Top features in Windows Small Business Server 2011

Windows Small Business Server 2010 is a cost-effective combination of Microsoft's best server technologies, bundled up in a single package that features consolidated management and a price tag most new networks can afford. Built with Windows Server 2008 R2, Exchange 2010, and SharePoint Foundation 2010, SBS 2011 provides all of the features users expect in an enterprise network, but without the enterprise cost.

SBS 2011 is even better than the sum of the parts. Microsoft has done an impressive job of integrating the various core services into a single package, and thanks to the integrated console, the bundle is a snap to manage. The new services are all the latest and greatest releases, but by far one of the most important upgrades is the ability to use any browser, and not just Internet Explorer, to access Outlook Web App and the Remote Web Access portal. All in all, SBS 2011 is a terrific package for any small network wanting enterprise-grade tools.

[ Also on InfoWorld: "InfoWorld review: Windows Small Business Server 2011 shines" and "Two flavors of Small Business Server 2011: Which to choose" | Get all the details you need on deploying and using Windows 7 in the InfoWorld editors' 21-page Windows 7 Deep Dive PDF special report. | Stay abreast of key Microsoft technologies in our Technology: Microsoft newsletter. ]

Here is a quick list of the best new and updated features in SBS 2011. For the full scoop on SBS 2011, see "InfoWorld review: Windows Small Business Server 2011 shines."

Windows Server 2008 R2SBS 2011 is based on Microsoft's latest server code, and it provides an exceptionally stable server platform for the rest of the Small Business applications. With the exception of Hyper-V, all of the roles and features you've come to rely on in Windows Server 2008 R2 are there. (Hyper-V is part of the SBS Premium Add-on kit.)

Exchange 2010 SP1SBS 2011 provides the latest release of Microsoft's flagship email and calendar server. Exchange 2010 with SP1 has a number of new features and enhancements, most of which are geared toward the larger enterprise. But even smaller organizations can take advantage of larger-capacity message stores and automatic email archiving.

SharePoint Foundation 2010This super little service is a great way for users to share information and create collections of like items quickly and easily. The best part is you don't have to be a website designer or edit HTML. SharePoint Foundation lets users create minisites on the fly as the need arises.

All-in-one admin consoleSBS 2011's console is a one-stop shop for IT to perform day-to-day maintenance on the domain, including user maintenance, server backup, and security status. For instance, the server console makes it is easy to add and manage file shares in SBS 2011. Through the console, you can easily create a new file share, set user permissions, enforce a quota, and even specify the type of files that may be stored there.

Windows Server Update Services  WSUS is one of the features of SBS 2011 that really helps out admins of smaller networks. Through the SBS server console, admins can easily push out updates to all of their connected PCs from a central location. Instead of each PC being responsible for its updates, they are downloaded once to the SBS server, then distributed to the PCs. WSUS is a great timesaver -- and bandwidth saver -- for the small network.

Outlook Web AppAnother feature of SBS 2011 that makes a small office network feel like a corporate LAN is Outlook Web App (formerly known as Outlook Web Access). This browser-based email portal is significantly improved over previous versions. Outlook Web App is much more Outlook-like than ever before. Users can perform searches of their mailbox and create mail rules and auto replies. Also, Outlook Web App now works correctly with all popular browsers -- including Firefox and Chrome, above -- and not just Internet Explorer.

Remote Web AccessThe feature that may be nearest and dearest to remote and mobile workers is Remote Web Access (formerly Remote Web Workplace). This Web-based portal provides everywhere access to SBS resources, including email, the default SharePoint website, shared folders, and even end-user desktops via Remote Desktop Connection. This portal is customizable and completely redesigned from SBS 2003 and SBS 2008. Like Outlook Web App, it too is compatible with all popular browsers.

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