I continue with Scanner? Is there a version that will run as a standalone?

Thanks Christopher!
Gary

 

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8 hours ago, Jaga said:

My personal opinion is that MS is losing out on a segment of the market with inadequate pricing models for home professionals.  I'd gladly pay 2x or even 3x the price of W10 pro for a suitable server version with limited CALs (or non-domain model).

 

3 hours ago, Jaga said:

I can get a copy of W10 Pro OEM on DVD for $140, which is ~120 Euro.  WSE for 2 device access is $390, or 333 Euro.  It's around the right price by itself, but 1 CAL is just an insult to a server platform (any platform) since the server itself counts as a CAL (2 device total).  A 5-device CAL license is an additional $150 (128 Euro).  I have a server, 2 workstations, 2 laptops, 2 Android phones, 2 Roku devices, etc.. all needing network access.

Total price for Server (6 client access) is $540 (4x more) vs $140 for W10 Pro which doesn't need CALs or Domain security.  MS still doesn't cater to the small server crowd nor offer reasonable pricing.  In my opinion they're targeting actual small businesses with higher pricing, and have no product to suit home/very small businesses in their Server line.  If you ask me they're 'stuck' in their old concept of what makes a small business, and haven't adapted any of their licensing models from 15+ years ago to suit.

I don't understand all this talk about CAL's. I went to the Microsoft site and found this: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/windows-server-pricing  

It CLEARLY states that the Essentials version of Server 2016 allows 25 users and 50 devices with NO CALs REQUIRED. Am I missing something here? If so, please enlighten me.

Gary

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I was going to ask the same thing about CALs... but more impotantly, I do use client backups and I really really like it in WHS, saved me a couple of times already. But if you have another way of securing your clinet backups, then I would not rerally know why you should have the hassle of using WSE to be honest. IN other words, what do you use WHS 2011 for that a regular Windows (Pro) machine can't deliver?

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20 hours ago, GDogTech said:

I don't understand all this talk about CAL's. I went to the Microsoft site and found this: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/windows-server-pricing  

It CLEARLY states that the Essentials version of Server 2016 allows 25 users and 50 devices with NO CALs REQUIRED. Am I missing something here? If so, please enlighten me.

You are correct in that the webpage you linked to clearly states 25 users / 50 devices.  It's also pretty clear about not requiring CALs, which I didn't expect.  Here's where I sourced the pricing for a copy of WSE 2016 from:

http://www.microcenter.com/product/473077/Microsoft_Windows_Server_Essentials_2016_64_Bit_-_1_Server,_2_Devices_(OEM)

It states "1 server, 2 devices", which I interpreted to mean "single concurrent server installation, 2 concurrent device access (clients)".  Either I've misinterpreted the licensing model, or the copy I found really only does allow 2 simultaneous logins on the domain.

It may simply be that WSE 2016 is locked to only allow 25 user accounts before they have to be deleted to make room for more (and the same for computers on the domain).  It may be good to re-visit the licensing documentation and see for sure.  Worth a look if it doesn't require any other licensing purchases..

 

Edit:  Found this over on Technet - it does limit concurrent logins to two (2) total.  You can register 25 user accounts, and 50 computers on the domain, but if you try to login to 3 at once, the third is denied.  That's what makes it a deal-breaker for me.  It's still using a CAL licensing style model, in that client access at the same time is highly restricted.

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/3a845ad5-359b-4cd1-b1be-689c2e98d781/windows-server-2016-essentials-help-please?forum=winserverTS

 

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20 hours ago, Umfriend said:

I was going to ask the same thing about CALs... but more impotantly, I do use client backups and I really really like it in WHS, saved me a couple of times already. But if you have another way of securing your clinet backups, then I would not rerally know why you should have the hassle of using WSE to be honest. IN other words, what do you use WHS 2011 for that a regular Windows (Pro) machine can't deliver?

