Jul 12

Microsoft announces next versions of Small Business Server.

Microsoft announced today at their Worldwide Partner Conference that they would be releasing the next version of Small Business Server  for testing to the public by the end of summer.

Two versions will be released for preview – Small Business Server 7 Preview and Small Business Server Code Name “Aurora” Preview.

The first one, SBS 7, will be an update to their existing SBS 2008  Product. This version will include updates to the major components in the Small Business Server Suite (Server 2008 R2, Exchange Server 2010, SQL Server 2008 R2, etc…). The second one, code name “Aurora,” will be introduced as an entry level solution for small businesses with 25 or less users (The standard version of Small Business Server 2008 and 7 supports up to 75 users/devices).

I was wondering for quite some time now if Microsoft was going to update the current version of Small Business Server 2008 to include Windows Server 2008 R2, and this announcement answers my question. I like the changes introduced in Windows Server 2008 R2, and I welcome them to the SBS world. What does this mean for the existing users of SBS 2008 though? I’ve migrated a lot of my customers to SBS 2008, and they love it. Will there be an easy upgrade path to SBS 7? Will it make sense to upgrade, or will we just be better off waiting for the next upgrade cycle? Because if it’s not broken, why fix it, right? I am pretty sure all these questions will be answered with time. In the mean time I’ve registered to be a beta tester, and you can be sure that I will be playing with this release as soon as it is out.

Small Business Server Code Name “Aurora” is an interesting concept. A “lightweight” version of Small Business Server targeting the entry level market – businesses not ready to make the jump (financially) to the standard version of SBS. From experience, I can say that most of the customers that haven’t made the jump to the SBS bandwagon haven’t done it for financial reasons. Most times we can find ways to finance the investment, and the problem is solved. I don’t know how effective it would be to have an entry level version to target this market segment, and I can’t tell for sure until I play with it, know the features, and know the pricing structure.

You can find out more about these two new versions by going here. Also, if you are interested in trying the beta versions when they are released, go to the Small Business Server site and register.  I’m already registered and can’t wait to try them out.