Microsoft unveils Small Business Server 2003

21 Aug 2003

Microsoft yesterday unveiled its Small Business Server 2003, which denotes a more proactive online relationship between value added resellers (VARs) and the IT manager by enabling them to provide IT managers with daily or weekly email reports on usage and the health of their networks.

The new Windows Server 2003 features standard server management functionality such as managing email, secure internet connectivity and remote connectivity but also allows for supporting mobile devices, file and printer sharing, backup and restore capabilities and an application platform for collaboration. The new server product also contains a pre-built corporate intranet.

According to Steve Facer, senior technical architect at Microsoft Ireland, the new server product is intended to be sufficiently user-friendly that it practically configures the network and installs the server applications itself.

The move continues Microsoft’s standard line of wanting to empower the reseller in its dealings with small and medium sized businesses. “After selling and installing the new Small Business Server, resellers can cement their relationship with small companies by providing them with daily or weekly usage stats and provide better value added services,” Facer said.

“The new server software is effectively ideal for a company installing its first server. It is essentially a pre-built, visible intranet that allows companies to manage their email, share devices and calendars. As well as this it enables effective e-working, whereby users can log in and access their desktops remotely at home or across mobile devices. Companies don’t even need to know how a virtual private network functions to gain all the benefits.”

The Windows Small Business Server 2003 will debut next month at around €1,200 for a five-user licence.

“Set up takes less than 15 minutes,” Facer added, “and supports collaborative working such as shared company calendars.” The new Small Business Server, he said, is a fourth-generation release, with the Windows Server 2003 operating system as the core engine as well as Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and Windows SharePoint services. It also features built-in network faxing technologies and shadow copy service that provides back up and restore capabilities by taking a daily snapshot of files on a system.

Facer added that he expects large manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell to bundle the new Windows Small Business Server 2003 software on systems from September.

By John Kennedy