Windows Small Business Server 2011 beta is available

Now that we're finally comfortable with Windows Server 2008 R2, it's time to learn about Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard and Essentials editions.

It is pretty safe to assume that in 2011 we will see the release of a new version of Windows Server. This post from ZDNet blogger Mary Jo Foley and this TechNet blog post give some insight into what is coming in Windows Server 2011.

Windows Small Business Server 2011 (codenamed Aurora) is currently available in two offerings - Standard and Essentials -- that introduce new features without entirely forcing the cloud message into the small data center. The publically available materials are rather light on feature information at this point; however, some of the new features listed in the Small Business Server 2011 Standard datasheet include:

  • Data protection offerings: Data and client protection built in for data and files for client and server automatically.
  • Built-in management: Simplifying PC management through an integrated, comprehensive tool.
  • Collaboration: Office Web Apps and SharePoint integration to simplify remote access.

The Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials datasheet does bring the cloud message closer. A clear objective of this platform is integrating between on-premise and online services, as well as some of the similar features of the Standard edition.

Will you download the beta? Share your thoughts about Windows Server 2011 in the discussion.


Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.


I am extremely interested in the "Integrated comprehensive tool for PC management". Group Policy is hugely powerful, and essential for a smoothly running yet secure workplace. For small businesses with zero IT staff, it is impossible to manage on-site. If on-site admin staff could update and maintain group policy, that would be a huge advantage and worth the cost of upgrading to the 2011 version. Collaboration capabilities are important, but on their own not enough to justify an upgrade or sell against competition (what competition?) Data security is an add-on part of my installations anyway, so it's uninteresting for the installed base. If it's good enough to reduce the amount of add-on software or hardware in the rack, that would make new installations more cost-effective and competitive. So we'll see in the beta whether it's good enough. Past history is that new function is usually nice, but not good enough to replace 3rd-party add-ons.

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