Umfriend: I do actually use WHS for client backups, I said it’s just not the one I RELY on, that’s really all. Reason is because WHS has failed to restore about half of the PC’s I have asked it to do. Macrium Reflect has NEVER let me down. In addition, this way I have 2 sets of backups, which can’t hurt except for the drive space required to have it. 

BTW: Regarding the backup thing, consider this: Macrium Reflect is fully network aware, and full or incremental image backups can be scheduled to happen automatically, in the background, at any degree of bandwidth, at any chosen time, written to any network share or connected PC, with post-backup verifications and terminations. All this is in the FREE version. The Paid version allows differential and file backups as well. So, if backup is the only reason YOU are using WHS2011, then I ask you: Why are YOU using it?

Also, don’t forget that WHS2011 was WAY CHEAP compared to these newer Server OS’s. If you recall, it was never sold as a Retail package. You could buy it in the retail channel (I bought my copy through Newegg for like ~$50), but it was only ever intended to be sold to entities that manufactured their PC’s as OEM's. This could describe me and every PC I have ever owned except for the Laptops. At the time, $50 was about 1/3 the cost of any other OS MS was selling.

As far as what I use it for, besides the secondary backups, I just use it mostly as a Media Server to stream my collections of Music, Movies and Misc Videos. It is by far the most stable OS I have ever had. Each of my Family members has their own Shares, but I am not sure what they are using those for beyond storage of mostly their music.

Are you saying that I can do these things just as effortlessly with any MS Desktop OS??? I never really considered that, but I might now if we can’t resolve this concurrent user thing brought up by Jaga!

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3 hours ago, Jaga said:

You are correct in that the webpage you linked to clearly states 25 users / 50 devices.  It's also pretty clear about not requiring CALs, which I didn't expect.  Here's where I sourced the pricing for a copy of WSE 2016 from:

http://www.microcenter.com/product/473077/Microsoft_Windows_Server_Essentials_2016_64_Bit_-_1_Server,_2_Devices_(OEM)

It states "1 server, 2 devices", which I interpreted to mean "single concurrent server installation, 2 concurrent device access (clients)".  Either I've misinterpreted the licensing model, or the copy I found really only does allow 2 simultaneous logins on the domain.

It may simply be that WSE 2016 is locked to only allow 25 user accounts before they have to be deleted to make room for more (and the same for computers on the domain).  It may be good to re-visit the licensing documentation and see for sure.  Worth a look if it doesn't require any other licensing purchases..

 

Edit:  Found this over on Technet - it does limit concurrent logins to two (2) total.  You can register 25 user accounts, and 50 computers on the domain, but if you try to login to 3 at once, the third is denied.  That's what makes it a deal-breaker for me.  It's still using a CAL licensing style model, in that client access at the same time is highly restricted.

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/3a845ad5-359b-4cd1-b1be-689c2e98d781/windows-server-2016-essentials-help-please?forum=winserverTS

Well, this is confusing at best. There HAS to be more to this than what we are seeing and interpreting here. On the one hand, MS is selling a Server OS that allows 25 users, 50 devices and no CALs required. Then, out of the other side of their mouth, they are allowing only TWO of those 25 users to be logged in at the same time? That would mean that the other 23 users had to sit and wait until one of the two  already allowed logs out before they can log in. Huh? This would also mean that there is no solution for this, since the Essentials version does not support or deal with CAL’s at all. There would be no way to expand the maximum number of concurrent users. Huh? Where's the value?

This makes no sense AT ALL! Why would anyone pay $4-500 for such an Operating System? Who would want it? Who could make any use of it? Just myself and my Family of 3 other users would hit that wall straight away! If this is true, then it’s a deal-breaker for me as well. Given that however, I don’t know where to go beyond WHS2011. There MUST be more to it that we are not seeing or not aware of.

Christopher (Drashna)! Can you shed some light on this conundrum please?

