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Public Preview of Windows Small Business Server 7

It's an exciting time for the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community. The testing and rollout phase of a new version of Windows Small Business Server always promises new opportunities, but this year, Microsoft is experimenting with different formats for the product.

Microsoft released a public preview on Tuesday for the next version of SBS, code-named Windows Small Business Server "7." The product itself is the basic update that usually follows an upgrade of the underlying server. In this case the upgraded server is Windows Server 2008 R2.

Major features of SBS 7 include the first service pack for Microsoft Exchange 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010, improved security and management, better file and print handling and simplified procedures for providing Internet and e-mail access to end users.

But this test version of the successor to Small Business Server 2008 is the second small business server of the new generation to go to the community. A month ago, a preview version went out for "Aurora," a cloud computing-enabled version of SBS for companies with fewer than 25 users. Stay tuned for a technical review of Aurora in the October issue of Redmond Channel Partner magazine from J. Peter Bruzzese.

Microsoft intends Aurora as a "first server" for the smallest customers, giving partners another potential tool, along with peer-to-peer networking and the Business Productivity Online Suite, to crack this often-hard-to-reach market. SBS 7 will accommodate firms with  up to 75 users. Meanwhile, a previous example of Microsoft's constant tinkering with its mix of products for this space, the short-lived Windows Essentials Business Server, was recently discontinued for organizations that are just a bit larger than the typical SBS customer. For those small midsize customers, it's back to the full stack of Microsoft servers.

See Kurt Mackie's coverage of the SBS 7 preview launch.

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 22, 2010 at 11:58 AM