Microsoft will launch its Small Business Server on 11 November to target this growing sector of IT buyers.
The offering is based on fully functional versions of Microsoft?s Back Office family of products, but is targeted at firms with one server and between two and 25 PCs, running either Windows NT Workstation or 95.
Customers with 26 PCs or more can either gradually upgrade the relevant individual applications in the suite to a Standard Back Office licence or can upgrade the lot simultaneously.
David Bridger, product manager at Microsoft, said: ?We?ve been trying to look at the key needs for the small business market and found that they?re interested in the same things as other, larger businesses. They see an increasing business need for technology to compete with bigger players and to deliver better customer service. But, there key problem is limited expertise and so our assumption in creating this product was that they had no IT department.?p> Small Business Server (SBS) will start shipping by mid-November and will be available from all of Microsoft?s top OEMs, such as Compaq, and in retail outlets. It is expected to cost about #1,000.
It includes such standard Back Office fare as the Exchange groupware product, SQL Server database and Proxy Server to enable users to hook up to the Internet, but has also been reworked to make it easier to install.
Bridger claimed that installation time, including applications, network and Internet connectivity, had been reduced from up to five hours to 60 minutes and that SBS also came with a console to enable customers to manage all of their applications from a central point.
However, users need to have a Pentium or Pentium Pro-based server with 64Mbytes of Ram, a 2Gbytes hard drive, network card and modem to run the bundle.
Early next year, Microsoft also plans to set up a Back Office SBS logo programme for those resellers that have developed packages specifically for the small office marketplace. These must be able to integrate with the console.
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