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Microsoft Repackages Servers for SMBs

Just in care you were confused by Microsoft's server offerings for small and medium-sized businesses (does anybody not know what "SMB" means?), Redmond is here to make things clear. (Yes, that last part was supposed to rhyme.)

Microsoft announced today the Windows Essential Server Solutions family, which we could call "WESS" but won't. The concept behind this is simple. There are two versions of the aptly named Windows Small Business Server 2008 -- Premium and Standard -- for small businesses, and two versions (yup, Premium and Standard again) of the Windows Essential Business Sever 2008 aimed at midsize companies.

By the way, yes, you used to know Small Business Server as Cougar. Along with Longhorn, Cougar was apparently part of Microsoft's server-codename tribute to the mascots of the extinct Southwest Conference. We fully expect something to be codenamed Horned Frog any day now -- in fact, we demand it.

Anyway, there's a graduation from SBS Standard through EBS premium: SBS Standard includes one server, SBS Premium two, EBS Standard three and EBS Premium -- anybody following the pattern here? -- four. Starting with SBS Premium, IT folks can run the second server virtually on the first one and then, if they'd like, transfer it later to a physical box at no extra cost and with no licensing hassles. And, yes, the idea is for a growing company to move from SBS to EBS at some point.

All of these offerings are built in Windows Server 2008. There's other stuff, too, such as a Forefront Security for Exchange bundle and SaaS-like connection to Office Live Small Business.

The new servers are much easier to set up and install than previous models, said Steven VanRoekel, senior director of the Windows Server Solutions Team at Microsoft, who chatted with RCPU this week. "Partner models are shifting to more downstream stuff and less about the initial install. They've told us they don't want to do that stuff anymore," VanRoekel said.

Microsoft is going to kick off some marketing around the new server family soon, using the tagline "Multiply Your Power," which sounds like something from an '80s action cartoon or an old videogame. As such, we at RCPU heartily approve.

Posted by Lee Pender on February 20, 2008 at 11:54 AM