Microsoft Rolls Out New Small Business Server Options

By Lauren Simonds | Posted November 13, 2008

Microsoft has announced new server software that it said provides small and medium businesses with enterprise-quality capabilities while helping them to save money, increase productivity and grow their businesses.

While designed specifically for small and midsized companies, Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) and Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (EBS 2008) include Microsoft's high-end server technologies delivered in a way that smaller companies can make the most of them.

“Around the world, small and midsize businesses are the engine that drives economic growth and opportunity,” Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, said in a company statement. “To help these businesses succeed, Microsoft has focused on creating integrated, affordable server solutions that are optimized to meet the needs of companies with limited IT resources. Small Business Server and Essential Business Server deliver a comprehensive set of capabilities that will help small and midsize business thrive and grow.”

Designed for small companies with up to 75 people/computers, SBS 2008 server software integrates a variety of Windows functions to help small businesses better secure data and increase employee productivity regardless of location.

Based on Windows Server 2008 Standard technology, SBS 2008 incorporates

  • Exchange Server 2007 Standard Edition for messaging and collaboration
  • SharePoint Services 3.0 for online collaboration workspace and productivity tools
  • Forefront Security for Exchange Server to handle e-mail security
  • Windows Server Update Services 3.0 for network updates and protection
  • Windows Live OneCare for Server to manage viruses, hackers and other digital threats
  • Microsoft Office Live Small Business to help take your business online
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Standard for Small Business, a database available in the Premium edition

The server software offers a range of features including anytime/anywhere access to your PC and its data, including e-mail, files, business applications, and more. It's also designed to let your employees share Internet access, printers, fax machines and other network resources. Click here for SBS 2008 pricing information.

Microsoft designed EBS 2008 for midsized companies with up to 300 people or computers. It's meant to simplify and automate common IT tasks, and a unified administration console gives IT managers more control over an integrated network infrastructure.

Windows Essential Business Server 2008 also incorporates the applications found in SBS 2008, and Microsoft said it provides the following features:

  • Significant costs savings compared to buying stand-alone products.
  • Remote access, anti-spam, antivirus protection and improved messaging technologies improve productivity both in and away from the office
  • An integrated setup saves time and reduces installation steps from days to hours Simplified licensing with a single server license and Client Access for all included products.

Steven VanRoekel, senior director of the Windows Server product group, noted that both server products help small and mid-sized companies compete in tough economic times.

"Small companies have the same needs and face the same challenges as big business, but they lack the staff, resources and time to manage IT environments," VanRoekel said. "The new EBS 2008 and SBS 2008 products are an integrated, affordable, enterprise-quality solution that can help small and midsized companies become more productive, cut costs and be more competitive." Click here for EBS 2008 pricing information

Microsoft's partners play a significant role in the new server options both how the products were developed and in how they'll be consumed. Worldwide, Microsoft partners number 400,000 strong, of which 20,000 are trained small-business specialists.

"Because of the vast experience partners bring to the table, we have been working with them very closely, especially our Small Business Specialists, even before we began developing these solutions, to better understand customers’ needs," VanRoekel said in a written statement. "Now that these products are on the market, partners have another great set of products to help solve the challenges their SMB customers face today."

The company said that Dell, HP and IBM will offer hardware configurations that have been optimized for running SBS 2008. HP, IBM and Intel will offer blade servers designed and priced for midsized companies. The more common rack-and-tower server configurations will also be available in a range of sizes from companies such as IBM, Dell, HP and Sun Microsystems.

On the software side, Microsoft's ISVs (independent software vendors) will support both SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 with a variety of applications ranging from backup and recovery, security, business management, systems management and more.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of

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