by Ron Grattopp…..Some of my TS2 cohorts and I have been presenting sessions on SMB Servers (up to now known by their codenames, SBS 7 and Aurora) for a series of OEM-focused, Intel-hosted events around the country.  Of course, the two questions we always get are: 1) “when will it be available in market?” and 2) “how much will it be?”.   Up to now we’ve not had definitive answers for those, but yesterday the SBS team released some more definitive information shedding  light on these 2 questions, so thought I’d highlight this in a blog post. 

In a post on Nov 2nd on the Official SBS Blog (link below) Microsoft has released the names for the SBS 7 and codename Aurora servers – SBS 7 will be Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard and Aurora will be Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials

Announcing Windows Small Business Server 2011 on the Official SBS Blog

In addition to the new names, the Official SBS Blog also revealed the ERP (Estimated Retail Pricing) of the new offerings as well as pricing for the Premium Add-on – I’ll let you get that specific info from the official blog.  It also revealed that SBS 2011 Standard should be available in December 2010 and that the Essentials will be available in the H1-CY2011 time frame.  There are also links on the official blog page for datasheets on both servers, as well as a brochure with info on the SMB server family, AND a link to where you can download the previews if you’d like to get started evaluating one or both of them right away. 

I’d like to point out that one of the key new features in the SBS 2011 Standard Edition is the update to SharePoint 2010 Foundation which brings Office Web Apps (OWA) into the picture.  Of course, Essentials customers will likely leverage the BPOS/Office 365 applications which also include SharePoint, so they’ll have access to OWA as well.  This will be a key opportunity for our partners to bring collaboration to new customers, who have yet to experience the business impact that a collaboration solution can have, as well as extend and enhance the SharePoint platform for existing SBS/Server customers.

I also ran across this blog on ZDNet UK that I thought was worth sharing as well (also linked below).

Microsoft puts name and date to Aurora and SBS 7 (ZDNet UK)

Here’s an excerpt from the ZDNet UK article that reveals a couple of other key points around Essentials…“Microsoft intends SBS 2011 Essentials to work in conjunction with cloud services, including its recently announced Office 365 web-based applications, and the company plans to bundle in simple connectors for this. It brings Home Server-like managed storage and backup together with an easy-to-manage version of Active Directory, as well as directory federation tools to link in-house identities to the cloud.”  So, to make sure you understand the significance of this, let me point out that with Essentials and Office 365 you’ll have single-sign on to the on-premise stuff as well as the cloud.

The ZDNet post also included information they got from Michael Leworthy, a Sr Product Manager on the SBS team, around  how Microsoft will be exploring new server hardware form factors, including headless systems, for the Essentials server market.

IMHO, the addition of the SBS Essentials fork in the SBS product line should open up a whole new SMB market that includes many of your customers who didn’t go with previous editions of SBS because they really didn’t want to invest in the messaging function on-premise.  Now, Essentials and Office 365 should make bringing business-ready, enterprise-class messaging to very small businesses a more realistic option, and it will also help partners be able to manage that more efficiently for their customers.

Of course, SBS 2011 Standard will be the “upgrade” path from any existing SBS implementation (SBS 2003 SP1 or later) and the updated applications such as Exchange 2010 SP1 and SharePoint 2010 Foundation, as I mentioned above, bring some great new capabilities to your existing customers.  Hopefully you’ll want to find out more, and start evaluating SBS, if you haven’t already, after all December is right around the corner!

Cheers,

Ron