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has unveiled details of its Essential Server family of products, including
Essential Business Server targeted specifically for the midmarket, which it
says will help partners earn recurring revenue through services and spur
customer upgrades.

The Essential Server Family, based on Windows Server 2008 Standard, includes
Microsoft Small Business Server ( SBS) 2008
and Microsoft Essential Business Server (EBS) 2008, which is targeted at the
midmarket, said Steven VanRoekel, Microsoft’s senior director of Windows Server
Solutions Group.

The new product family includes enhanced remote monitoring and management
tools to help partners move away from a strictly break/fix service,
VanRoekel said. The new family will encourage recurring revenue, since partners
will be able to wrap monitoring, management and integration services around the
Essential Server family hardware and software, he added. 

know partners’ business models are evolving to focus on recurring value and
revenue through managed services, remote monitoring and a full complement of
services," VanRoekel said, adding that Microsoft worked hard to improve
those capabilities in the new product family.

said 90 percent of Microsoft’s SMB business is driven by partners, and the new
products’ increased functionality will spur partners to upgrade their customers
to the new server products.

Essential Business Server is targeted at midmarket companies with limited IT
staff and resources, he said. The product was developed based on customer and
Microsoft partner feedback and addresses a number of partner and customer
concerns, including virtualization, redundancy, scalability and pricing,
VanRoekel said. 

a partner could either sell SBS or sell
stand-alone enterprise products," he said, which meant customers either
ended up stretching small-business technology to try to meet midmarket needs or
were forced to try to strip down large-enterprise technology to their midmarket
business. "Neither way was productive or cost-effective," said