Microsoft has released a preview of the next version of its integrated package for small organizations, Windows Small Business Server 2011.
This new edition updates the core Microsoft products in the SBS package, as well as streamlines employee remote access and the deployment process.
SBS is a bundle of integrated Microsoft enterprise software aimed to ease IT operations for small organizations.
Built on Windows Server 2008 release 2, it includes programs and services to manage worker e-mail, calendars and file sharing. For the administrator, it includes the ability to manage security, Windows updates and access to the Internet. It also includes a database and the ability to host business applications.
With this release, Microsoft has simplified the installation process, the company claims. The package offers guidance on how to set up the server, as well as validation tools to assure the successful migration of data and settings from the previous edition. Users can now set up their own PCs networks without administrator help.
Remote access has also been strengthened. Users can access their e-mail inboxes from afar, using Outlook Web Access. They can also access their files from a personalized website.
SBS 2011 will come in two editions, a "Standard" edition, which can be licensed up to 75 users, and an "Essentials" edition, which can be used by up to 25 employees.
The Standard edition includes the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server for internal e-mail management, while the Essentials version is integrated with a Microsoft hosted e-mail service. The standard edition will feature the Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Services 2010, which is the latest version of that collaboration package.
The Standard edition can back up business data on the server, while the Essentials version can back up data from user PCs.
The Windows SBS 2011 release candidate beta preview is now available for download. Microsoft did not reveal when the full release would be available. This will be the first full release of the package since the Windows Small Business Server 2008, released in 2008.