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Microsoft announces Small Business Server 7!

We’ve had some people take vacations at Vision One recently, so the rest of us have been spread pretty thin, and I completely missed the fact that Microsoft revealed some of the details on the much-anticipated successor to Small Business Server 2008.  This announcement was made at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference early this past Monday, July 12th, 2010.  According to The Official SBS Blog, there will be public preview releases for the next version of SBS within the next month or two.  And yes, you read that right; there will be TWO releases:

  • Windows Small Business Server “7”:  This next version of SBS will include a richer remote access experience, replaces Windows Server 2008 with Windows Server 2008 R2, replaces Exchange Server 2007 with Exchange Server 2010, and will also replace Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 with SharePoint 2010 Foundation.  SBS 7 will still have the 75 user limit.
  • Windows Small Business Server Code Name “Aurora”: This is a whole new type of SBS.  Aurora, as it is being called right now, will offer a mix of traditional and cloud capabilities.  Some of the features it boasts is automated backup and restore capabilities, organizing/accessing business information from almost anywhere, and will be limited to 25 users.

If you are familiar with the SBS platform, then there isn’t much I can tell you about SBS 7 that you didn’t already get from the above, so I won’t go into that.  Instead, I will elaborate on Aurora a little.  Aurora is meant only for new customers since it cannot be joined to an existing Active Directory domain, and must be the first server in a new domain.  Based on some of the screenshots and management features, a lot of the code base is likely shared with Microsoft Home Server “Vail”, which only makes sense as this is meant for customers with 5-25 PCs.  One big difference between SBS 7 and SBS Aurora is the lack of e-mail and collaboration on the box.  Instead, Aurora customers will leverage Microsoft’s hosted services for Exchange and SharePoint.  My feelings are torn on this idea until I see pricing, since SBS Aurora will mean a monthly fee for the hosted components, whereas SBS 7 has no monthly costs.  One nice perk with Aurora is that in addition to Windows Server Backup there will be a PC image backup tool for customers who need to backup client machines.

For those of you interested in beta-testing the new SBS line, head on over to this link to be notified on updates from Microsoft 🙂