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Small Business Server 2008 Hits Metal

Microsoft released Windows Small Business Server 2008 to hardware manufacturers, with an eye toward achieving a full product launch in November.

Microsoft on Thursday released Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) to hardware manufacturers, with an eye toward achieving a full product launch on November 12. The release was slightly ahead of the September RTM date predicted at the July Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston.

The new server offering is part of the Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008 product line. It's an integrated server offering that encompasses a number of Microsoft technologies, including Windows Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007 and SharePoint Services 3.0. It also includes security and online apps.

SBS 2008 will be sold in two editions, Standard and Premium. The Premium Edition adds a second Windows Server 2008 to the mix, plus a copy of SQL Server 2008.

Microsoft produced the Premium Edition to meet the line-of-business demands of customers and partners, explained Joel Sider, senior product manager of Microsoft's Windows Essential Server Solutions, in a July interview.

SBS 2008 is designed for businesses with up to 75 users and perhaps little to no internal IT support. Microsoft's large community of partners will play a big role in providing support for the product.

SBS 2008, formerly code-named "Cougar," is essentially new technology. It was "rebuilt from the ground up," according to Microsoft's official blog. Microsoft's earlier product, SBS 2003 R2, is about six years old and based on 32-bit technology.

When released in the fall, SBS 2008 will be available only as 64-bit technology. Microsoft is claiming a number of improvements in the product, including easier setup and administration, faster backups, improved remote access, and more flexible licensing. Each edition of SBS will include five Client Access Licenses (CALs). Customers can buy additional CALs, as needed, when they add users or device connections to SBS 2008.

Hardware makers currently planning on integrating Microsoft SBS 2008 into their product lines include Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens, HP and IBM, among others.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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