Small Business Server 2000 to Appear Third Quarter 2000

Microsoft is readying the next version of Small Business Server (SBS), to be called SBS 2000, which the company expects to release in the third quarter of 2000. SBS is the central component of the networking strategy for many small businesses and workgroups (up to 50 computers). The current release, SBS 4.5, includes Windows NT Server 4.0, Microsoft Exchange Server, Proxy Server, Internet Information Server (IIS), and SQL Server—BackOffice in a box. The main goal is to release SBS 2000 as soon as major components, particularly Exchange 2000 Server and SQL Server 2000, are ready. SBS 2000 won't have any new components, although Katy Hunter, product manager for SBS, said that Microsoft plans to add better management tools and remote administration through Windows Terminal Services (WTS). The company will also add more features to the Server Status tool, and management tools will use the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). Although the market share of small office server suites is difficult to gauge, Hunter said that the product's sales have exceeded Microsoft's projections. According to Josh Feinberg, author of Microsoft Press's Building Profitable Solutions with Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server, Microsoft has found that the channel drives most SBS sales. Value Added Providers (VAPs) typically install SBS and use it as a platform for delivering software. (Feinberg's book is essentially a recipe book for building a VAP practice with SBS. Feinberg, who operates a VAP business for SBS is a frequent contributor to Microsoft’s Direct Access Web site, which contains many SBS resources.) The most important reasons that customers use SBS are for common Internet access, messaging, and group faxing. With the release of Windows 2000 (Win2K), organizations using SBS must accommodate the new OS. SBS faces two known issues with Win2K: problems with the fax-client software and the modem-sharing client. Microsoft has a fix for the fax-client issue, which arises from the code similarity between the fax servers of SBS and Win2K. According to Hunter, Microsoft doesn't anticipate resolving the modem-sharing issue. SBS 4.5 can have a Windows 2000 Server (Win2K Server) system as a member of its domain but not as a BDC; only an NT Server 4.0 system can be a BDC. Microsoft has posted instructions on how to add a Windows 2000 Professional (Win2K Pro) system as a client on an SBS 4.5 network and how to integrate Win2K Pro with SBS. Microsoft also provides a Win2K Pro client quick install guide. Microsoft plans to offer SBS 4.5 users an upgrade in place to SBS 2000, preserving settings, applications, and files. The company has issued a technology guarantee to customers who buy SBS 4.5 after January 1, 2000; they will receive a free update to SBS 2000.

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