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I need an operating system for an IIS-based web server that should serve both public and private (authentication required) web content and -services. (In other words, it should host all the stuff we develop with ASP.NET.)

Looking at the Windows Server 2012 Editions, it seems that the Essentials edition would be a good fit:

  • It does not require CALs.
  • The 25 user limit should not be an issue, since the only Active Directory users are admins uploading or configuring software, or "servce accounts", for example, for SQL Server.

On the other hand, other documents from Microsoft present Server 2012 Essentials as a successor to Windows Small Business Server, which is quite different from a typical web server.

Are there any nasty surprises to be expected when using Server 2012 Essentials as a public web server?

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Am I wrong thinking that for a web server you could actually use Foundation edition of Windows Server 2012? – IAmDeveloper Aug 9 '13 at 10:06
Theoretically yes, but you are not allowed to run Foundation edition in a VM, which means you'd need physical HW for it. – Heinzi Aug 9 '13 at 10:25
Sure, I personally would use it as installed on hw. – IAmDeveloper Aug 9 '13 at 10:47
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Server 2012 Essentials has to be a Domain Controller, which is the first DC in the root of a new forest. It's very similar to SBS. So, no, most people wouldn't consider deploying it as a web server.

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Mind you, if it's not a production domain that people actually work in, I don't think that should make a big difference at all. – mfinni Apr 3 '13 at 16:52

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