As part of its Essential Server Solutions Server products, Microsoft will offer Windows Small Business Server 2008 for small businesses and the Windows Essential Business Server 2008 for midsize organizations.
The products integrate the technologies of Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. Bob Kelly, corporate vice president at Microsoft, explained the company's target audience for the new products: "There are 31.9 million small businesses and 1.2 million midsize companies worldwide in need of powerful IT solutions, and they typically have very small IT staffs, or none at all."
Windows Small Business server 2008, code-named Cougar, comes bundled with one-year trial subscriptions to Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server Small Business Edition and Windows Live OneCare for Server. SBS can be integrated with Microsoft Office Live Small Business for enabling Web-based and mobile accessing and collaboration facilities. The product is targeted at enterprises with about 50 PCs.
The Windows Essential Business Server 2008, code-named Centro, is aimed at companies with 25 to 250 PCs. An extra feature on this is integration with third-party products, such as security offerings from Symantec and TrendMicro.
Both offerings come with single console management options (including remote access) and derives from the Windows Server 2008 code base. The products will be available in the premium and standard packages.
The announcements are in tune with Microsoft's strategy of spreading the word, akin to seeding a farm for harvest. The task for enterprises is to evaluate how the products can provide solutions to common hurdles for SMBs. Chief among them are concerns about compatibility with earlier products and the security features.