Today we are happy to share the news that three months after its release to manufacturing and twelve months after its initial announcement at WPC 2010, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials is now available through all channels. Our customers will able to purchase a copy of the server through Volume Licensing, Retail, and from most of our OEM partners, with more offers and OEM products becoming available in the next few months.

David Troeger, Product Marketing Manager of Dell’s Enterprise Product Group says “In Microsoft’s 2011 Essentials, small businesses will find a great combination of value and functionality which perfectly complements Dell’s ability to provide a complete solution of hardware, software and services to our customers.  With a single point of management for Cloud applications, SBS 2011 Essentials provides big IT power with minimal IT resources.

Thousands of customers around the world have already started to discover the benefits of SBS 2011 Essentials. Ed Nemeth, Business Manager of Hyperbaric Oxygen Clinic of Sacramento says “We almost don’t notice that it’s there. Windows Small Business Server Essentials is doing its job and enabling us to do ours. We haven’t had any problems; the server just works.” 

Ed’s words well summarize the value that we want to provide to those millions of small businesses that still do not have a server. A machine that simplifies their life, makes their network more secure, their data safer, and can cost as little as a good desktop computer: a server truly for everyone. Maciek Szczesniak, Director of SMB Business Development for Industry Standard Servers at Hewlett Packard, agrees. “With SBS Essentials 2011” he says “Hewlett Packard and Microsoft are providing small businesses with simple solutions that enable them to level the playing field and operate their company with similar technology as larger organizations without the added complexity and cost of managing an intricate IT infrastructure.”

We want to help more businesses feel like Brian Woltz, Owner and Physiotherapist of Parkway Physiotherapy.  In his words “now, all our PCs are password-protected, all documents are encrypted, and all files are automatically backed up nightly. Our business is much better protected than it was before”. For this reason we designed a server OS that, in the words of Ron Demedash Systems Analyst of Catoptric Resources, “is so easy to use that business people can take care of it themselves.” 

Together with our partners and the rest of Microsoft, we are continuing to deliver more products and functionality to SBS 2011 Essentials. Many ISV’s are supporting this new product and making sure that their Windows Server applications work well with it. For instance Derek De Vette of Diskeeper Corporation, the company that won Redmond Magazine: 5 Star Award says “For an out-of-the-gate small business solution, Microsoft nailed it with SBS Essentials 2011. It seamlessly integrates into online services like e-mail and line of business apps—but doesn’t skimp at all on the enterprise-class technologies needed for data backup and restore, remote access, file and printer sharing or quick connection to the cloud.”

People will love Essentials’ ability to interact with applications in the cloud. Last week we disclosed how Essentials works together with Office 365, but there are many more partners that are working to integrate their cloud offerings with SBS Essentials. Partners like Trend Micro’s Global Product Marketing Manager Greg Boyle, who says “we are excited to be one of the first SaaS providers to enable seamless integration between Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and a hosted service. With Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security Services SBS 2011 Essentials users can protect all their Windows based desktops, laptops and servers. The integration with the SBS dashboard allows users to maintain central control of security settings and reporting from the server but offload the security server maintenance to the cloud. This gives them more time to focus on productive & profitable tasks and frees up the server so it can perform at its peak.

Many more solutions for cloud back up, hosted email integration, online productivity are already on the market or will be available soon.

Next week we will continue celebrating SBS Essentials general availability with our partners at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference. If you are there, please visit our or our partners’ booths to see the product first hand, and, if you are not at WPC, keep on following us on this blog and on our Facebook and twitter pages to receive SBS Essentials news firsthand.

Finally, we would like to thank all the people involved into every phase of this project and in particular the partners, customers without whose collaboration all this would not have been possible and remind you that this is just the beginning of a long, successful journey. Stay with us for it.