Microsoft to release new 'Essential' servers Nov. 12

Its new Windows server OS is aimed at midsize firms

Microsoft Corp. plans to release a new Windows server operating system aimed at midsize businesses, as well as the next version of its small-business server software, worldwide on Nov. 12, the company said today.

Both Windows Essential Business Server (EBS) 2008 and Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2008 will be available that day, the company revealed at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston. Hardware providers Dell Inc. and Germany's Wortmann AG will be among the first companies to offer hardware for both operating systems when they are available, Microsoft said.

Microsoft expects to post new release candidates for both products on its Web site next week. Customers also can get information about the products on the site.

SBS 2008, code-named Cougar, and EBS 2008, code-named Centro, are part of Microsoft's new Windows Essential Server Solutions line. The products in the Essential line combine Microsoft's Windows Server operating system with other software products the company believes are necessary for running a business. Microsoft's goal with these products is to provide what it describes as an all-in-one, easy-to-install software stack for businesses that may have only a small IT support staff.

SBS 2008 is an integrated offering of Windows Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007 Standard Edition and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. It also includes Microsoft's Office Live Small Business service and 120-day trial subscriptions to Forefront Security for Exchange and Windows Live OneCare for Server. The premium edition of the software includes an additional license for Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008.

EBS includes three copies of Windows Server 2008 running on three hardware servers. The first server is a domain controller and management server that includes Microsoft's system management software. The second server in the EBS stack is for e-mail; it runs Exchange Server 2007 Standard Edition. The third server is a security server running Forefront Security for Exchange Server and Forefront Threat Management Gateway. A premium edition of EBS will include a fourth version of Windows Server 2008 on a fourth piece of hardware running SQL Server 2008.

Microsoft set pricing for both products in May, revealing that the price for SBS 2008 would be going up from the previous version. At the time, the company pegged the price increase to the added technology and services offered.

In May, Microsoft also said that SBS 2008 would be released only for 64-bit servers, although earlier versions of SBS were available for 32-bit hardware as well. The move to 64-bit was not a big surprise, however, since the company has said it plans to offer most of its business software in 64-bit versions only, to encourage customers to move Windows Server off of 32-bit hardware.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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