This is not meant to be a posting to describe the details of the new SQL Server Always On High Availability (HA) capabilities. You can go here for a nice overview from Andrew Fryar’s blog.
What I want to make sure that you understand is that Microsoft has created a name for all of the SQL Server HA capabilities called “Always On”. I guess you can think of this as a marketing chore, or a more simple way to think about or name Log Shipping, Clustering, Mirroring and Availability Groups.
Notice that last item in my list above: Availability Groups. That is the real NEW capability in SQL Server that uses Database Mirroring features to allow multiple readable secondary replicas and groupings of databases for failover, backup and reporting.
Now, note that on the new SQL Server 2012 Books On Line page on MSDN for licensing Availability Groups, it is an Enterprise Edition only feature, while “Always On” includes Clustering, Mirroring & Log Shipping, all of which still partially support Standard Edition of SQL Server, click here.