Windows Server 2012 will be available in 2 edition only:

  • Standard
  • Datacenter

Both are identical in terms of features, the only difference is related to virtualization:

Standard edition includes only TWO instance while Datacenter edition includes UNLIMITED instance of Windows.

Regarding hardware consideration, Standard edition is able to support up to 4 TB of memory and up to 64 physical processor like Datacenter edition.

The licensing has been also simplified; Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard and Enterprise were licensed by the server while Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition was licensed by the processor/socket. Now, with Windows Server 2012 editions are licensed in two processors increments, which means:

  • 2 processors server needs 1 license,
  • 4 processors server needs 2 licenses,
  • 8 processors server needs 4 licenses.

Windows Server 2012 Licensing & Pricing FAQ