Windows SBS 2011 Standard Trial Available
Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard is now available as free trial download.
Microsoft released SBS 2011 Standard to its hardware manufacturing partners back in December, but public trial copies of the server software were not available at that time. The free 180-day evaluation software can be downloaded at Microsoft's SBS portal page here. Microsoft also provides a series of videos about features in SBS 2011 Standard at this page.
The evaluation copy can be converted easily to the licensed version if wanted, according to Microsoft's announcement.
SBS 2011 Standard provides management, backup and restore capabilities, network and client security, plus remote access to e-mail, calendar and contacts data for organizations with up to 75 users. Using this server entails paying client access licensing (CAL) costs. The options include buying licensing by device ("device CAL") or per individual accessing the server ("user CAL"). Licensing details are summarized by Microsoft at this page.
SBS 2011 Standard shares many features with SBS 2011 Essentials (formerly code-named "Aurora"), although Essentials is limited to small businesses with up to 25 users. There are no client access licensing costs associated with Essentials, but it lacks some capabilities found in SBS 2011 Standard such as Web site hosting, Exchange for e-mail and SharePoint integration, according to Microsoft's features comparison table.
Essentials users get support for individual PC backups, but users of SBS 2011 Standard don't have that support. It's not clear why Microsoft omitted that feature in SBS 2011 Standard.
Essentials and Standard users can both add SQL Server support for line-of-business applications, as well as support for technologies in Windows Server 2008 R2, by purchasing Windows SBS 2011 Premium Add-on software. Windows Server 2008 R2 technologies supported by the add-on include Remote Desktop Services and Hyper-V virtualization.
Exactly when SBS 2011 Standard products will be available on the market depend on Microsoft's hardware partners. It's thought that manufacturers such as Acer, Dell, Fujitsu and HP, among others, will roll out those server products sometime next month.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.