By Jacqueline Emigh
Microsoft has announced plans to release downloadable public previews of two upcoming server products for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs): version 7 of Small Business Server (SBS) Standard, plus a new cloud-enabled edition of SBS codenamed Aurora.
Aurora, on the other hand, will deliver both "traditional and cloud capabilities," according to a blog post on Microsoft's TechNet site. "We are going to create a lot of industry buzz with these offerings," an anonymous Microsoft blogger predicted.
While SBS will support up to 75 PCs, Aurora is targeted at smaller businesses using only five to 25 PCs.
The 64-bit SBS 7 server package is expected to bundle SharePoint 2010 Foundation, Exchange 2010, and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) 3.0, for example.
The new release of SBS Standard will offer "significant security and management enhancements as well as much richer features for providing file-and-print, e-mail and Internet services to employees," according to the blog.
For its part, Aurora will deliver "important server functionalities like backup of client and server, file and print sharing, [and running] critical applications on-site while at the same time taking advantage of the emerging number of online applications and services on a pay-as-you-go basis."
Services that might be managed through the cloud include messaging, collaboration, and security, for instance.
In March. Microsoft discontinued Essential Business Server (EBS), a non-cloud-enabled server for mid-sized businesses.
Announced at Microsoft's recent WorldWide Partner Conference, the downloadable previews of SBS 7 and Aurora are due for availability by the end of August. However, SMB customers can sign up in advance now to try out the new software.
Also at its WorldWide Partner Conference, Microsoft rolled out plans to release a Windows Server Solution Software Development Kit (SDK) aimed at letting developers build add-ins and integrate new and existing online services with the forthcoming Aurora.
HP is now offering a sneak peek at Aurora on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CoffeeCoaching. In addition, partners such as Symantec, Level Platforms and Disk Keeper have already stated intentions to integrate their products with Aurora, according to the Microsoft blog.
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