When local area networks (LANs) first appeared in the business world, their
primary functions were to share files and printers. These are still critical applications
for most business networks, but networks are able to provide many other
functions as well. Virtually all business owners want to provide their users with access
to the Internet and email, but they must be able to do so securely. Many businesses
also want to host their own websites and run specialized applications. Windows
Server 2008 R2 provides many of these functions, and other Microsoft products provide
those that it does not provide. For example, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1
provides comprehensive email services and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 provides a
robust database management environment.
Installing and configuring these Microsoft products usually requires a certain
amount of experience and expertise. Companies with the appropriate resources
purchase the products they need and hire IT personnel to install and maintain their
networks. However, there are a great many small businesses that cannot afford to
keep full-time IT people on staff, or even purchase some of the more expensive networking
software products. It is for this reason that Microsoft developed the Small
Business Server 2011 product.
Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) 2011 is a combination product that includes
Windows Server 2008 R2, Exchange Server 2010, several other components,
and (optionally) SQL Server 2008 R2, all for an attractive price. Even more attractive
to the small business owner, however, is the fact that the product includes a setup
program that installs and configures all the software components at once, using a
standardized configuration that requires almost no user interaction.
In addition to the setup program, Windows SBS 2011 includes Windows SBS Console,
a management program that provides simplified access to the most commonly
used administrative controls. The end result is a sophisticated network environment
that can support up to 75 users, and that many small businesses can afford to purchase,
deploy, and maintain without full-time professional IT talent.