Monday, November 15, 2010

It's SBS Essentials, Not Aurora (Istanbul, Not Constantinople)

I posted some notes on the entry-level server line-up in my newsletter this morning and a few people recommended that I repost that here. Not sure why. Just subscribe to my newsletter at this link.

Anyway . . . This note covers the Microsoft Operating system options, not the hardware options available at the small end of SMB. There's quite an array of hardware options as well.

Right now in our office we are playing with Windows Home Server on HP OEM hardware, SBS 2008 on the Intel Hybrid Cloud (Lenovo hardware), Foundation server on HP OEM, and SBS on Proliants (of course). And tonight Mike tells me that we just took deliver of the new HP Micro Server. Yeee Haww! We're going to play with that for both Aurora/SBS 2011 Essentials and Foundation server.

So here's the re-broadcast of an article from today's SMB Email:
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A few release notes . . . SBS and Other Servers for the SMB Space

I have to learn to stop calling Aurora Aurora. It's now SBS Essentials.

I'm reminded of the song "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" . . .

Here's the basic line-up of Microsoft operating systems you might select for your small clients:

Windows Home Server - We call this one "Server Light"
WHS is sold as a storage server from HP and makes a VERY handy little package. It is great for onsite backups and central file storage. It also works well with cloud-based storage (files onsite, backed up to the cloud). Be aware that this operating system is limited to TEN users and has no active directory.

Sold as OEM throught HP and others.

Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation
This is my current favorite server. Why? That's easy. 1) It exists and I can sell it to clients, and 2) It has active directory. While limited to FIFTEEN users and one processor, this O.S. is amazing in a small business. A.D. means that migration from SBS or "regular" Windows is a breeze. It won't take Exchange, but if you have hosted Exchange, this beauty will integrate onsite storage with A.D. security AND provide terminal services for up to 15 users.

Sold as OEM through HP and others.

Love, love, love the Foundation server.

Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials (formerly Aurora)
Due first quarter of 2011. That means first or second quarter to you and me. I think the expected release is Q1, but the official word is first half (in case there are issues). Supports up to 25 users. Like WHS and Found, there are no CALs and you can't expand beyond the limit.

The core role of Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials is to manage all your small business technology from one box - including connections to hosted services like Exchange, BPOS, and CRM. Official word is that it "will be available through all current Microsoft server licensing channels." I assume that means open licensing as well as OEM but I can't guarantee that.

Estimated retail pricing is $545 US.

Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard (formally "SBS 7")
This is basically the newest version of the "Standard" SBS you've known for two versions already. It includes a backup solution, Exchange Server, Sharepoint, etc.

Expected release is December 2010 through Open License programs. Available through OEM and System Builder programs in February 2011. Those dates are specific enough that they are probably real.

75 user limit. Estimated retail pricing is $1,096 US, with CALs approximately $72 US.

Windows Small Business Server 2011 Premium Add-on is the new incarnation of our old friend SBS Premium edition. Now, the premium content is being sold as an "add-on" to either Standard or Essential versions. That's pretty cool. Premium Add-On includes a license for Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard and SQL Server 2008 R2 for Small Business.

You can use the additional server with the CALs you have on SBS (Essentials or Standard), but you'll need Premium Add-On CALs for access to SQL Server. Due in December 2010, along with Standard SBS 2011.

75 user limit. Estimated retail pricing is $1,604 US, with CALs approximately $92 US.

(Well hidden plea to Microsoft: PLEASE rev this to Server 2012 and SQL 2012, or whatever's next, without requiring a bunch of upgrade disks. Just ship the new stuff when it's released. thanks.)

. . . And, of course, you might also consider Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard.

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- Official announcement of names and prices:

-Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard datasheet:

- Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials datasheet:

- Windows Small Business Server Family overview brochure:

- To download previews of Windows SBS 2011 Standard and Essentials you can visit



  1. What... no mention of Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials? :)

  2. I am interested in Foundation server, but hasn't it been drilled into our heads that we shoudln't run a terminal server *and* a domain controller on the same box??

  3. Brian: In a very small environment, I don't why it would matter if you used Terminal Services on a domain controller.

    One concern is CPU time authenticating logons. For 10-20 users this is approximately nothing.

    Another concern is that end users will somehow crack through security and access A.D. Have you ever seen this? Do you think your clients can do this?

    Overall, I don't see any reason to worry about these things in the environment we're discussing.

  4. Hugh: I haven't looked at Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials.

    I'm not sure how the death of Breckenridge/Drive Extender affects this.

    Now I gotta go look at that.

  5. Hi, will essentials allow terminal services?

  6. SBS 2011 Essentials does not include terminal services. It still uses a version of Remote Web Workplace.

    I don't know why they put Terminal Services on Foundation Service and still don't have it in SBS Essentials.


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