Microsoft releases SME server packages

Microsoft has announced a public preview and pricing of Windows Essential Server Solutions, including Essential Business Server (EBS) 2008 aimed at small-to-midsized enterprises of 50 to 250 users.

EBS 2008, previously codenamed 'Centro,' was first launched as a public beta in November 2007 offering a bundled, integrated suite of its server software products. This includes Exchange Server 2007, Forefront Security for Exchange and System Centre Essentials, the new version of ISA Server and SQL Server 2008 into an "all-in-one" offering based around the recently released Windows Server 2008.

The release candidate (RC) 0 was released for public download late yesterday.

Cliff Brown, Glasgow's Concert Halls network administrator, told IT PRO the firm managing Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, City Halls and the Old Fruitmarket venues would be migrating to EBS 2008 later this month because it offered a easier way to update its ageing Microsoft server environment and associated legacy issues all in one, at a cheaper price point.

"We have a mixed server environment and were told we would be an ideal EBS candidate," he said. "We only have myself to do in-house IT support for 160 users and 110 clients, so we're looking to EBS to provide a single, better administration console that will also allow for some other senior users at our various sites to do some basic administration as well."

Robert Adie, IT director of Microsoft Gold certified and Glasgow Concert Halls' IT partner Digital-IP, added that ES provided a "one-stop-shop" for upgrading the company's disparate Microsoft estate and providing a good foundation for additional investments in the likes of SharePoint, in support of the business's goals.

Brown said: "Our new financial controller is all for moving the network and IT infrastructure on so we can support latest desktops and change the way we're working. We're targeting lots of conferences and EBS will allow us to offer internet access, Wi-Fi and the ability to connect to things like overhead projectors."

Microsoft said Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Standard Edition software, including five client access licences (CALs) would cost $5,472 (2,815) and $81 (42) for each additional CAL. The Premium Edition, which also includes database component SQL Server 2008, costs $7,163 (3,686) and $195 (100.32) for each additional CAL.

Also part of the Essential Server Solutions set, Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) 2008 RC0 will be released for download within the next two to three weeks, the vendor said. The standard edition will cost $1,089 (560), including five CALs and $77 (40) for each additional CAL.

The Premium Edition will cost $1,899 (977) and $189 (97.25) per additional CAL. It also said Software Assurance customers would receive a free upgrade to SBS 2008 when it was fully available.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.