Microsoft today announced that Windows Server 2012 Essentials has been released to manufacturing. Windows Server 2012 Essentials is the replacement to Window Small Business Server, in case you have forgotten.

If you want to snag a copy to play with, head here.

While it hit RTM status today, the code won’t be available in all channels on a general basis until November 1st. OEM partners are expected to ship servers running the software by the end of calendar 2012.

According to the Microsoft blog post, Windows Server 2012 Essentials saw 23,000 downloads in 8 weeks of public testing. That amounts to a mere 410 downloads a day or so, a figure that is exceptionally mild when stacked against the Windows 8 preview numbers. Just how small business is the Essentials product? It has a 25 user cap and will run a purchaser under $500. If you need more capacity, Microsoft has three other versions of Windows Server 2012 for you to choose from, naturally.

Now, as a short note, expect a continuous stream of Microsoft news in the coming few weeks. With Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Xbox Music, the Surface, and more, all making noise at the same time, it’s going to become more than a touch chaotic through the end of October. Don’t get burned out, we have a long way to go yet.

Top Image Credit: Robert Scoble