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Microsoft Releases SBS 2011 and WHS 2011 for Testing

Microsoft on Tuesday released its 64-bit Windows Home Server 2011 (WHS 2011) to its professional services subscribers, and it also released Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials (SBS 2011 Essentials) for general evaluation.

WHS 2011 can be downloaded today by Microsoft's TechNet and MSDN subscribers. The publicly available free-to-try evaluation copies of WHS 2011 will arrive later this month, according to this Microsoft announcement.

Microsoft also announced today that the free evaluation copy of SBS 2011 Essentials is publicly available, which can be downloaded here. This evaluation copy is good for 180 days and can be upgraded to the licensed version if desired. Microsoft's TechNet and MSDN subscribers can also download this software today.

Microsoft's volume licensing customers will be able to get SBS 2011 Essentials starting on May 1. Microsoft's hardware partners are expected to introduce server products based on SBS 2011 Essentials in that same month, according to a Microsoft blog.

In March, Microsoft released its Windows Server SDK Installer, a tool for installing software development kits that work with WHS 2011, SBS 2011 Essentials, Windows Multipoint Server 2011 and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2. The SDK installer can be accessed from the Microsoft Download Center here. Microsoft provides help on using the SDKs at this library page, which describes how to create various add-in extensions for the servers.

Microsoft previously released Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard -- a third product that's part of its "Colorado" line of servers for small businesses -- back in December. It was released to Microsoft's OEM hardware partners, as well as subscribers to TechNet and MSDN. A free evaluation copy of SBS 2011 Standard can be accessed here.

Also in December, Microsoft released an upgrade option to SBS 2011 Standard and SBS 2011 Essentials called "SBS 2011 Premium Add-on." This Microsoft-supplied add-on enables capabilities such as SQL Server line-of-business application support, access to Window Server 2008 R2 technologies, plus Remote Desktop Services access and virtualization through Hyper-V.

SBS Standard 2011 is designed for up to 75 users, whereas SBS 2011 Essentials supports up to 25 users. No Client Access Licenses are required to use SBS 2011 Essentials, according to this Microsoft product comparison page. WHS 2011 supports up to 10 PCs and can be used by both home users and small businesses.

About the Author

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

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