Microsoft has unveiled its four simplified versions of Windows Server 2012 today and killed off Windows Home Server at the same time. The four editions include Standard, Datacenter, Essentials, and foundation — all are targeted at different business and enterprise environments. Similar to the Windows 8 client side, Microsoft is simplifying its offerings to businesses for Windows Server 2012, bringing the number down from 12 to just four.
The software giant also revealed it will no longer offer a separate Windows Home Server edition. Instead, the company plans to combine the features from Windows Home Server into Windows Server 2012 Essentials. An FAQ (PDF) reveals the company is focusing its efforts into "making Windows Server 2012 Essentials the ideal first server operating system for both small business and home use."
Microsoft angered Windows Home Server fans when it removed the Drive Extender functionality from Windows Home Server 2011, a feature that allowed users to pool together small drives and create a simple volume. Terry Walsh, who runs a site dedicated to Windows Home Server, described Microsoft's move as "disappointing today. "Adoption was slow," he writes, despite retailers selling Windows Home Server devices in stores. Microsoft will continue to support Windows Home Server 2011 until 2016, when it reaches end of life.