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Windows Essential Server Previews Announced

A preview version of the server for small-to-medium businesses is now available, according to a Microsoft announcement that included pricing and licensing details.

Public previews of Microsoft's Windows Essential Server Solutions for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) are now available, according to an announcement issued by Microsoft, which also disclosed pricing and licensing details.

Windows Essential Server Solutions center around two server technologies: Windows Small Business Server 2008 (formerly code-named "Cougar") and Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (formerly code-named "Centro"). Both products are scheduled for general availability "later this year," according to the announcement.

Microsoft offers Standard or Premium Editions of its SMB offerings, allowing customers to choose options based on their company's size and needs.

A table at the Windows Essential Server Solutions Web site specifies that Windows Small Business Server 2008 "supports up to 75 users or devices" whereas Windows Essential Business Server 2008 "supports up to 300 users or devices."

Microsoft associates a number of its other products, both installed and hosted, with the Windows Essential Server Solutions platform. Examples include Exchange Server 2007, Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008.

Premium Edition subscribers get Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 as part of the bundle. The inclusion of Microsoft SQL Server in the bundle is a key differentiator from previous offerings, according to IDC research cited by All About Microsoft's Mary Jo Foley in a blog.

Foley also noted that Microsoft upped the price of Windows Small Business Server 2008, compared with its predecessor, by about 80 percent.

One noteworthy licensing detail for Windows Essential Server Solutions customers is the ability of companies to buy single client access licenses (CALs) for the "exact number of employees using the product," according to the announcement.

Microsoft listed the pricing for Windows Essential Server Solutions as follows:

  • "Windows Small Business Server 2008 Standard Edition software, including five CALs, $1,089 (U.S.); additional CALs $77 each (U.S.)
  • Windows Small Business Server 2008 Premium Edition software, including five CALs, $1,899 (U.S.); additional CALs $189 each (U.S.)
  • Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Standard Edition software, including five CALs, $5,472 (U.S.); additional CALs $81 each (U.S.)
  • Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Premium Edition software, including five CALs, $7,163 (U.S.); additional CALs $195 each (U.S.)"

Microsoft's partners and customers can sign up to evaluate prerelease versions of Windows Essential Server Solutions here. There's also rebate information for partners working with Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 clients electing Software Assurance licensing.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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