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VARs that have been specially selected to take part in the Beta testing of the Microsoft Small Business Server 2008 and Essential Business Server 2008 have given a resounding thumbs up to the new launches.


“I am really excited about all the things that SBS 08 has to offer,” said John Endter, President of E Squared C, a Nevada-based IT consulting firm.


Endter and a client were selected by the Microsoft Technology Adoption Program (TAP) to implement and use a Beta version of the SBS 08. Of all of the product’s new features, Endter identifies three that he believes will make it especially welcomed upon its release later this year.


First, he points to changes in licensing on the Premium Edition of SBS 2008.  It will include a second license for Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition that will allow the SQL Server 2008 to be run on a second server. "That provides an ideal platform for critical business applications, which is great for the business owner," said Endter. "And it removes a real headache for the IT consultant."


The second feature Endter’s pointed out  is SBS 08’s migration capability. “Previous versions of SBS did not have clearly defined migration processes. With this version, consultants won’t have to do the ‘fork lift’ migrations that we used to have to do with SBS 03,” he continued. “SBS 08 has moved the migration process from days to hours, which makes things easier for us and less expensive for our clients.”


Finally, Endter said SBS 08’s management and monitoring capabilities through its streamlined administration console are also noteworthy, because it allows for monitoring across both servers and client PCs. SBS 08 also offers customizable, remotely-accessible reports that make management and troubleshooting easier and more effective, he said.


Similar to the Windows Small Business Server, EBS 08 is an “all-in-one” server solution. It is designed to help midsize businesses save time and money, and to increase their productivity.


“The best feature of EBS 08 is its management console that pulls together all of the building blocks of the program,” said Michael Cocanower of itSynergy, a Phoenix-based IT consultant and Microsoft partner. “That is what makes EBS different from the other products out there.” Cocanower and two of his clients were also selected by the Microsoft TAP program to implement and use a Beta version of EBS 08.


He believes that the product’s ease-of-use features will be useful to midsized businesses and their IT consultants. “Infrastructure products like this typically fall more in the ‘must-have’ category for businesses and not in the ‘want-to-have’ category,” he explains. “And despite the U.S. economy’s current negative forecast, medium-size businesses will probably still put this purchase into their next year’s IT budget, if they have not done so already.”