Microsoft Details Small Business Server 2008

Published by: InformationWeek

The products aim to help the 31.9 million small businesses and 1.2 million midsize companies worldwide that often have small or nonexistent IT staff.

Later this year, Microsoft will release a server suite designed specifically for small businesses that's based on Windows Server 2008, the company said Wednesday. The software, Windows Small Business Server 2008, is part of a new line of server products called Windows Essential Server Solutions.

Small Business Server 2008, formerly code-named Cougar, will be one of the first two offerings in a line of server suites customized for smaller and medium-sized businesses. The other product will be Windows Server Essentials 2008, a small-business suite first detailed last November.

The point of the new line of products is to offer customized, easily managed server offerings for the 31.9 million small businesses and 1.2 million midsize companies worldwide that often have small or nonexistent IT staff. "Windows Essential Server Solutions make the benefits of enterprise-class IT accessible, affordable, and simpler for smaller organizations," Microsoft VP Bob Kelly said in a statement.

Small Business Server 2008 will come in two variations, Standard and Premium. The Standard version includes Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Exchange Server 2007, Forefront Security for Exchange, antivirus service via Windows Live OneCare for Server, and integration with Microsoft's Office Live Small Business services.

The upgraded version will get a second server running SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition on Windows Server 2008. Customers who don't want to buy a second physical server will be able to run the second server as a virtual machine.

Small Business Server 2008 follows up on Small Business Server 2003 R2. However, it adds better security and data protection with antivirus services for the server and e-mail, as well as better server backup capabilities. Integration with Office Live Small Business and the addition of SharePoint support means new collaboration and marketing capabilities.

Another big push for Microsoft in Small Business Server 2008 is for quicker setup and easier management. The setup process has gone from 16 steps with the 2003 version to four with this version. New features in Windows Server 2008, including Server Manager, also make for easier, one-stop administration.

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