Microsoft has announced changes to its Windows Server 2019 Essentials SKU compatibility. The company says the SKU from the Server family will not cater for small businesses of 50 devices or under, or 25 users and under. That means the current Windows Server 2019 Essentials SKU will be the last for such organizations.

In its announcement, Microsoft said the decision was made after it “collaborated with the MVP community and other influencers”. That decision involved making one final version of an on-premises server for a small business.

Once Windows Server 2019 Essentials SKU is no longer available, small businesses can use other solutions. For example, Microsoft 365 is the direction the company is pointing people towards. If you are unfamiliar with Microsoft 365, it is a subscription bundle including Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Office 365.

Customers currently on Windows Server 2016 Essentials will be supported under the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC). Microsoft adds this will also be the case with the 2019 version.

2019 Essentials

When Windows Server 2019 Essentials launches, it will come with the following benefits:

“Windows Server 2019 Essentials has the same licensing and technical characteristics as its predecessor, Windows Server 2016 Essentials. If configured as a Domain Controller, Windows Server 2019 Essentials must be the only Domain Controller, must run all Flexible Single Master Operations (FSMO) roles, and cannot have two-way trusts with other Active Directory domains.

Windows Server 2019 Essentials includes the new hardware support and features and improvements like Windows Server 2019 Standard, including Storage Migration Services, System Insights, and many more.”

Microsoft will roll out Server 2019 Essentials will launch alongside other Windows Server 2019 editions. The company says the launch will come “later this year”. The service is currently in preview.