 

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I'll put my vote in for Macrium Reflect as awesome backup software too GDogTech.  All of my frequently used machines do monthly fulls and rolling weeklies with it, including my server.

 

8 minutes ago, GDogTech said:

Are you saying that I can do these things just as effortlessly with any MS Desktop OS??? I never really considered that, but I might now if we can’t resolve this concurrent user thing brought up by Jaga!

Yes, you absolutely can.  I setup a small business client of mine with a high-quality hardware server, using W10 Pro as the OS.  Password protected shares, shared media (I use Plex), etc are all possible.  You can't do some of the more complex things like domain policy, roaming profiles, etc...  but few people in a very small environment use those anyway.

 

3 minutes ago, GDogTech said:

Well, this is confusing at best. There HAS to be more to this than what we are seeing and interpreting here. On the one hand, MS is selling a Server OS that allows 25 users, 50 devices and no CALs required. Then, out of the other side of their mouth, they are allowing only TWO of those 25 users to be logged in at the same time? That would mean that the other 23 users had to sit and wait until one of the two  already allowed logs out before they can log in. Huh? This would also mean that there is no solution for this, since the Essentials version does not support or deal with CAL’s at all. There would be no way to expand the maximum number of concurrent users. Huh? Where's the value?

This makes no sense AT ALL! Why would anyone pay $4-500 for such an Operating System? Who would want it? Who could make any use of it? Just myself and my Family of 3 other users would hit that wall straight away! If this is true, then it’s a deal-breaker for me as well. Given that however, I don’t know where to go beyond WHS2011. There MUST be more to it that we are not seeing or not aware of.

I know huh?  I think five (5) is probably the fewest number of concurrent sign-ons that a domain server should ever be limited to.  It'd be nice to hear there was something we were missing with it's licensing.  MS' licensing on server products has always been overly complicated.

Doing some more reading tonight... it appears as though Remote Desktop and Remote Apps are what are technically limited with WSE 2016 to 2 concurrent:

So whereas remote connections/apps may be limited to 2, regular domain logins on networked client computers may only be limited to the 25/50 users/computers.

I'll stop speculating and see if someone with actual concrete data wants to chime in.  :)  If there's a higher limit on domain logins, I'll have to reconsider my choice on rebuilding the server here.

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On 7/5/2018 at 4:53 PM, Jaga said:

I can get a copy of W10 Pro OEM on DVD for $140, which is ~120 Euro.  WSE for 2 device access is $390, or 333 Euro.  It's around the right price by itself, but 1 CAL is just an insult to a server platform (any platform) since the server itself counts as a CAL (2 device total).  A 5-device CAL license is an additional $150 (128 Euro).  I have a server, 2 workstations, 2 laptops, 2 Android phones, 2 Roku devices, etc.. all needing network access.

Windows Server Essentials DOES NOT require CALs.  It includes access for a number of systems/users built in.  Though that number depends on the specific OS version.   Unless you're going past that limit (25 or 50, IIRC) then you DO NOT need CALs.  Period. 

17 hours ago, Jaga said:

Edit:  Found this over on Technet - it does limit concurrent logins to two (2) total.  You can register 25 user accounts, and 50 computers on the domain, but if you try to login to 3 at once, the third is denied.  That's what makes it a deal-breaker for me.  It's still using a CAL licensing style model, in that client access at the same time is highly restricted.

I think you're misunderstanding.  The 2 concurrent logins isn't for users accessing resources on the system, but for login sessions. Eg console login (mouse, keyboard, video) and Remote Desktop.   You have have all 25 users logged into their own systems, and accessing resources without any issues. 

17 hours ago, Jaga said:

http://www.microcenter.com/product/473077/Microsoft_Windows_Server_Essentials_2016_64_Bit_-_1_Server,_2_Devices_(OEM)

It states "1 server, 2 devices", which I interpreted to mean "single concurrent server installation, 2 concurrent device access (clients)".  Either I've misinterpreted the licensing model, or the copy I found really only does allow 2 simultaneous logins on the domain.

