After many years of faithful service to the channel, Microsoft will be retiring Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 on June 30th 2013 within the Open Licensing Program. Retail and OEM SKUs will continue to be available until December 2013.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials will be the only replacement within the Microsoft portfolio. This can be deployed on a server with up to 2 processors and supports up to 25 users and 50 devices. No CALs are required and there are no virtualisation rights.
Alternatively customers can opt for Windows Server 2012.
With Cloud providers maturing all the time this may now be the time to move to the cloud. Hosted Exchange is a mature technology and with employees demanding access to their data from many devices including mobile devices, a hosted solution may be the correct way forwards. Hosted solutions remove the cost of the hardware along with the ongoing support and maintenance costs. Security and backup are typically bundled for free. Employees will benefit from greater uptime and the ability to access their data and applications from any device, as long as they have access to an Internet connection. Solutions may also provide synching functionality for offline work.
Blue Solutions has just launched a hosted Desktop offering which enables users to have a virtual Windows 7 Desktop with cloud storage, Microsoft Office Applications, along with Exchange mailboxes. There are also upgrade options for dedicated virtual servers to host line of business applications.