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[Today's post comes to us courtesy of Dave Berkowitz]
We are nearing the point where Windows Server 2008 R2 is going to be unleashed on the world, providing a host of new capabilities that will help dial down costs and improve productivity.
One of the key features we’ve discussed in this blog is how Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 both offer features, primarily DirectAccess and BranchCache, for more effective and cost efficient management of remote workforces.
Most of us think of mobility as a large enterprise issue, which makes sense. After all, larger companies have the financial wherewithal to effectively plan, deploy and manage the infrastructure needed to provide employees with secure access to their email, files, company intranet or necessary applications.
But that doesn’t mean that mid-sized organizations don’t have the same or similar needs. In fact, the number of full-time employees performing their jobs remotely at least part of the time rose 39 percent from 2006 through 2008, or about 17.2 million employees, according to a recent WorldatWork study. Similarly, a majority of Microsoft Small Business Specialists said earlier this year that, despite economic conditions, they expected their SMB customers to actually increase their remote worker base this year, according to the 2009 Microsoft SMB Insight Report.
Unlike larger enterprise organizations, the challenge for small businesses is that they don’t always have the financial means, time or staffing to easily roll out a mobile solution. And the challenge for mid-sized businesses is that they don’t always have an extensive staff to quickly deploy and manage remote operations. Typically, it’s just one or two IT professionals who are over-tasked with putting out fires and running from desktop-to-desktop troubleshooting issues. Add remote access to the mix, and you’re talking a pretty incendiary situation.
Fortunately, Microsoft has a solution to address scenarios for small- and mid-sized businesses.
Drawing on Microsoft’s strength in helping customers implement technology that is familiar, easy to use and works well together, we released Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2008, which is primarily for small businesses, and Windows Essential Business Server (EBS) 2008, which primarily serves mid-sized business. Think of these solutions as central hubs to help SMB employees connect to their information, calendars, and important business applications -- whether in the office, at a customer site, or on the soccer field. The great thing about these solutions is that we did all of the tough integration work that large enterprises often hire IT specialists to handle, so remote access is enabled as soon as you set up your server.
SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 are important parts of the Windows Server family, and we are fully committed to expanding the capabilities of these solutions to meet the needs of our SMB customers. In fact, we are currently hard at work building the next versions of Windows SBS and Windows EBS. We’ll have more on that at a later date.
The important thing to know today is that customers continue to benefit from these editions, which we released in November 2008. If you’re interested, you can try SBS 2008 today for free by visiting our product site or join the SBS community on Facebook. Similarly, you can try EBS 2008 today for free by visiting that product site or join the EBS community on Facebook.
Are you implying Branch cache might be in the next version of SBS? You kinda left that topic hanging here. Can we expect a version of SBS to offer Exchange 2010 and the Server 2008r2 features?
Hi Mike. Thanks for your question. The short answer is that I wanted to let folks know there will definitely be a next version of SBS, but we are not going to be talking specific features until sometime next year. I just thought the whole remote access discussion around Windows Server 2008 R2 was pretty interesting and wanted to underscore the fact that there are remote access options today for small and mid-sized businesses with Windows environments. So my comments were less about implying or hinting and more just a stream of thought.