That's some Grade A screw up. It's 1 system, 2 Processor sockets. 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server-essentials/get-started/system-requirements

So please ignore whatever this says. It's wrong.  When in doubt, go to Microsoft

13 hours ago, GDogTech said:

Well, this is confusing at best. There HAS to be more to this than what we are seeing and interpreting here. On the one hand, MS is selling a Server OS that allows 25 users, 50 devices and no CALs required. Then, out of the other side of their mouth, they are allowing only TWO of those 25 users to be logged in at the same time? That would mean that the other 23 users had to sit and wait until one of the two  already allowed logs out before they can log in. Huh? This would also mean that there is no solution for this, since the Essentials version does not support or deal with CAL’s at all. There would be no way to expand the maximum number of concurrent users. Huh? Where's the value?

Welcome to Microsoft Server. :D

Joking aside, see above.    It's two users logging in, not a limit on accessing devices.  

Because I have 8 different machines all connecting to the server, over the domain.

13 hours ago, GDogTech said:

Christopher (Drashna)! Can you shed some light on this conundrum please?

Next time, put an @ symbol before my name. It tags me and lets me know. 

Eg @GDogTech or @Christopher (Drashna) :)

 

On 7/5/2018 at 2:48 PM, Umfriend said:

Looking at the M$ store, I see W10 Pro at euro 259 and WSE 2016 at 707, that is less than W10 Pro x3, no?

That's the problem with buying retail. It's much more expensive.  OEM is better, but ... harder to get, and has other (licensing) issues.

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19 hours ago, Jaga said:

http://www.microcenter.com/product/473077/Microsoft_Windows_Server_Essentials_2016_64_Bit_-_1_Server,_2_Devices_(OEM)

It states "1 server, 2 devices", which I interpreted to mean "single concurrent server installation, 2 concurrent device access (clients)".  Either I've misinterpreted the licensing model, or the copy I found really only does allow 2 simultaneous logins on the domain.

 

2 hours ago, Christopher (Drashna) said:

That's some Grade A screw up. It's 1 system, 2 Processor sockets. 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server-essentials/get-started/system-requirements

So please ignore whatever this says. It's wrong.  When in doubt, go to Microsoft

 

Good to know, hence the confusion it was causing.  Thanks for the insider info.  :)   I'll slate it for my server upgrade in a month!

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On 7/7/2018 at 5:27 AM, GDogTech said:

BTW: Regarding the backup thing, consider this: Macrium Reflect is fully network aware, and full or incremental image backups can be scheduled to happen automatically, in the background, at any degree of bandwidth, at any chosen time, written to any network share or connected PC, with post-backup verifications and terminations. All this is in the FREE version. The Paid version allows differential and file backups as well. So, if backup is the only reason YOU are using WHS2011, then I ask you: Why are YOU using it?

It must be me but you sound a bit agitated? If I said something wrong then sorry.

The reason I am *still* using WHS2011 is that it is a one stop shop that includes both client and server backup. I know people have had issues with client restores, not me. Used it quite a few times either in case of issues or for migrations from HDD to SSD for example. Always worked like a charm for me.Either file/folder recovery or BMR (and the latter is an absolute must) Moreover, at the time I went and bought WHS2011 (as you said, very cheaply), I did not know about Macrium or any other backup solution that worked as well and automated as WHS2011. I was aware of backup solutions that would not do BMR and image-backup solutions that would not do file/folder restores and took a lot of space if you wanted more restore points. Other uses like streaming video across my network, network shares for a small office at home can be done with Windows Pro. RDP as well. Now the reason I am considering going WSE is really only because of backup/restore. If there is a better or just comparable product out there then I may well choose to go the W10Pro route.

