Microsoft announced pricing and details on the upgrade to their bundle aimed at small and medium-sized businesses, following their announcement of a beefier product last November. Small Business Server 2008 (SBS) will continue to support up to 75 users, while Essential Business Server (EBS) can handle up to 250. SBS has seen a steep price increase over the 2003 version, but Microsoft will now allow customers to buy client access licenses one at a time, which softens the 80% hike a little.
Microsoft's New Math on SMB Servers (Internet News)
Though understandably buggy (it is RC0), EBS has already had some good reviews, citing a friendly UI and an easy-to-use server management console that even a "novice engineer" can learn fairly quickly. When RC0 of SBS releases in 2-3 weeks, it is supposed to include a trial for OneCare for Server, a security system that can handle smaller businesses with up to 25 users. SBS will also not do client backup, but there is speculation that EBS may incorporate that feature in a future release.
Microsoft's new offerings will definitely appeal to many businesses with limited IT staff, and the pricing will certainly save money over buying the bundled products individually. I wonder how much more Microsoft can sell in this space, but for companies wanting more functionality, SBS and EBS have a lot to offer. Does either SBS or EBS make sense for your business?