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In Windows Server 2019 there were four different editions:

  • Windows Server 2019 Essentials – For SMB (up to 25 users and 50 devices with no needs of CALs)
  • Windows Server 2019 Standard (up to 64 sockets and up to 4 TB RAM with 2 virtual instances licenses included)
  • Windows Server 2019 Datacenter – For highly virtualized infrastructures
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2019 – Standalone virtualization server without the GUI

But with Windows Server 2022 there are some changes in the different editions.

  • Windows Server 2022 Essentials edition is available to purchase from OEMs only
  • The is no Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2022 edition at all: Microsoft suggest to use Windows Server 2022 role or moving to Azure Stack HCI
  • There is a new Azure Edition

Windows Server Datacenter: Azure Edition is an edition of Windows Server focused on innovation and virtualization optimized to run on Azure. Azure Edition features a Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) and yearly product updates, with two major product updates in the first 3 years. Azure Edition also brings new functionality to Windows Server users faster than the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server.

Features available generallyWindows Server 2022 StandardWindows Server 2022 DatacenterWindows Server 2022 Datacenter: Azure Edition
Azure Extended NetworkNoNoYes
Best Practices AnalyzerYesYesYes
Direct AccessYesYesYes
Dynamic Memory (in virtualization)YesYesYes
Hot Add/Replace RAMYesYesYes
Microsoft Management ConsoleYesYesYes
Minimal Server InterfaceYesYesYes
Network Load BalancingYesYesYes
Windows PowerShellYesYesYes
Server Core installation optionYesYesYes
Server ManagerYesYesYes
SMB Direct and SMB over RDMAYesYesYes (not supported in Azure)
SMB CompressionYesYesYes
SMB over QUICNoNoYes
Software-defined NetworkingNoYesYes
Storage Migration ServiceYesYesYes
Storage ReplicaYes, (1 partnership and 1 resource group with a single 2TB volume)Yes, unlimitedYes, unlimited
Storage Replica CompressionNoNoYes
Storage SpacesYesYesYes
Storage Spaces DirectNoYesYes
Volume Activation ServicesYesYesYes, (Cannot Configure as a KMS host)
VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) integrationYesYesYes
Windows Server Update ServicesYesYesYes
Server license loggingYesYesYes
Inherited activationAs guest if hosted on DatacenterCan be a host or a guestCan be a host or a guest
Work FoldersYesYesYes

As you can notice the Windows Server 2022 Datacenter: Azure Edition, has some very nice cool features not available on the “normal” 2022 editions.

For example, Hotpatch gives you the ability to apply security updates on your VM without rebooting. 

The only way to use this new edition is Create a Windows virtual machine in the Azure portal or Deploy Windows Server Azure Edition VMs in Azure Stack HCI.

But it’s confirmed that the new Windows Server 2025 (planned before the end of this year) will have feature parity with (current build of) Windows Server 2022 Datacenter: Azure Edition.