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May 18, 2008

Microsoft previews SBS 2008 and Essential Business Server 2008

Posted by David Hunter at 1:32 PM ET.

Last week Microsoft announced the availability of pre-release versions of Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS) and and the new Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (EBS) (formerly codenamed Centro) which are bundles of Microsoft server products targeted at small and medium sized businesses respectively. Microsoft promised that finished versions would be available later in the year, but since both products include SQL Server 2008 which won’t ship until 3Q and since further package integration time will be required, late 4Q would seem to be the maximum likelihood estimate.

However, most of the buzz was about the pricing which Microsoft also announced and which was up to 80% higher for SBS 2008 compared to its predecessor SBS 2003 R2:

(The new pricing and licensing for Microsoft’s products was complex enough for IDC to issue on May 13 a non-Microsoft-commissioned research note, in which IDC dissects the new pricing information in detail.) One highlight from the IDC note:

“The most important difference between Windows Small Business Server 2008 Premium and Windows Small Business Server 2003 R3 Premium is the inclusion of the full release of SQL Server into the new product. Microsoft says that ISVs balked at supporting LOB (line-of-business) applications aboard the SQL Server Workgroup Edition and pressed Microsoft to give them a two-server version of the product so that the LOB application could be installed aboard a dedicated server that runs only the application and the database.”

Microsoft also touts all the swell new functionality and low maintenance features of SBS 2008, but the key customers are ISVs and VARs who package these server bundles up with specific vertical business applications and sell them to small businesses. Microsoft is still offering a bargain bundle price compared to separate purchases and by the time the Microsoft partners get through adding their value, a $1000 here or there really won’t matter that much.

One final note: Essential Business Server is not to be confused with System Center Essentials which is a Microsoft IT management software package for mid-sized businesses which is one of the pieces included in EBS. Apparently there was a brand name shortage.



Filed under Beta and CTP, Essential Business Server, Essentials, Microsoft, SBS, Servers

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May 2, 2007

Microsoft launches Forefront Client Security and System Center Essentials 2007

Posted by David Hunter at 6:37 PM ET.

Today at a business partner security event in Los Angeles, Bob Muglia (Senior Vice-President, Server and Tools Business) launched Microsoft’s Forefront Client Security and System Center Essentials 2007:

Launched today, Microsoft Forefront Client Security is designed to help protect business desktops, laptops and server operating systems from viruses, spyware, Trojans and other current and emerging threats. Microsoft Forefront Client Security delivers critical visibility into threats and vulnerabilities through central management, and integrates with System Center solutions, Active Directory® directory services and other Microsoft technologies.

Muglia also announced the launch of System Center Essentials 2007, a unified management solution to help IT professionals in midsize organizations proactively and efficiently manage their IT environment. System Center Essentials 2007 provides the only unified solution to help simplify a broad set of tasks across the entire IT environment. The solution features a single console from which IT management can view and manage servers, clients, hardware, software and IT services.

Forefront Client Security is licensed on a per-user, per-device basis, starting at $12.72 per user or device, per year for the security agent and at $2,468 per year for the management console. The product is available for purchase today as part of the Microsoft Enterprise Client Access License suite via Microsoft Volume Licensing, with stand-alone product availability in July via standard Microsoft volume licensing channels.

Microsoft System Center Essentials is offered as a management server with built-in support to manage 50 clients and 10 servers starting at $2,000. Customers can add up to 500 clients in increments of 20 or five Management Licenses (MLs), priced at $400 and $100 respectively, and up to 30 servers in increments of five and one ML, priced at $500 and $100 respectively. The product will be available in July via standard Microsoft volume licensing and retail channels. All prices are U.S. estimated retail prices.

There’s no shortage of entrenched vendors in either client security or infrastructure management so it will be interesting how Microsoft does as the new kid on the block. Their strength will obviously be in shops with both Windows clients and servers where they can claim unique knowledge, but that’s also their weakness in larger establishments which tend to be more heterogeneous.

Update: On a related note, Microsoft released Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004.



Filed under Bob Muglia, Essentials, Executives, Forefront, ISA Server, Microsoft, Servers

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February 25, 2007

Microsoft Miscellany, February 25, 2007

Posted by David Hunter at 10:49 AM ET.

Some Microsoft news items from last week that did not get a post of their own.

Microsoft competitor VMware is profiled in the NY Times. Uh-oh! Someone just said “Microsoft” and ”bundling.”

Wii outsold PS2 which outsold Xbox 360 which outsold PS3 in January big box retail sales in the US. Think there might be a message from consumers there?

Windows Vista Express Upgrades could finally begin shipping next week:

If you purchased a PC before January 30 and took advantage of the Vista Express Upgrade program, you know by now that this program is everything else but “Express”.

Blu-ray disc sales finally passed HD DVD, but the question is why the attach rate is so low given that Blu-ray players outnumber HD DVD about 5 to 1. Could it be that most Blu-ray players are the Sony PS3?

Details of Exchange 2007 SP1 revealed. Beta coming in April with final release alongside Longhorn server.

Configuration Manager 2007 Beta 2 is now available for public download. It’s the rebranded old favorite, Systems Management Server (SMS). Also, RC1 of System Center Essentials is now publicly available.

Microsoft to launch new consortium aimed at Oracle users on Feb. 26. It’s all about interoperability, I’m sure.

The South African government plans to switch from Microsoft to Open Source. So does Cuba. Meanwhile in the USA, Dell users demand Linux and OpenOffice on PCs via the new Dell company blog.

Microsoft sued over “Office Live” trademark.

And last, but not least: Microsoft offers to take Iowa antitrust jurors to dinner. I wonder if they can pay with vouchers?



Filed under Antitrust, Beta and CTP, Blu-ray, Configuration Manager, Coopetition, Essentials, Exchange, General Business, Governmental Relations, HD DVD, Hardware, Legal, Linux, Marketing, Nintendo, OS - Client, Office Live, Open Source, OpenOffice.org, Oracle, Public Relations, Servers, Sony, VMware, Windows Vista, Xbox

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November 15, 2005

64-bit announcements and more at IT Forum

Posted by David Hunter at 9:34 AM ET.

I’ve already mentioned the Great Plains and Enterprise Desktop Search announcements but there’s more:

Microsoft Corp. today kicked off its premier European conference for IT professionals, IT Forum 2005, in Barcelona, Spain, by announcing a range of new software technologies and applications.

Muglia made several product announcements during his keynote address.

• As part of its commitment to 64-bit computing, Microsoft has been delivering products that are optimized for 64-bit, including the newly released SQL Server™ 2005, Visual Studio® 2005 and Virtual Server 2005 R2. To help customers take full advantage of the power of 64-bit computing, products including Microsoft® Exchange Server “12,” Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003, Windows Server™ “Longhorn” Small Business Server, and Microsoft’s infrastructure solution for midsize businesses, code-named “Centro,” will be exclusively 64-bit and optimized for x64 hardware. In a future update release to Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Server “Longhorn” operating system, code-named Windows Server “Longhorn” R2, customers will see the complete transition to 64-bit-only hardware, while still benefiting from 32-bit and 64-bit application compatibility. For the highest-scale application and database workloads, Windows Server on 64-bit Itanium-based systems will continue to be the premier choice for customers for years to come.

Now that is a shock, and not only will Exchange 12 and Longhorn Server R2 be 64-bit only, but that forces everything built on top to go 64-bit too like the SMB offerings. Harold Wong has some Q&A on Exchange 12.

Also announced:

- “Microsoft has released to manufacturing (RTM) Virtual Server 2005 R2, which will be available in volume licensing and retail the first week of December.” (This was expected, but not the prices: “Microsoft will be offering Virtual Server R2 Standard Edition for $99 (U.S.) estimated retail price and Virtual Server R2 Enterprise Edition for $199 (U.S.) estimated retail price. This new pricing represents Microsoft’s commitment to making server virtualization more accessible to customers at the lowest price point.”)

- “Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 Beta 2 is now publicly available.” (We’ll likely hear more about this today from Bill Gates. More here and here.)

- “The company announced the December RTM of System Center Capacity Planner 2006, which brings an unprecedented level of functionality and flexibility to the process of performance analysis and planning of Exchange Server 2003 and Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 system deployments. Microsoft also detailed plans for a midmarket offering called System Center Essentials. The new product will bring the commitment of the Dynamic Systems Initiative to midsize companies, allowing them to easily and cost-effectively secure, update, monitor and track their IT environment and better support end users.”

System Center used to be a planned product, but now it’s the new brand for Microsoft management products.



Filed under Beta and CTP, Capacity Planner, Compute Cluster, Essential Business Server, Essentials, Exchange, Hardware, Itanium, OS - Server, Operations Manager, SBS, Servers, Technologies, Virtual Server, Virtualization, x64

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