Microsoft has made available a preview release of Windows Small Business Server (SBS) codenamed Aurora, one of the two upcoming versions of its server product aimed at small businesses.
Available to download now, Aurora is styled by Microsoft as an ideal first server platform, and is a departure from previous SBS releases in blending on-premise and cloud computing capabilities.
The product is aimed at companies with up to 25 users that may only be operating a peer-to-peer network rather than a full Windows domain with Active Directory. It includes built-in backup and recovery features for all company computers plus file-sharing features.
Aurora will also link with online services such as Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite, and Microsoft's intention seems to be that Aurora will become a central hub from which customers will be able to manage these various services.
Additionally, Aurora will allow workers to access files and documents even when away from the office, according to Microsoft.
"Using a personalised web address, Aurora users will be able connect to the server from virtually anywhere and access their computers and documents from any common web browser," wrote Kevin Kean, general manager for Windows Home and Small Business Servers, in the official SBS blog.
Also due in the near future is a beta release of Windows SBS 7, a more traditional on-premise successor to the current SBS 2008.
Aurora is available to download from Microsoft's Connect site. A Windows Live ID is required.
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