If you're a small business running a server for backup, email, perhaps to give all your staff access to central database or applications, then your IT person may want to take a look at the free trial version of the new Windows Server 2012.
You can download the 180-day Windows Server 2012 trial here, you find out more about it at Microsoft's Windows Server 2012 site. The trial is available for download as an ISO file for installation directly onto hardware, or as a VHD file for use with Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualisation software.
Don't miss our guide: Could a server help your small business?
Released today, Windows Server 2012 includes hundreds of new features and enhancements in such diverse areas as virtualisation, networking, storage, user experience, cloud computing and automation, say company officials.
You can read about the four different editions of Windows Server 2012 in our article here. They are: Datacenter, Standard, Essentials and Foundation. The latter two are likely to be of most interest if you run a small business.
Foundation is limited to 15 users and as it is only offered as an OEM product will only turn up on off-the-shelf servers. The Essentials edition is the mainstream small business version - it allows up to 25 users and 50 devices - and has a simplified interface and provides preconfigured connectivity to cloud services.
Early adopters of Windows Server 2012 report reduced downtime, improved employee productivity, and reductions in server and network administration time. For example, virtual desktop administration is simplified, multiple servers can be managed as one, and IIS (Windows Server's web server) allows administrators to block excessive requests from one device.
In the longer term, small businesses stand to benefit from the way Windows Server 2012 is part of Microsoft's 'Cloud OS' vision to allow applications to run on a company's own servers, in a service provider's data centre, or in the Windows Azure public cloud.