Windows Server 2008 R2 will soon be fully launched, providing a host of new capabilities that will help dial down costs and improve productivity. A key design tenent, which we've discussed in this blog, is how Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 together offer several net-new features, including DirectAccess and BranchCache, for more effective and cost efficient management of enterprise remote workforces.

But what about small and medium-sized organizations? 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

Small businesses are often under budget constraints when it comes to deploying a quick and effective remote access solution; mid-sized business usually have larger budgets but very a small IT headcount with which to service such a solution. 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 and easy to use, 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 for which large enterprises often need to hire IT specialists, 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.

--Dave Berkowitz, Core Infrastructure Marketing PR Manager