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Microsoft brings enterprise features to SMBs

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A week before the biggest launch of enterprise software in its history, Microsoft has unveiled a range of servers that it says will bring the benefits of big business IT within the reach of small and medium-sized businesses.

The company has taken the wraps off the Windows Essential Server Solutions family of products, built on Windows Server 2008 and the newest Microsoft server technologies and services, and the newly-named Windows Small Business Server 2008. It says the new releases will help small and midsize organizations improve business efficiency, increase productivity and drive growth.
“There are 31,9-million small businesses and 1,2-million midsize companies worldwide in need of powerful IT solutions, and they typically have very small IT staffs, or none at all,” says Manoj Bhoola, head of the Server & Tools division at Microsoft SA. “Windows Essential Server Solutions make the benefits of enterprise-class IT accessible, affordable and simpler for smaller organizations and their technology advisors.”
Windows Small Business Server 2008, previously known by the code name “Cougar,” is ideal for organizations with up to 50 PCs, helping them protect business data, expand business productivity and present a professional image to customers. The new version adds a range of features and capabilities to the current, award-winning Small Business Server 2003 R2 product and, through integration with online services from Microsoft, is also an example of the company’s software plus services strategy.
For small-business owners and employees, Small Business Server 2008 provides increased security and protection, with dramatically simplified server and PC backup technologies and one-year trial subscriptions to Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server Small Business Edition and the new Windows Live OneCare for Server.  
Small Business Server 2008 also integrates with Microsoft Office Live Small Business to simplify setup and management of professional Web sites and private online work spaces. Enhancements to Remote Web Workplace, integration of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, and support for the latest Windows Mobile devices will help employees work remotely and collaborate effectively.
For IT managers and technology consultants, Small Business Server 2008 deployment, setup and administration is greatly simplified and improved. A powerful administration console, new monitoring across servers and client PCs, Windows Server Update Services, and customizable reports — accessible from virtually anywhere — make management easier and more effective.
Exchange Server 2007 delivers additional built-in protection, virtually anywhere access and management efficiencies. And Windows Small Business Server 2008 Premium Edition provides an ideal platform for critical business applications, because SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 technologies now run on a second hardware server.
Windows Essential Business Server 2008 is designed for the needs of midsize organizations with up to 250 desktops, helping IT professionals take control of their systems, reduce time spent “fighting fires” and focus more on strategic efforts to drive business growth. The solution includes built-in IT best practices and provides a unified console for management of key workloads and product licensing, which makes IT budgeting and purchase simpler and more predictable.
Windows Essential Business Server combines the technologies of Windows Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, Forefront Security for Exchange Server, System Center Essentials 2007, the next version of Internet Security and Acceleration Server and, in the Premium Edition, SQL Server 2008 technology.
“The Windows Essential Server Solutions products present technology consultants, hardware makers and software vendors with tremendous opportunity to better serve small and midsize companies, and to grow their own businesses,” says Bhoola.
For solution providers and systems integrators, Windows Essential Server Solutions provide a consistent, reliable platform tailored to fast-growing small and midsize clients, helping them deliver more strategic systems and applications, and build deeper customer relationships.