There are now 3 ways to get the benefits of hardware acceleration with Media SDK: Windows Client, Windows Server, and Linux Server.
The Windows Client and Linux Server releases have very similar quality, performance, and features with a few exceptions:
* Initialization: Linux requires a device handle
* There are a few codecs and filters that are in one but not the other. This is simply due to some being higher priority for client or server use cases.
Windows Server is still forming as a product. Today it is almost identical to Windows Client except for some packaging/installer and validation differences. Over time it will become more like Media SDK for Linux Servers.
The main idea behind Media SDK for Windows Servers is choice for server developers. Both are available for the same $500 fee -- the license is for both, not a separate charge for each one.