 

Terry Walsh of wegotserverd.com (although I can't reach it ATM) has published a number of ebooks about using both WSE and W10 as home/SOHO servers. You might want to take a look at those. I never read one really but thet seem pretty decent and if I ever go WSE of WPro I would really consider studying one of these.

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6 hours ago, Umfriend said:

It must be me but you sound a bit agitated? If I said something wrong then sorry.

Definitely you. I'm not at all agitated. I was just trying to express another way of looking at it. I knew when I wrote it however, that sometimes it can APPEAR that way, so I actually tried to avoid that in the way I wrote it. Maybe I didn't do such a great job with that, but rest assured I am NOT agitated. I'm also not bashful or timid. When I *am* agitated, and I want you to know it, you will, without any doubt. 

7 hours ago, Umfriend said:

Terry Walsh of wegotserverd.com (although I can't reach it ATM) has published a number of ebooks about using both WSE and W10 as home/SOHO servers. You might want to take a look at those. I never read one really but thet seem pretty decent and if I ever go WSE of WPro I would really consider studying one of these.

I am looking hard at this option. It seems to be the best, most economical option for people like me (and maybe you) that just want a Home Media Server without any fancy Server features. Terry Walsh wants $16 for his latest iteration of his book: "BUILDING A WINDOWS 10 HOME SERVER - ANNIVERSARY UPDATE EDITION", but I would like to hear what someone here has to say about it before I drop the coin on it. IOW: is it WORTH the money, or can I assemble the information myself from various articles published on the Web Re this subject. Plus, I am still more than a little irritated at the way Terry handled shutting down that very excellent "We Got Served" Forum, and I am not sure I want to give him any support in his eBook efforts. What if I buy this version of that eBook and a few months later he releases an updated version? Would I have to spend the entire amount AGAIN? I'm not comfortable that Terry would handle that in an "I care about my supporters" way, if you know what I mean.

I tried W10 when it first came out and didn't like the  new UI AT ALL!  Up to now, I have avoided it like the Plague. The *ONLY* reason I am considering it now is because of its apparent ability to act as a sort of "Pseudo-Home Server". But I have some questions about this.  

@Christopher (Drashna):  I asked you some questions about W10 in my reply to your reply to me (above), but you never addressed them for me. I would appreciate it if you could shed some more SPECIFIC light on this "W10 as a Server" thing, as I am still hanging on whether to go this route or just stay with a REAL Server OS. It is unlikely however, that I would ever do anything of a highly advanced nature with my Server OS.

Thanks, -Gary

 

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23 hours ago, Jaga said:

Good to know, hence the confusion it was causing.  Thanks for the insider info.  :)   I'll slate it for my server upgrade in a month!

You say that, but.... I was a Microsoft MVP for Windows Home Server for 4-5 years?  So ... yeah.  :)
And, I've been following it even after that.  And ... well, I run 2012R2 Essentials, so... :)

On 7/6/2018 at 8:34 PM, GDogTech said:

There would be no way to expand the maximum number of concurrent users. Huh? Where's the value?

There is, actually.  Upgrade it to Standard, and use the Essentials Experience Role.  The limit is upped, but then you need to buy 25+ user/computer CALs immediately. Which is SUPER expensive for a home user.  But not that bad for a business, actually.  Since ... it's a tax deduction, in theory. 

On 7/6/2018 at 8:34 PM, GDogTech said:

 This makes no sense AT ALL! Why would anyone pay $4-500 for such an Operating System? Who would want it? Who could make any use of it? Just myself and my Family of 3 other users would hit that wall straight away! If this is true, then it’s a deal-breaker for me as well. Given that however, I don’t know where to go beyond WHS2011. There MUST be more to it that we are not seeing or not aware of.

A lot of people won't, because the part that makes it expensive (Active Directory, aka domains) is not needed for home use. At all.  It's why a bunch of us were very upset when MSFT discontinued the Home Server line.  But ... by that time the writing wasn't just on the walls, it was being done by sky writing, too. 

For a "regular" user, you'd want Windows 10 Pro, as it provides a lot of the functionality you need, without a lot of the "fluff" you don't.  The things that you lose out on are backups, and anywhere access.  Backups can be replaced with other products. But you can create some of the anywhere access stuff if you're okay with setting up and configuring a web server (you still won't get the remote desktop functionality, though). 

It's what I recommend for most people. 

The down side, is that Microsoft changed some of the licensing wording for Pro to make it "not usable as a server" IIRC.  I'll have to dig it out... but I think this is aimed at businesses trying to cheap their way out of server licenses.... and to add some artificial distinction between 10 Pro and 10 Pro for Workstations. 

 

@GDogTech I think I've answered what you wanted to know. But if not, could you clarify/repeat? 

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37 minutes ago, Christopher (Drashna) said:

@GDogTech I think I've answered what you wanted to know. But if not, could you clarify/repeat? 

@Christopher (Drashna)

Well, not completely. I am still left wondering about these things...

Windows 10 as a Server questions:

1.     Licensing:  You brought up a change that put the user in violation of the EULA if it is used as a “Server”, per se’. If I go this route in spite of this, am I going to run into Activation problems initially OR down the road?

2.     Dashboard: Would I have use of a “Dashboard” like in WHS2011 where I can see all my Drives and Shares together on the same page?

3.     Drive Mounting: Will I be able to mount my drives into Folders like WHS2011 allows? Related to this:  Are there any limits as to the number of Drives I can have attached?

4.     Hardware:  Are there any restrictions as to what kind of Hardware I can use? Specifically, a lot of my Hardware is SERVER HW, like my Motherboard, SATA cards & Expanders etc. Are any of these forbidden? Am I going to be able to get DRIVERS for all this Server HW?

5.     SB Scanner: I absolutely want to be able to run this Add-in. I'm running DrivePool 2.x now as a standalone, and I am OK with it. However, I don't see that with Scanner. My version is 2.5.3062, which I think *IS* the latest one. But it ONLY comes up within the WHS2011 Dashboard, nowhere else. If I go to Win10 Pro, how would I continue with Scanner? Is there a version that will run as a standalone?

6.     Third Party Guides:  Terry Walsh has published an updated eBook as a Guide to doing this:  "BUILDING A WINDOWS 10 HOME SERVER - ANNIVERSARY UPDATE EDITION". However, it is somewhat pricey for an eBook ($16) and I wanted to know what YOU thought about it beforehand. I know you are unhappy with him about the way he handled the Forum shutdown (so am I), but if it is a worthwhile publication then I can overlook my issues with that somewhat.  Plus, I am sure you have heard about it, but have you READ it? If not, do you know anyone who HAS read it whose opinion you would/could trust? Is it worth it for someone like me to buy this book and setup his Win10 Server using it as a Guide? If not Terry’s guide, then can you recommend another one I could use so I don’t have to keep pestering you with my incessant questions? :) 

These are just the few questions/issues I was able to conjure up on the spur of the moment here. I am sure there will be more as I get further into this project.

Thanks so much Christopher! I *do so* appreciate all that you do here to not just support us, but provide genuine HELP! 
-Gary

 

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26 minutes ago, GDogTech said:

1.     Licensing:  You brought up a change that put the user in violation of the EULA if it is used as a “Server”, per se’. If I go this route in spite of this, am I going to run into Activation problems initially OR down the road?

More of a compliance issue.  I'm going to have to dig for the info again, it's been a while. 

28 minutes ago, GDogTech said:

 2.     Dashboard: Would I have use of a “Dashboard” like in WHS2011 where I can see all my Drives and Shares together on the same page?

No.  There is "Computer Management" that can get to all of this info, but nothing as neat if WHS/WSE. :(

28 minutes ago, GDogTech said:

 3.     Drive Mounting: Will I be able to mount my drives into Folders like WHS2011 allows? Related to this:  Are there any limits as to the number of Drives I can have attached?

