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Windows Small Business Server Code Name Aurora

You might have noticed that Microsoft released a new preview of its new version of Home Server code named “Vail” yesterday. I haven’t had a chance to have a look it yet, but I have installed the new version of SBS (Small Business Server) which is Home Server’s big brother. It’s very similar to Home Server, which is not a big surprise since it’s basically the same product, but SBS contains a couple of features you won’t see in Home Server. The SBS product focuses on small businesses (which might have something to do with the naming?) with less than 25 employees/users.

When installing, the only thing I was required to type was server name, company name, username, password and product key. Other than this, changing regional settings and time zone was the only things I had to do before everything was up and running. And by everything I mean a server with Active Directory, DNS, File Services and IIS installed. In addition to this, it’s ready for you to add (up to 25) users, (up to 25) computers and manage shared folders. Since this is using AD you of course have the option of creating group policies, logging on with the same account on several computers, but since this is also based on Home Server, you Aurora will make backups of all your computers and monitor core services, low disk space, check that anti-virus is up to date etc. If you’re interested, you can set up email notifications for these types of alerts.

By default Aurora creates a couple of shared folders; one for each user and one shared folder which everyone can access. You can of course create new shared, change them or delete whatever you want there.

I think this is a very nice product for small businesses but also branch offices. A feature you can install is “Branch Cache”, so I guess you can add the SBS as a domain in your big company’s forest in AD. When looking at the screenshots in the product overview you can see a much more detailed dashboard than the one included in this preview. I’m really looking forward to the release, and I’m 99.9% sure I’ll migrate my Home Server over to this product when it’s available!

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