New and Enhanced Features in Windows SBS 2011 Standard

[Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Michael Leworthy from Windows Server Marketing]

With the release of SBS 2011 Standard, and it now being fully available to purchase and deploy, I am getting a lot of questions about what is new other than the obvious base and integrated applications updates. Here is a quick summary of some of the updates over previous versions

New and enhanced features in Windows SBS 2011 Standard

Windows SBS 2011 Standard maintains the easy-to-use server management tools that were introduced in Windows SBS 2008. It also provides the same core set of features that are familiar to Windows SBS customers. However, Windows SBS 2011 Standard also delivers a variety of new and updated features that can help make it easier for small businesses to back-up their data, collaborate, and share information. The key features in Windows SBS 2011 Standard enable small businesses to:

  • Share documents from a central location
  • Recover files with automatic backup if the files are accidentally lost
  • Organize and access business information from the office and from remote locations
  • Run compatible business software and applications

The following sections provide a brief description of the product updates and the new and enhanced features that are included in Windows SBS 2011 Standard.

Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard

Windows SBS 2011 Standard is built on Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, the most robust Windows Server operating system to date. Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard is designed to increase the reliability and flexibility of your server infrastructure. It is also designed to reduce costs and save time on the effort that is necessary to manage your server. Enhanced security features help protect your data and internal network.

For more information about Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, see the Windows Server 2008 R2 website.

Exchange Server 2010 Standard with SP1

Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Standard with Service Pack 1 (SP1) helps you achieve higher levels of reliability and performance by delivering features that simplify your administration, protect your communications, and provide greater business mobility for users. With new deployment and storage options, enhanced Inbox management capabilities, and built-in email archiving, Exchange Server 2010 with SP1 helps you lower costs.

For more information about Exchange Server 2010 with SP1, see the Microsoft Exchange website.

Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010

SharePoint Foundation 2010 provides a web-based collaboration platform that is easy to manage, and is more secure than earlier versions of Windows SharePoint Services. With SharePoint Foundation 2010, users can quickly access and share documents and information.

Windows SBS 2011 Standard leverages the power of SharePoint Foundation 2010 to deliver a robust and preconfigured internal company website. You can customize the internal website, create new websites, and share resources to meet your business needs.

For more information about SharePoint Foundation 2010, see the SharePoint Foundation 2010 website.

WSUS 3.0 with SP2

Windows Server Update Services 3.0 (WSUS 3.0) with Service Pack 2 (SP2) enables network administrators to deploy the product updates that are released through Microsoft Update to computers running the Windows and Windows Server operating systems. Windows SBS 2011 Standard uses WSUS 3.0 with SP2 as the foundation to deliver software updates to the servers and other computers on the network.

WSUS 3.0 with SP2 delivers important management, stability, and performance improvements that were requested by customers including:

  • Support for Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Support for BranchCache™, a feature in Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Support for computers running the Windows 7 operating system

For more information about WSUS 3.0 with SP2, see the Windows Server Update Services website.

Improved integration and deployment in existing environments

We understand that upgrading an existing server can be a daunting task. Because of this, Microsoft made significant investments to improve the server migration experience. Notable improvements include:

  • The Migration Preparation Tool is integrated in the Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard setup process
    Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard Setup checks to determine if you have prepared the source server for migration. If you have not, Setup prompts you to run the Migration Preparation Tool on the source server.
  • Guidance for migrating a computer that is running a Windows Small Business Server operating system to Windows Small Business Server 2011
    Microsoft worked closely with partners throughout the product development cycle to write and test migration guides. Customers provided critical feedback about the migration process during beta testing. For more information to help with your migration, see the Migrating to Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard website.

Remote Web Access

Remote Web Access is the secure website entrance for local and remote access to the resources that are stored on the Windows SBS 2011 Standard network. You can access Remote Web Access with an Internet-enabled computer from within the office or from any remote location. Remote Web Access replaces the Remote Web Workplace feature that was introduced in Windows SBS 2003.

For more information about Remote Web Access, see Remote Web Access in the Windows SBS 2011 Standard Technical Library.

Redesigned internal website (https://Companyweb)

Windows SBS 2011 Standard provides a preconfigured internal website that you can use to share information from a central location, such as documents, photographs, and upcoming events. By default, the name of the website is “Companyweb”; however, you can change it to any name that you prefer. In versions of Windows SBS 2008, the internal website was built on Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. Windows SBS 2011 Standard builds the internal website on Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010.

Automatic management of your organizations Internet domain name

Windows SBS 2011 Standard includes an easy to use Internet Address Management Wizard that helps you establish a presence for your small business on the Internet. The wizard also enables important features of your server, such as company email and Remote Web Access. If you do not have a domain name, the wizard makes it easy to find and research a variety of domain name providers who have partnered with Windows SBS 2011 Standard to offer their services. If you already own a domain name, the wizard can configure that name for you.

When you run the Set up your Internet address task in the Windows SBS 2011 Console, you can choose to have the server manage your domain name automatically. When you select this option, the server monitors and maintains the status of your domain, and it alerts you if there is a problem.

Microsoft Windows SBS 2011 BPA

Microsoft Windows SBS 2011 Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) is a free diagnostic tool that is built on the Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer (MBCA) technology. Windows SBS 2011 BPA scans a computer that is running Windows SBS 2011, and it compares the existing server settings to a predefined set of recommended best practices.

Windows SBS 2011 BPA performs the following tasks:

  • Gathers information about a computer that is running Windows Small Business Server 2011
  • Determines if the server settings comply with a set of best practices that are recommended by Microsoft
  • Provides a report of the scan results, which identifies variances from the recommended best practices
  • Identifies conditions that may lead to problems with the server
  • Recommends solutions to potential problems

To help maintain the health of your small business network, it is recommended that you run a BPA scan after installing your server, and routinely thereafter. You can obtain Windows SBS 2011 BPA from the Microsoft Download Center. For more information about Windows SBS 2011 BPA, see Using the Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard Best Practices Analyzer.

Discontinued features in Windows SBS 2011 Standard

  • Integration with Office Live
  • Forefront™ Security for Exchange Server, trial version
  • Windows Live® OneCare™ for Server, trial version
  • Windows SBS Desktop Links gadget for Windows Vista®