Yup, no issue with that. I do that on my desktop, actually. 

And no, other than hardware limitations (eg, your system)

29 minutes ago, GDogTech said:

 4.     Hardware:  Are there any restrictions as to what kind of Hardware I can use? Specifically, a lot of my Hardware is SERVER HW, like my Motherboard, SATA cards & Expanders etc. Are any of these forbidden? Am I going to be able to get DRIVERS for all this Server HW?

Yes. There is a CPU socket, and # of cores limit, as well as a RAM limit. But that's it.  
And that's 2 CPU sockets, and 512GB or 1TB limit om RAM (can't find an answer. 

As for server hardware, that's tricky.  Some Intel NICs have their drivers hard coded to client or server OS only (you can edit the driver INF files ,but you then have signing issues)

Otherwise, a majority of the hardware should work, but it's a gamble, sometimes. 

36 minutes ago, GDogTech said:

 5.     SB Scanner: I absolutely want to be able to run this Add-in. I'm running DrivePool 2.x now as a standalone, and I am OK with it. However, I don't see that with Scanner. My version is 2.5.3062, which I think *IS* the latest one. But it ONLY comes up within the WHS2011 Dashboard, nowhere else. If I go to Win10 Pro, how would I continue with Scanner? Is there a version that will run as a standalone?

Yup, there is a stand alone version. In fact, that's the only version now. And the EXE (stand alone) will install a dashboard tab. 

So the lates is 2.5.3.3191, and you should use that. 

37 minutes ago, GDogTech said:

 6.     Third Party Guides:  Terry Walsh has published an updated eBook as a Guide to doing this:  "BUILDING A WINDOWS 10 HOME SERVER - ANNIVERSARY UPDATE EDITION". However, it is somewhat pricey for an eBook ($16) and I wanted to know what YOU thought about it beforehand. I know you are unhappy with him about the way he handled the Forum shutdown (so am I), but if it is a worthwhile publication then I can overlook my issues with that somewhat.  Plus, I am sure you have heard about it, but have you READ it? If not, do you know anyone who HAS read it whose opinion you would/could trust? Is it worth it for someone like me to buy this book and setup his Win10 Server using it as a Guide? If not Terry’s guide, then can you recommend another one I could use so I don’t have to keep pestering you with my incessant questions? :) 

I'm not really upset with Terry about that. I totally understand.  Microsoft nuked Home Server by discontinuing it. And they killed it by not including Drive Extender or Storage Spaces.  

Terry left the forums running for a long while after the death knell, which is pretty awesome.  But it I was definitely saddened. 
And he did fix the 503 issue that broke The Wayback Machine. 

 

For books, I don't have a good answer.  A lot of it is pretty basic info. But ... that's your call, honestly.  
I haven't read them, but a lot of the info ... I was already very familiar with. 

So I don't really have a guide to recommend, especially as there are so many. 

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2 hours ago, Christopher (Drashna) said:

You say that, but.... I was a Microsoft MVP for Windows Home Server for 4-5 years?  So ... yeah.  :)
And, I've been following it even after that.  And ... well, I run 2012R2 Essentials, so... :)

Yeah.  The problem I have is that MS likes to continually change and obfuscate their licensing models, taking out what they think people have to have and that they can charge more for.  I've been a SysAdmin in one form or another for Windows Server going on ~20 years now, and am very used to the CAL licensing model (just not WHS or WSE).  So when I saw dubious verbage on a sales site (and couldn't immediately confirm it elsewhere), I simply read the worst into it and down-shifted.  It's good to get clarification on domain login limits vs remote desktop/app sessions on Server versions I'm unfamiliar with, so thanks for that.

