This press release just popped up as I was about to sign off the for the night, but I just had to get a quick mention out: "Integrated IT Designed for Midsized Businesses"
Microsoft have finally revealed some details about a new server bundle for "midsized" business called Windows Essential Business Server. This has been known as Centro in the invitation-only beta phase, which I had hoped to participate in, but was lacking three spare 64 bit servers to test on.
My previous understanding of Centro was that it would require three, 64 bit servers and would bundle several Microsoft server products into a unified, easy to manage, suite. It is effectively a step up from Small Business Server, which runs on a single server and is licensed up to 75 users.
The term "midsized" is relative, depending on the market, but in Microsoft’s terms this is up to 250 computers.
Windows Essentials Business Server will bundle the following products and will provide a single Client Access License (CAL) to cover use of all included products:
- Windows Server 2008
- Exchange Server 2007
- Forefront Security for Exchange
- System Center Essentials
- ISA Server (whatever the next version number is called – probably 2008)
- SQL Server 2008
The press release doesn’t confirm whether three servers are still required or not, but looking at the components, you would want to run them on no less than three boxes. I’d imagine that the ISA server would act as the gateway box, running Forefront SMTP scanning and the Exchange Edge Transport role; then Systems Center Essentials and SQL Server 2008 would sit on another box, and the other Exchange roles would be on the third box. (All 64bit of course.)
Microsoft have also announced the usual list of partners that will be providing solutions specifically for Essential Business Server (EBS) such as HP, IBM, Intel on the hardware front, and Trend Micro, CA, and Citrix on the software front.
The private beta will be expanded into a more public beta in the new year, with a final release date set for the second half of 2008.
This is big news for NZ companies as I know of lots of companies that quickly grow out of an SBS solution but are still small enough to not be considered an Enterprise customer. Local Microsoft partners will be keen on this too, because if a customer is considering upgrading to Exchange 2007, then why not see if they would like the latest version of ISA to complement Exchange – and then you’re two thirds of the way to implementing EBS.
Still some questions that need to be answered…
- How will the licensing work for customers that already have Server and Exchange CALs – will they be able to trade them in for EBS CALs?
- How easily will EBS integrate into an existing environment? SBS needs to be its own root domain and can’t join into any existing domains, surely this wouldn’t be the case for EBS?
- Will there be an upgrade path from SBS to EBS?
- And will there be an upgrade path from EBS to the full version products if needed?
I’m looking forward to testing out the bits and pieces… anybody want to donate/lend me three 64bit servers??
Update with new links: