Very interesting article in the October issue of Redmond Channel Partner magazine. It looks like the next version of Small Business Server will come in two distinct flavors.
Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard (SBS 7) will be the standard brick and mortar version of Small Business Server that many companies have come to know and love.
But Microsoft will also release Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials (SBS “Aurora”) to offer a Cloud based solution to small businesses.
Aurora will handle Active Directory, print services and storage locally, while going to the cloud for everything else.
Traditionally, SBS server was for small businesses, ranging from 5 to 25 users. Microsoft realized that these companies usually do not have the time or resources to devote full time IT support to keep all of the features up and running. Their solution, use the cloud.
Features like Exchange, SharePoint, Office Live Meeting and Office Communications Online will be available through the cloud. Also Microsoft is releasing a Software Development Kit to encourage third party vendors to create additional cloud applications for SBS users.
This will definitely be worth keeping an eye on. Microsoft does offer a beta of SBS Aurora. The only problem is that RCP Magazine reports that the beta requires 160 GB of hard drive space! That is pretty extreme when most virtual machines run in 5GB to 20 GB space.
I have never been a fan of Cloud Computing due to the security issues, but it will be interesting to see if Microsoft can pull off merging SBS and the cloud.