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Introduction to Windows Server 2012 Foundation

Applies To: Windows Server 2012 Foundation, Windows Server 2012 R2 Foundation

This document introduces you to Windows Server® 2012 Foundation, and describes the differences between Windows Server 2012 Foundation and other editions of Windows Server 2012. It also includes clarification of important licensing limits and troubleshooting tips.

Windows Server 2012 Foundation is full-featured 64-bit version of Windows® Server that enables core IT resources, such as file and print sharing, remote access, and security. It provides a network foundation from which you can centrally manage settings on your computers that are based on the Windows operating system, and upon which you can run the most popular business applications. It also provides a familiar Windows user experience that helps you manage users and safeguard business information.

Because Windows Server 2012 Foundation comes pre-installed with your server hardware, you do not need to separately obtain and then install the hardware and operating system. Windows Server 2012 Foundation is supported by an extensive network of certified professionals who can to provide service for your Windows Server network.

By design, Windows Server 2012 Foundation uses the Windows Server Catalog.

Although most core features are the same, there are important limits in Windows Server 2012 Foundation versus other editions of Windows Server 2012 that you should be aware of before you deploy Windows Server 2012 Foundation. This section describes the applicable limits. The following table provides a summary of key limits.

 

Parameter Limit

Maximum number of users

15 (enforced by license terms)

Required client access licenses (CALs)

None

Maximum number of Server Message Block (SMB) connections

30

Maximum number of Routing and Remote Access (RRAS) connections

50

Maximum number of Internet Authentication Service (IAS) connections

10

Maximum number of Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Gateway connections

50

Maximum number of CPU sockets

1 (no limit on CPU cores)

Maximum RAM

32 GB

Virtual image use rights

None; cannot host virtual machines or be used as a guest operating system in a virtual machine.

Domain requirements

Must be the root domain controller in a domain that has no trusts at the root of the forest. This condition is temporarily allowed for migrations, but if persistent, the system will be forced to restart.

Most server roles and features are supported, but not all of them. Certain roles and features are available, but with limits. The following table provides a summary of the supported and unsupported roles and features, as well as applicable limits.

 

Role or feature Availability and limitations

Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS)

You can create certification authorities, but no other AD CS role services are available.

Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)

Available

Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS)

Available

Read-only domain controller (RODC)

The server cannot be used as a read-only domain controller.

Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)

Available

Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS)

Available

Application Server

Available

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) Server

Available

Domain Name System (DNS) Server

Available

Fax Server

Available, but limited to 30.

File and Storage Services

Available, but limited to one standalone Distributed File System (DFS) root.

Hyper-V™

Not available

Network Policy and Access Services

Available

Print and Document Services

Available

Web Server (IIS)

Available

Windows Deployment Services

Available

Remote Desktop Services

Available

Volume Activation Services

Available

Print and Document Services

Available

Hot Add Memory

Not available

Windows Server Update Services

Not included

Windows PowerShell™

Available

VSS integration

Available

Storage Spaces

Available

Data Deduplication

Not available

Failover Clustering

Not available

Dynamic Memory (in Hyper-V)

Not available

SMB Direct and SMB over RDMA

Available

IP Address Management

Available

BranchCache

Available

Distributed File System Replication (DFS-R)

Available

DirectAccess

Available

Server Manager

Available

Storage Management Service

Available

In the Windows Server 2012 Foundation operating system, the server must be a member of a workgroup or, if joined to a domain, joined at the root of the forest as a domain controller.

You will receive a warning message if the server is not joined to an Active Directory® domain at the root of the forest. If you do not correct this, you will receive notifications advising you of the violation of the terms of the license agreement. Eventually, the server will shut down. If your server is not joined to the domain at the root of the forest, disjoin the domain and then rejoin the domain at the root.

In the Windows Server 2012 Foundation operating system, you will also receive a warning message if your server in an Active Directory domain has established a trust with a domain in another forest. If this occurs, remove the trust with the domain in the other forest. For steps to remove a trust, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=150360.

Each user account that directly or indirectly accesses the Windows Server 2012 Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) must have its own AD RMS client access license (CAL).

You can use Windows Server 2012 Foundation in either Active Directory® or workgroup environments to create up to 15 user accounts that can access and use the server software. Each user account permits one user, using any device, to access and use your server software with no client access licenses (CALs) required. In the Windows Server 2012 Foundation operating system, you will receive a warning message if you exceed the fifteen-user limit. For steps to remove user accounts from Active Directory, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=150361. For steps to remove user accounts from a workgroup environment, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=150362.

You can use an x64 socket to run a 64-bit application. Windows Server 2012 Foundation includes support for one x64 socket. One physical processor is the same as one physical socket.

Windows Server 2012 Foundation provides access to a maximum of 32 GB of available memory.

A failover cluster node is a server that is a member of a failover cluster. A failover cluster node can own and run clustered services and applications. You cannot deploy Windows Server 2012 Foundation as a failover cluster node.

For more information about failover clusters, see the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=140233).

Windows Server 2012 includes Server Message Block (SMB) to provide users and devices with shared, simultaneous access to network resources. Windows Server 2012 Foundation supports a maximum of 30 simultaneous inbound connections. This means that the total combined number of user accounts and devices that can connect to the server at any given time cannot exceed 30. Connection attempts that exceed the allowable 30 receive a message informing them that the server cannot accept any additional connections at that time.

