Windows Small Business Server 7 Beta Released

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Microsoft’s latest release of their Small Business Server, SBS 7, is now available for public beta testing. This latest SBS is designed for low-end servers and complements Microsoft’s two other low-end offerings: Windows Home Server (codenamed “Vail”) and their hybrid cloud/on-premise small business server (codenamed “Aurora”). At the time of this writing Miscrosoft has not announced a firm release date for Small Business Server, SBS 7 Aurora.

SBS 7 sits on top of Windows Server 2008 R2 and includes Server 2010 Service Pack 1, SharePoint Foundation 2010 and Windows Software Update Services. It is also offering access to Office Web Apps, the online version of the company’s popular office suite, a feature they hope will be a strong selling point for the server suite.

Windows Small Business Server (formerly Microsoft Small Business Server) is designed for businesses with 75 workstations or less, and provides infrastructure for both intranet networks and Internet access. Among its unique features is Remote Web Workspace, an off-site remote management interface. Its integration with Exchange, SharePoint, and other Windows applications make it a useful all-in-one solution for small businesses without previous infrastructure in place.

Aurora became available for beta testing in August. It is designed for environments with fewer than 25 users and will offer a small on-premise server core, as well as access to cloud services, such as Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).

Interested customers can visit the Windows Small Business Server website to join the beta testing for SBS 7. The release date has not been officially announced, but it is expected no earlier than 2011. Microsoft will provide migration tools for customers to make the transition from previous versions of Small Business Server easier.

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