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18 hours ago, GDogTech said:

Definitely you. I'm not at all agitated. I was just trying to express another way of looking at it. I knew when I wrote it however, that sometimes it can APPEAR that way, so I actually tried to avoid that in the way I wrote it. Maybe I didn't do such a great job with that, but rest assured I am NOT agitated. I'm also not bashful or timid. When I *am* agitated, and I want you to know it, you will, without any doubt.

Must be the CAPS that confused me. OK.

I have never bought any of Walsh's ebooks. I have reviewed a couple of previews and no, IMHO, it is not that they have a tremenduous amount of good info, more an easy way in that helps to plan. I am still upset about him killing the forums indeed.

I have looked at the site of Macrium. It seems to me that, unless I get some paid version that runs into quite a few bucks perhaps, backups are arranged through each individual client. Is that right? If I want to manage client backups from the Server, would I need Site Backup (@ EUR547)? I am also confused about the distinction they make between file/folder backups and images/clones of disks. I also wonder why they raise MS SQL backup capabilities (given that MS SQL itself is very able to backup/restore and WHS also creates backups)?

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22 hours ago, Jaga said:

Yeah.  The problem I have is that MS likes to continually change and obfuscate their licensing models, taking out what they think people have to have and that they can charge more for.  I've been a SysAdmin in one form or another for Windows Server going on ~20 years now, and am very used to the CAL licensing model (just not WHS or WSE).  So when I saw dubious verbage on a sales site (and couldn't immediately confirm it elsewhere), I simply read the worst into it and down-shifted.  It's good to get clarification on domain login limits vs remote desktop/app sessions on Server versions I'm unfamiliar with, so thanks for that.

Yeah, definitely.  And ... they've never done well in their consumer space.  Nixxing products that are good, .... because they failed to market them (Windows Mobile, Windows Media Center, Zune, Windows Phone, Windows Home Server, etc).  They make good/great products.... but the lack of marketting ..... And then there are companies that sell mediocre products, but have genius marketing... 

/rant. 

And yeah, I'm glad to clarify that stuff.  I know it was firmly explained somewhere, but I'm having issues finding the links, probably because the docs have been reorganized a dozen times since I last looked....

 

8 hours ago, Umfriend said:

Must be the CAPS that confused me. OK.

I have never bought any of Walsh's ebooks. I have reviewed a couple of previews and no, IMHO, it is not that they have a tremenduous amount of good info, more an easy way in that helps to plan. I am still upset about him killing the forums indeed.

I have looked at the site of Macrium. It seems to me that, unless I get some paid version that runs into quite a few bucks perhaps, backups are arranged through each individual client. Is that right? If I want to manage client backups from the Server, would I need Site Backup (@ EUR547)? I am also confused about the distinction they make between file/folder backups and images/clones of disks. I also wonder why they raise MS SQL backup capabilities (given that MS SQL itself is very able to backup/restore and WHS also creates backups)?

Macrium Reflect can get pretty expensive. 

That said, Veeam Endpoint Backup is a well rated, free solution, IIRC.  And has good reviews.

 

But honestly, getting a software package to backup systems like WHS/WSE is ... as expensive or more so, than the cost of WSE, in most cases.  Which is a real irony. 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Christopher (Drashna) said:

But honestly, getting a software package to backup systems like WHS/WSE is ... as expensive or more so, than the cost of WSE, in most cases.  Which is a real irony. 

 

 

That was my conclusion back in 2011 and I don;t think it has changed (but I have not really looked except for Macrium which currently I think is not for me and not as good as WHS even).

To my horror, I just found out that M$ is abandoning the Essentials role (and thus I assume Essentials entirely) in Server 2019, which I would go for! Apparantly the intended replacement is Microsoft 365 for business (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/business). The site reminds me of the marketing spoof where M$ re-designs the ipod packaging: No clue what it says. And boy, is it expensive!

So it may be I need to go WSE 2016 and that wil be EOL for me. I hate it that I'll have to invest quite a bit of time and only be able to rely on this until early 2022.

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