Microsoft has issued release candidates for Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, with cloud focus and features.
Microsoft has unveiled release candidates for Windows Home
Server 2011, its bid to give consumers an office-like backup system, and Windows
Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, aimed at small- to midsize
Windows Home Server previously went under the codename
"Vail," while Windows Small Business Server was termed "Aurora."
In a series of releases over the past few months, including
a preview build in August, Microsoft has progressively revealed Windows Home
Server's key features: improved multi-PC backup and restore, simplified setup,
media streaming outside of home or office, and a set of development and
"This WHS RC is the first public release to include changes
in the storage features," reads a Feb. 3 posting on the Windows
Home Server Blog
. "All existing technologies such as server and client
backup, health monitoring, remote Web access, streaming media, and simplified
dashboard management are still included."
Health alerts signal when a new hard drive is available, so
users can format and configure that drive for more storage. A Move Folder
Wizard allows data to be shifted to that new drive.
"Data protection also includes daily Server and PC backup,
Previous Versions via Shadow copy," the blog posting continues, "which lets you
return prior versions of existing files (without needing to restore from
backup), and a protection feature for pre-defined folders (such as Recorded TV,
Videos, Photos) in case these are accidentally deleted."
The latest Small Business Server indicates Microsoft's
increased emphasis on cloud computing, offering administrative access via
common Web browsers in addition to advanced backup and file-restoration
features. Its Essentials version will support up to 25 accounts, one-third of
the Standard version and its 75 accounts. Developers can apparently leverage
the Windows Server Solutions SDK to heighten the server's interoperability with
In a nod to Apple's increased prevalence within businesses,
Small Business Server includes support for Macs.
With its "all in" cloud strategy, Microsoft is clearly
positioning online services as the wave of the business IT future. "We're going
to leave with the cloud," Microsoft COO Kevin Turner said during a speech at
the company's Financial Analyst Meeting last summer. "Leading with the cloud
actually helps better position Microsoft to sell more on-premises products than
we ever have before ... very strategically it signals a very clear commitment to
our customers and to our partners."