On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it had released Windows Small Business Server 2003 (SBS 2003) to manufacturing, setting the stage for a new generation of low-cost server hardware running this exciting new Windows Server version. SBS 2003 will soon be available in two editions, a Standard Edition which includes Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003; and a Premium Edition which adds ISA Server 2000 and SQL Server 2000.
"Windows Small Business Server 2003 delivers unprecedented innovations in simplicity, resulting in a new solution that uniquely enables a broader population of small businesses to more quickly realize returns on their IT investment while providing new opportunities for channel partners to profitably service an even larger spectrum of small-business customers," says Bill Veghte, the corporate vice president of the Windows Server Group.
With this version, for the first time, SBS will be available with low-cost server bundles from Dell, HP and other major PC makers. This change means that small businesses will be able to purchase cheap PC servers, enter a few location-specific bits of information on first boot, and have a functioning and secure Active Directory (AD) infrastructure up and running in less than 15 minutes, complete with email, remote access, a sophisticated intranet, and more. These servers will start at about $999, Microsoft tells me.