Microsoft warms the canvas for small business servers

Microsoft warms the canvas for small business servers

The latest generation of BackOffice Small Business Server (SBS), version 4.5 not only means more integrated solutions but also generates revenue flows for the reseller channel, Microsoft claimed yesterday.

Microsoft Australia announced the availability of the latest version with a message to the channel that the small-business market represents one of the best opportunities for new business and ongoing services revenue.

Harvey Sanchez, Microsoft Australia's product marketing manager for server applications, said that SBS 4.5 reflected the needs of small businesses with a growth path of now up to 50 users. The new version doubles the maximum user number. He added that the intention of this release was to bundle all the suites into one product. "Version 4.5 is not just a bundle, it's a complete integration, similar to the Office integration," Sanchez said.

Among the key features for resellers is a claimed simplified installation routine as well as an enhanced remote administration tool using NetMeeting version 2.1 to monitor, diagnose and, if necessary, remediate any problems with the server.

Microsoft was not able to produce any local channel testimony, but according to a California-based reseller, it's evident that Microsoft has "listened to its customers with 4.5". The sale of Small Business Server 4.5 is "only the beginning of our sales contact with the customer", and it generates a "continuous selling stream", the US reseller said in a recorded testimonial.

The new version is clearly designed to be sold as a bundled solution with Office 2000 -- a five-client package of SBS 4.5 integrated with Office 2000 is priced at $4809.

According to yesterday's announcement, SBS 4.5 includes Windows NT Server 4.0 with Service Pack 4, Exchange Server 5.5, SQL Server 7.0 and Proxy Server 2.0.

Available immediately, the recommended retail price is $2479 for a five-client licence, and additional workstation licences are available in five- and 20-client packs at a cost of $373 and $1248 respectively. A free upgrade is available to all registered users of Small Business server 4.0.

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