Microsoft Releases Windows Home Server 2011, SBS 2011 Essentials to Testing

Microsoft's professional services subscribers can now download the 64-bit Windows Home Server 2011 (WHS 2011). The company has also released the general-evaluation version of Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials (SBS 2011 Essentials).

Microsoft made WHS 2011 available for download for TechNet and MSDN subscribers on Tuesday, with publicly available no-cost evaluation copies due to arrive later this month, according to Microsoft's announcement.

Microsoft also announced on Tuesday that the free evaluation copy of SBS 2011 Essentials is now publicly available for download here. This evaluation copy is good for 180 days, after which it can be upgraded to the licensed version. Microsoft's TechNet and MSDN subscribers can also download this software today.

Microsoft's volume licensing customers will be able to get SBS 2011 Essentials starting on May 1. Microsoft's hardware partners are expected to introduce server products based on SBS 2011 Essentials in that same month, according to a Microsoft blog.

In March, Microsoft released its Windows Server SDK Installer, a tool for installing software development kits that work with WHS 2011, SBS 2011 Essentials, Windows Multipoint Server 2011 and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2. The SDK installer can be accessed from the Microsoft Download Center here. Microsoft provides help on using the SDKs at this library page, which describes how to create various add-in extensions for the servers.

In December 2010, Microsoft released Windows SBS 2011 Standard -- a third product that's part of its "Colorado" line of servers for small businesses -- to its OEM hardware partners, as well as subscribers to TechNet and MSDN. A free evaluation copy of SBS 2011 Standard can be accessed here.

Also in December, Microsoft released an upgrade option to SBS 2011 Standard and SBS 2011 Essentials called "SBS 2011 Premium Add-on." This Microsoft-supplied add-on enables capabilities such as SQL Server line-of-business application support, access to Window Server 2008 R2 technologies, plus Remote Desktop Services access and virtualization through Hyper-V.

SBS Standard 2011 is designed for up to 75 users, whereas SBS 2011 Essentials supports up to 25 users. No Client Access Licenses are required to use SBS 2011 Essentials, according to this Microsoft product comparison page. WHS 2011 supports up to 10 PCs and can be used by both home users and small businesses.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.