Previously known under the code name Cougar, Small Business Server 2008 is aimed at organisations with up to 50 PCs.
The new version adds features and capabilities to Small Business Server 2003 R2, primarily concerning online services and integration with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and other Microsoft products and services.
"There are 31.9 million small businesses and 1.2 million midsize companies worldwide in need of powerful IT solutions, and they typically have very small IT staffs or none at all," said Bob Kelly, corporate vice president at Microsoft.
Small Business Server 2008 will provide increased security and protection as well as simplified server and PC backup technologies, according to Microsoft.
The operating system offers one-year trial subscriptions to Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server Small Business Edition and the new Windows Live OneCare for Server.
Small Business Server 2008 also integrates with Microsoft Office Live Small Business to simplify the set-up and management of websites and private online work spaces.
There are also enhancements to Remote Web Workplace, integration of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, and support for the latest Windows Mobile devices.
Small Business Server 2008 will be demonstrated on Dell systems at the Windows Server 2008 launch on 27 February in Los Angeles, and is slated for availability in the second half of 2008.
A version designed for midsize organisations with up to 250 desktops, dubbed Windows Essential Business Server 2008, will combine Windows Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, Forefront Security for Exchange Server, System Centre Essentials 2007 and, in the Premium Edition, SQL Server 2008.
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