Windows Server 2019 Essentials, Standard, Datacenter: Compare key differences

Windows Server 2019 is currently the latest version of the server operating system released by Microsoft. Released in October 2018, Windows Server 2019 is built on the powerful platform of previous versions - Windows Server 2016. The functionality of the 2019 edition brings new opportunities when it comes to hybrid cloud environments, storage, security and administration. Windows Server 2019 has three versions: Essentials, Standard and Datacenter. As their names imply, they are designed for organizations of different sizes and with different virtualization and data center requirements. Windows Server 2019 Essentials perfectly fits the needs of a small infrastructure, while the Datacenter version offers the widest range of functionality among all other Microsoft server operating systems.

Having your data and applications backed up can help you ensure business continuity and achieve the lowest RPO and RTO possible. NAKIVO Backup & Replication allows you to reliably protect your Windows Server machines. Try the software for free to test your ability to ensure your Windows Server data is safe and recoverable.

Windows Server 2019 Essentials: Key features
This version is designed for small companies with up to 25 users and 50 devices. It is worth noting that Microsoft encourages its users to step away from Windows Server Essentials and move on to Microsoft 365, the company's latest solution for small business customers. According to their documentation, Microsoft Office 365 provides new functionality for storage, sharing, protection, etc.However, Windows Server Essentials has enough features to meet the needs of a small infrastructure.

Like the previous version, Windows Server 2016 Essentials, the 2019 version allows integration with Azure Site Recovery services. This feature is intended to help you maintain business continuity in the event of a hardware or other failure, when the virtual machine (VM) or its server is down. This function allows you to copy virtual machines in real time to the backup archive in Azure. If disaster strikes, you can move on to duplicates and continue your important business activities.

Essentials 2019 also allows integration with the Azure Virtual network. Moving a business's resources to the cloud can be a complex issue. The right way is to allow enough time for this process and take one step at a time. In turn, Windows Server 2019 Essentials makes the resources and processes running in Azure look as if they are on your local network. This allows companies to seamlessly migrate their resources to the cloud.

One of the things that makes Windows Server 2019 Essentials different from 2016 version is that the Experience Role function has been removed. In practice, this means that all management and configuration related tasks must be performed manually. In addition, client backups and remote web acces are no longer accessible.

Is Windows Server 2019 Standard a gold option?
The Standard version is designed for optimal or physical virtualization environments. For the maximum number of users, it is based on CALs, or client access license requests. In general, the Standard edition provides core Windows Server functionality (including but not limited to the functionality of Windows Server Essentials 2019).

Standard version allows hybrid operations in Azure environment. You can inventory and move data, as well as security settings and other configurations, from legacy systems to Windows Server 2019 and / or the Azure cloud. The functionality of the Standard edition allows you to centralize company file sharing by synchronizing the file server with Azure. Along with that, the flexibility and performance of the local file server are preserved. In addition, applications running in your local network can use various improvements in the cloud, such as Artificial Intelligence or Internet O Things.

When it comes to virtualization, Windows Server 2019 Standard includes usage rights for two OSEs (operating system environments) or VMs on each license, plus one Hyper-V server. If you need to add a VM in your infrastructure, you must purchase additional licenses. For comparison, the number of VMs supported in Windows Server Datacenter is unlimited.

Another notable feature is that the Standard version supports only up to two Hyper-V containers. The number of Windows containers supported by the version is unlimited. For reference only, containers and microservice can be used to help you create native applications in the cloud and modernize traditional applications. With that, Linux and Windows containers can be run side by side.

Another difference with regards to backups is the ability to allow replication between servers for disaster recovery purposes. There is no limit on the Datacenter version, while the volume available in the Standard version is limited to 2TB.

What is Windows Server Datacenter?
Datacenter version is suitable for the needs of virtualized data centers and cloud environments. It provides the functionality of Windows Server 2019 Standard and has no limitations. You can create any number of virtual machines, plus a Hyper-V server on each license. As mentioned above, Datacenter version supports unlimited number of Windows and Hyper-V containers. Along with that, there are a few other features not found in any other version of Windows Server.

One of the features only provided in Windows Server Datacenter is the network controller. It enables centralized infrastructure management and provides you with tools to monitor, configure, and troubleshoot your virtualized network environment automatically. The network controller can be used to automate network configuration instead of configuring network devices and services manually.

Another feature unique to the Datacenter version is Host Guardian's Hyper-V Support. It tells you if the hoster or business knows about the Hyper-V server FC environment. In addition, this service can help you manage the keys required to start protected virtual machines. The offline mode of the Host Guard service allows protected virtual machines to be turned on if the service cannot be reached, although only if your Hyper-V server security settings are not changed.

It is worth noting that the Datacenter version provides super converged infrastructure construction functionality. So far, it is considered one of the most efficient and scalable solutions to create a software-defined data centet. In general, the functionality of a super converged infrastructure allows you to consolidate computing, storage and network resources into one cluster, which is a way to improve performance and save costs.

Summary: Windows Server Standard vs Datacenter
In a nutshell, the main difference between the Essential and Standard editions lies in the number of users and devices they support. For an overview of the basic differences between Standard and Datacenter editions, see the table below:

Currently, Windows Server Datacenter can be considered as the most comprehensive version of the entire Microsoft server operating system. Compared to the Standard version, it offers the most selection of tools and features with limited quantities. However, choosing the Datacenter version is only reasonable if your infrastructure is large enough to allow you to use the full functionality of this version. significantly compared to the price of Windows Server Standard.

Backup Windows Server with NAKIVO Backup & Replication
One of the latest features of NAKIVO Backup & Replication is to allow you to seamless backup for Windows Server. Below is a summary of the solution's functions:

Application-aware mode: Backup data of applications and databases, such as MS Exchange, MS SQL, Active Directory, etc., in a consistent state in the transaction.
Data deduplication & compression: Reduce the size of your backups by eliminating duplicate data blocks and then compressing unique data blocks.The combination of these features gives you a way to Reduce storage space requirements up to 30 times.
Physical to Virtual: Convert physical machines running Windows Server to Hyper-V or even VMware virtual machines. This allows you to move your physical workloads into a virtual environment and provides a way to recover data from your Windows Server server if the latter is not available.
Backup Copy: Store an additional copy of your backups in the cloud or at a remote location. If your primary backup is accidentally deleted, lost or corrupted, the backup may be the only means to recover your data.
Instant Recovery: Restores individual files, folders, or application objects (MS Exchange, SQL, and Active Directory) without restoring an entire Windows Server server.
The function of NAKIVO Backup & Replication allows you to enhance the performance of Windows Server backups while reducing network resource consumption. To further improve the effectiveness of backup management, you can set up a schedule for backup jobs. With NAKIVO's software, you can be assured that your data and applications can be reliably protected and accessible even in the event of a disaster.