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Windows Small Business Server 2011 Hits Metal

Microsoft today announced that the Standard version of Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2011 has been rolled out to hardware manufacturers.

The 64-bit software, formerly known by its code name, Windows SBS "7," was initially made available as a "public preview" back in July. Now the code is being imaged by Microsoft's server hardware partners, which will include Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, HP and others, according to a Microsoft blog post. When released, Windows SBS 2011 Standard will offer management, backup and restore capabilities, network and client security, plus remote access to e-mail, calendar and contacts data for organizations with up to 75 users.

Microsoft also announced on Monday that the Windows SBS 2011 Premium Add-on software was released to manufacturers (RTM). The Premium Add-on is a supplement available for both Windows SBS 2011 Standard and Windows SBS 2011 Essentials (formerly code-named "Aurora"). It adds "support for SQL Server based LOB [line of business] applications and access to Window Server 2008 R2 technologies," according to a Microsoft description, as well as remote desktop services and virtualization through Hyper-V.

Microsoft's RTM announcement did not specify when these two server products will be available on hardware. However, Microsoft earlier suggested that Windows SBS 2011 Standard would be available in February 2011 through system builders and original equipment manufacturers.

The retail price for SBS 2011 Standard product is expected to be $1,096 plus client access licensing costs of about $72. The retail price for the Premium Add-on product is expect to be $1,604 plus client access licensing costs of about $92.

Volume licensing for SBS 2011 Standard and Premium Add-on will be available in "early January," according to Microsoft's announcement. Those looking to test the new server software will be able to download a trial copy, sometime in mid-January, at Microsoft's Windows SBS page here.

No new details about Windows SBS 2011 Essentials (Aurora) were announced, but product availability is expected in the first half of 2011 at a retail price of about $545. Essentials will support up to 25 users, with no client access license costs for user access.

Windows SBS used to be part of a two-part offering with Windows Essential Business Server (EBS). However, in April, Microsoft killed off EBS, which was designed to support midsize organizations of 75 to 300 users. On June 30, Microsoft ended the availability and development of the EBS product.

However, even though EBS is now gone, Microsoft is offering a transition kit to EBS customers and partners that will help them move from the EBS product suite to the standalone server products. This kit, called the "EBS Migration Kit," is available free of charge until Dec. 31, 2010. After that time, Microsoft plans to not offer the kit, according to a blog announcement.

About the Author

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

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