ImportantImportant
Although Windows Server 2012 Foundation supports up to 30 simultaneous connections, the Microsoft Software License Terms for Windows Server 2012 Foundation allow a maximum of 15 user accounts.

For more information about SMB, see the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=140234).

The Routing and Remote Access service (RRAS) in Windows Server 2012 supports remote user or site-to-site connectivity by using virtual private networking (VPN) or dial-up connections.

Windows Server 2012 Foundation supports a maximum of 50 RRAS connections.

For more information about RRAS, see the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=140235).

Network Policy Server (NPS) is the Microsoft implementation of a Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) server and proxy in Windows Server. NPS is the replacement for Internet Authentication Service (IAS) in Windows Server 2003. NPS performs centralized connection authentication, authorization, and accounting for many types of network access, including wireless and virtual private network (VPN) connections.

Windows Server 2012 Foundation supports a maximum of 10 NPS connections.

For more information about NPS, see “Network Policy Server” at the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=140236).

Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway) enables authorized users to connect to virtual desktops, RemoteApp programs, and session-based desktops on an internal corporate network from any Internet-connected device.

Windows Server 2012 Foundation supports a maximum of 50 RD Gateway connections.

For more information about RD Gateway, see http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831447.aspx.

noteNote
In order to access a hosted application, such as Microsoft® Office, a license for Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services is required for each user account (not to exceed 15 user accounts) that directly or indirectly uses RD Gateway to host a graphical user interface, including using Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) client. When using Remote Desktop Services, you may not install or use Remote Desktop Connection Broker or Remote Desktop Virtualization Host role services. For more information about Remote Desktop CALs , see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=140238.

Windows Server 2012 Foundation is licensed to run only in a physical operating system environment.

Windows Server 2012 Foundation is only available through original equipment manufacturers. You cannot obtain installation media for Windows Server 2012 Foundation at retail locations.

Upgrade of Windows Server 2012 Foundation is not supported.

The Windows Server 2012 Foundation operating system includes certain licensing limits that affect certain aspects of Active Directory configuration, such as the number of users and trusts. If your configuration is not compliant with these limits, you may receive one or more error messages about checking for licensing compliance. Check the list below for more information about the error message you have received.

The left column quotes the most relevant portion of the error message for identification, but not necessarily all of the text in the message.

 

Error message Explanation

The server did not finish checking the license compliance. If the server is joined to a domain, make sure that the server can connect to a domain controller.

This error occurs when the server cannot finish checking the number of users. It usually happens when the server cannot connect to a domain controller and may also occur the first time the server connects to a domain controller after the domain controller has been created. You can safely close this message, but you should confirm the connection between the server and a domain controller. The server will not shut down as a result of this issue. If the message does not recur within two hours, the problem is resolved.

The server did not finish checking the license compliance. If the server is joined to a domain, make sure that the server can connect to a domain controller. If the license compliant check cannot be completed, the server will automatically shut down in 0 hour(s) 30 minute(s).

This error occurs when the server cannot finish checking the requirements for the root domain, forest trust configuration, or both. It usually happens when the server cannot connect to a domain controller. If the situation persists, the server will shut down 10 days after the first time the compliance check failed. Each time this error message occurs, it will state the actual time remaining before the server will shut down. If you restart the server after it has shut down because of noncompliance, the server will shut itself down again in 3 days.

The server does not comply with the End User License Agreement (EULA) because it belongs to a domain that contains more than 15 user accounts.

Windows Server 2012 Foundation is limited to a total of 15 users in Active Directory. An error occurs when this number is exceeded. The server will not shut down as a result of this issue. For steps to remove user accounts from Active Directory Domain Services, see Delete a User Account (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=150361).

The server does not comply with the End User License Agreement (EULA) because it has more than 15 local user accounts.

Windows Server 2012 Foundation is limited to a total of 15 users. The server will not shut down as a result of this issue. For steps to remove user accounts from a workgroup environment, see Delete a local user account (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=150362).

The server detected external Active Directory forest trusts.

The server is in an Active Directory domain that has established a trust with a domain in another forest. This configuration is not allowed in Windows Server 2012 Foundation. You should resolve this issue, because otherwise the server will shut down 10 days after the first time the compliance check failed. Each time this error message occurs, it will state the actual time remaining before the server will shut down. If you restart the server after is has shut down due to noncompliance, the server will shut itself down again in 3 days. Resolve this issue by removing any trust with the domain in the other forest. For steps to remove a trust, see Remove a Trust (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=150360).

The server does not meet all of the requirements to belong to the domain.

The server is in a child domain, which is not allowed in Windows Server 2012 Foundation. The server must be in the root domain or in a workgroup. You should resolve this issue, because otherwise the server will shut down 10 days after the first time the compliance check failed. Each time this error message occurs, it will state the actual time remaining before the server will shut down. If you restart the server after is has shut down because of noncompliance, the server will shut itself down again in 3 days. To resolve this issue, disjoin the domain, and either leave the server in a workgroup or rejoin the domain at the root. You can find steps to do both in the “Active Directory limits” section of this document.

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