By Woody Walton
Last week I had the opportunity to present two Windows Small Business Server 2011 Launch Roadshows in Kansas City and St. Louis. The dialogue was great and I wanted to thank everyone for attending!
One of the first things I learned was there is a lot of excitement with SMB VARs around SBS 2011 in general with particular interest in the new SKU offering Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials which is on the cusp of release. The integration of this product with our impending Office 365 release will be a one-two punch that many small businesses will be jumping at very soon.
I wanted to take a few moments to key you in on the most up to date information on SBS 2011 Essentials and answer some of the questions that were posed in the events so you all can benefit from the information.
I will close out with a consolidated list of resources that may be useful to you in your SBS endeavors, whether they be SBS 2011 Standard, or SBS 2011 Essentials focused!
Let’s dig in
Although the announcement does not answer all time line related questions that I was asked last week, it does give us a lot more detailed information. All the content relating to when you can get your hands on SBS Essentials has been pasted from the blog entry below. So if “early April” is the first half of April, we can assume a you will be able to get your hands on the product within a few weeks! What is more, you can begin selling it soon thereafter!
When can I purchase SBS 2011 Essentials?
We expect SBS 2011 Essentials to be made available via all channels including VL starting May 1.
When will OEMs offer SBS 2011 Essentials?
Many OEMs and System Builders have already started building specific form factors and solutions based on SBS 2011 Essentials. We expect to start seeing them in the market starting May.
When will the Evaluation for SBS 2011 Essentials be made available?
The evaluation for SBS 2011 Essentials will be released in early April.
When will I be able to download SBS 2011 Essentials via my TechNet or MSDN subscription?
SBS 2011 Essentials will be made available on MSDN and TechNet also in early April.
When will I be able to download SBS 2011 Essentials via MAPs or MPN?
Further information about MPN and MAPs availability will be released early April.
Outside of the “when” questions that I have addressed above, I was also asked a lot of “how” and “why” questions. Many of these were focused on the cloud integration of Essentials with Office 365. I will attempt to summarize the answers to some of those questions here.
Will Windows SBS 2011 Essentials only work with the “P1” Small Business plan for Office 365?
No, although the Office 365 Small Business Plan is the best fit for many SMBs at $6.00 per user per month, Windows SBS 2011 Essentials will work with any of the Enterprise offerings as well. I would recommend you study the fact sheet on the Office 365 plans here. Keep in mind some of the limitations of the P1 small business plan may not apply if used in conjunction with Windows SBS Essentials 2011. This may broaden the application of the this plan when combined.
As a refresh, The Small Business offering for Office 365 is not regarded as adequate if the following capabilities are needed by the customer:
Windows SBS 2011 Essentials will provide an implementation of Active directory Federation Services (ADFS) at some point post release to help with issue number 1. This date has not been determined.
Remember, the Small business plan has only 24x7 moderated community-based support
Will the Office 365 Enterprise plans that include Office Professional Plus support Mac clients?
The $24 per user per month E3 Enterprise plan that includes the Office 2010 professional plus download option, is for PCs only. That said there is nothing to preclude a Mac client from leveraging the Office Web Apps against SharePoint Online (E2 Enterprise Plan or above) and OWA via the browser as Safari is definitely supported. Also, Windows SBS 2011 Essentials requires no CALs making it simpler from licensing standpoint for Macs to play. See the service descriptions for more info. If Office 2008 or 2011 for Mac was purchased separately, there is nothing keeping someone from using it!
Why was Windows SBS 2011 Essentials capped at 25 users when the standard edition goes to 75 users?
This has a lot to do with the client backup capability. We are using de-duplication capabilities and other technology. there is a technical limitation with the de-duplication backup process that we felt it did not scale well beyond the 25 user point. I will provide more details as I am permitted.
Can the Premium Add-on be used with Windows SBS 2011 Essentials?
Certainly! You can also use normal Windows Server 2008 R2 as well. add all you want!! we’ll make more.
This slide explains the relationship quite well in my opinion:
Can I use Windows Multipoint Server 2011 in a Windows SBS 2011 Essentials Environment?
Yes! In fact a recent blog post illustrates just how well this works! See Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 and Interaction with Small Business Server 2011 Essentials from the Official SBS Blog. The post is great containing many screenshots while answering pertinent domain integration questions.
Read the release announcement for Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 too.
Below are some resources to smooth out your knowledge of Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials. Please see my other post on Windows SBS 2011 Standard for applicable resources.
Thanks and regards,