A small but clever “better-together” story can be
found in the My Server 2012 R2 app for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 and 8.1.
Features that light up only when you have an all-Microsoft stack incent you to
depend even more on Microsoft solutions. Specifically, there are a number of
better-together features with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 R2, such as Work Folders and Workplace Join.

One recently released app for Windows mobile devices is
quite appealing for networks that employ Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials. The My Server 2012 R2 app allows for easy shared
file access and the ability to perform simple network administration tasks
across mobile devices. For the Windows 8 client, there is a seamless Remote
Desktop experience.

What you need

The modest set of features in My Server 2012 R2 may not
appeal to everyone, but there may be a just-right fit for the lean, modern
styling of the app and its consistent look and feel across mobile devices.
However, not every Windows admin can fire up the app and expect to connect to
anything. You need a preexisting Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials server
installation that is properly published to the Internet for Remote Access, to
start with.

Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 has two markets: the small
organization of fewer than 25 users and 50 devices and an organization of any
size that deploys the Essentials role on an otherwise-licensed edition of Windows
Server 2012 R2. The smaller org would always have a single Essentials 2012 R2
computer to connect to. When the Essentials role is deployed on Windows Server
2012 R2 in a larger domain environment, multiple instances of Essentials can
exist, each servicing about 300 users.

When you activate the Remote Access features of Essentials
Server 2012 R2, you enable things like SSL Client VPN and the Remote Web Access
site. That same HTTPS URL, such as https://remote.mycompany.com,
is used to access the remote features and is all My Server 2012 R2 needs to
connect to your Essentials server. Both the Windows Phone and the Windows 8 My
Server 2012 R2 apps just ask for that URL and a one-time entry of network
credentials — and then you have live tile access to My Server 2012 R2

My Server 2012 R2 for Windows 8

My Server 2012 R2 for Windows 8 is designed to help you keep
connected to network resources through devices running Windows 8. You can
manage users, devices, and alerts and access shared files in Windows Server
2012 R2 Essentials. Files you have recently accessed with My Server continue to
be available even when you’re offline. Figure
shows the My Server dashboard view on a Windows 8.1 device.



Figure A: My Server
2012 R2 for Windows 8 and 8.1

From left to right, you have convenient live tile access to server
configuration and performance data, such as Status, Shared Folders, Users, and
Devices. Features in the Shared Folders function include:

  • Browse, edit, and search files stored on your
  • Share local resources to the server or save
    server resources locally
  • Access files you opened recently even without an
    Internet connection; the changes made offline will be automatically
    synchronized to the server when online.

Figure B shows
how Windows 8 presents the Remote Desktop of a device in a split screen view
with the device’s status page. Notice you can also launch a backup of the
selected computer.



Figure B: From a
device page, you have one-click access to a Remote Desktop on the same screen.

My Server 2012 R2 for Windows Phone

There is less functionality in the Windows Phone client
compared to the Windows 8 app — particularly no Remote Desktop access. My
Server 2012 R2 for Windows Phone is designed to help keep you connected to your
server resources through Windows smartphones. With My Server 2012 R2 for
Windows Phone, you can manage users, devices, and alerts and access shared
files in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials.

Figure C shows
the My Server 2012 R2 for Windows Phone Devices page on the left and the Alerts
page on the right. From the Devices page, you can check some basic computer
health information and remotely launch an on-demand backup of a computer. From
the Alerts page, you can click through for details on the alert and in some
cases, push a Repair button to automatically fix some server problems, such as
starting a stopped service.



Figure C: The
Devices and Alerts pages from My Server 2012 R2 for Windows Phone 8

Download the My Server 2012 R2 app

These links will help you learn more and download My Server
2012 R2: