Microsoft Kicks Off WPC, Announces Essential Server Solutions Launch

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print

Microsoft kicks off its ninth Worldwide Partner Conference with the news that its Small Business Server and Essential Business Server will launch November 12.

Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) kicks off today in Houston, Texas, and the software giant's ramping up for the release of Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS) and Essential Business Server 2008 (EBS) which could help partners increase their customer base by 25 percent to 50 percent.

SBS and EBS, collectively known as Windows Essential Server Solutions (ESS), will officially launch on November 12, says Steven VanRoekel, Senior Director, Windows Server Solutions Group in a statement, but Microsoft considers WPC the official SBS and EBS launch to partners. 

With both solutions at the release candidate one stage and available for download and evaluation, VanRoekel says the WPC launch is the first step toward helping partners plan and prepare for SBS and EBS availability. 

VanRoekel says Microsoft collaborated with partners during ESS product design, development and testing processes to ensure partners could easily sell, implement and manage the solutions "in an easily repeatable manner" to increase the amount of customers served.

Partners also forecast cost savings with ESS, because the technology provides a consistent infrastructure partners can easily deploy to more customers, freeing up time and money for new business applications and capabilities like collaboration and support for remote or mobile workers. These applications generate higher margins for partners and can help increase their customer base.

"Some partners told us they believe they will be able to increase their customer base by 25 percent to 50 percent with SBS 2008. Other partners foresee 20 percent to50 percent growth of their customer base with EBS 2008, because it allows them to more easily deliver products, consulting and deployment services for midsized clients," VanRoekel says.

"These are uniform, predictable and familiar solutions so partners can reduce the costs of deployment and support more customers more efficiently," says Joel Sider, senior Product Manager for Windows ESS.

Sider says Microsoft is also investing in extensive training and support programs and aims to train more than 25,000 partners through events and online tools over the next year. At WPC alone, he says he expect more than 2,000 partners will take advantage of solutions education offerings.

One such tool is the We Solutions Pathway, which lets partners to easily assess customers’ current Microsoft server investments and save up to 45 percent on upgrades or migrations to ESS.

Over 150 applications that are certified to run on Windows Server 2008 will be also compatible with SBS and EBS, says Sider, including virtualization capabilities.  With the release of Microsoft's own Hyper-V technology, Sider says opportunities for VARs are even greater than before, and that Microsoft was currently working to ensure SBS and EBS will support the most common virtualization scenarios. 

"We're working through the key scenarios that we'll support with these products, and we know partners are really excited about the ways they can use those capabilities to help their customers," Sider says.

Software development kits have been made available on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), so software partners can integrate their applications with the EBS and SBS's central administration consoles.

"We're working with a lot of key software partners because centralizing management of IT is key for partners delivering these solutions," he says.  Right now, Sider says, Citrix and Computer Associates along with Trend Micro and Symantec are third-party partners making their applications manageable through the console.

Hardware makers like AMD, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu-Siemens, Intel and IBM are also on board, delivering hardware and software that will integrate seamlessly with the SBS and EBS solutions, says Sider.

Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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