Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

Summary: Microsoft is discontinuing its Essential Business Server (EBS) product family, company officials said on March 5, and have decided against releasing an EBS 2010 product.

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Microsoft is discontinuing its Essential Business Server (EBS) product family, company officials said on March 5, and have decided against releasing an EBS 2010 product.

According to a post on the Essential Business Server team blog, Microsoft is ceasing development of future iterations of EBS as of June 30, 2010. Microsoft is attributing the shift to "a natural market shift in midsize business’ preferences toward creating their own IT solutions."

Microsoft officials also played up the growing appeal of cloud-computing solutions for the mid-market audience. From the team's March 5 blog post:

"Since the launch of EBS, several changes have occurred that drove our decision to streamline our server product portfolio. First, midsize businesses are rapidly turning to technologies such as management, virtualization and cloud computing as a means to cut costs, improve efficiency, and increase competitiveness. Those capabilities are already available through other offerings, including Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft System Center and the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS)."

Microsoft is still going to do another version of Windows Small Business Server, according to company officials, but they are still providing no details about that product, which is codenamed "Aurora." (I'd assume it will debut some time in calendar 2010, but Microsoft officials won't say when I've asked.)

Current EBS customers will be able to continue to get mainstream and extended support, plus support for service packs for that product, Microsoft officials said. (The exact cut-off dates for support depend on the dates for all the individual products that comprise the EBS 2008 bundle. I'll see if I can get some more definitive dates and add them to this post.)

Microsoft also is offering a six-month promotion (which starts June 30) for customers who want to transition off EBS 2008, enabling them to migrate to "many of the standalone products included in EBS 2008." The standalone products in the EBS 2008 bundle include: Windows Server 2008, System Center, Exchange Server, two Forefront Security products, SharePoint Services, and SQL Server.

Microsoft has been mum about its SMB plans for Windows Server for the past few months, while it tinkers with the existing line-up. Microsoft late last year started talking publicly about Windows Home Server as a product suited for some small business customers, a departure from its previous product positioning.

What do you think of Microsoft's move and its claims about what mid-size business customers want, in terms of future technology purchases? Are mid-size businesses really ready for the cloud?

Update: Poor sales of EBS may have had a lot to do with the decision to ax the product, as well. One EBS MVP claimed Microsoft had fewer than 100 customers for EBS. I asked Microsoft for confirmation and was told the company doesn't comment on sales of individual products.

Topics: Hardware, CXO, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Servers, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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24 comments
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  • Makes sense to me

    I understand who EBS was supposed to be for, but thought that those customers might have been better served by an EBS or SBS style dashboard versus the full on enterprise Operations Manager.

    I'd be surprised if SBS 2010 didn't include an option to move the Exchange component to the cloud.
    MSFT_Tinkering
    • I agree

      And in reference to WHS, just installed it a a location we manage with 4 PC's.

      For 99 dollars and an old Dimension 4500 stitting of the shelf, automated backups, sharing, ect it's a perfect fit vs. the cost of a full blown server setup and addition backup software.

      I would guess it's definatelly targeting the Linux segment, and I'll wager it'll do quite well.

      I allready know of three people wanting to get it for their businesses after I mentioned it to them, a 4th wants it's for their home.
      AllKnowingAllSeeing
      • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

        Oh no, watch the market crash if MS thinks _small_ business is going to the cloud. LOL this could be *the* monumental crash that MS didn't see coming... Us SBS IT people are indeed needing to control our futures. We like to keep our customers happy and working on a real lump of silicon (or virtual) system with a DC & Exchange - not to mention RWW.
        I hope MS release (& rock solidly support) an SBServer based on 2008 R2 soon.
        raimu koyo asu
      • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

        Unlike the Masstige case, there is nothing but the contrasting color triangle and stripe on the front
        Linux Love
      • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

        the top piece. Opening up the case and looking at the inside of the top presents you with an
        Linux Love
      • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

        piece that is used to fit around your iPad 2 and hold the top closed.
        Linux Love
      • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

        The bottom is rigid and like the Masstige case you set your iPad 2 into the bottom first.
        Linux Love
      • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

        The securing mechanism on this case is an upper and lower piece that fits over the top of your iPad 2
        Linux Love
      • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

        and is found on the right 1/3 of the back piece. The best way to get your iPad 2 in the case is to
        Linux Love
      • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

        slide it from the left to the right and under both the top and bottom clasps at the same time
        Linux Love
      • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

        There is a seam in the rigid back about 1/3 in from the right that is used for the propping mechanism.
        Linux Love
      • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

        After you secure your iPad 2 in place you can then ?swing out? the bottom (in landscape) 2/3 of
        Linux Love
      • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

        your iPad 2 and rest it against the small securing mechanism of the top piece.
        Linux Love
  • good sign

    It validates my assumption that M$ is getting out of bussines.
    Linux Geek
    • Getting out of business??? Hill-Freakin-Larious!!!!

      Every time you post something, your stupidity simply fascinates and entertains us, and makes us glad people like you are not in charge of anything important.
      Qbt
  • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

    LOL Home Server for SMBs? A server without a domain controller?
    xp-client
    • Small businesses need a domain controler?

      small business could be 2 to 10 people. WHS could be enough for them.
      John Zern
      • Both are correct

        WHS may indeed be used for very small businesses that just want the following:

        1) Network file sharing with internet access
        2) Automatic backup of PC's
        3) Remote access to PC's (WHS acts as a Terminal Services Gateway)

        SBS is designed for those that want control of the network, with network level authentication (ActiveDirectory domain controller), printer sharing, line-of-business application support, centralized software update source, on-premise email services via Exchange Server, on-site intranet site for document collaboration via Windows Sharepoint Services, software faxing, etc.

        What you choose should be based on your needs as a business. Some businesses require more, regardless of the size of the company. WHS is what I like to refer to as "a NAS on steroids". OTOH, SBS is complete on-premise server solution for small businesses. I have clients with SBS with as few as 3 PC's because they have very restrictive requirements regarding email and document privacy. Cloud solutions don't work for them, they need to share files, and WHS doesn't include Exchange server which they need to fulfill their requirements, so SBS is the best choice for them.

        Both systems are good, but they have different features sets, and prices to match. A business should look at how their budget fits to their needs, not the other way around. I guarantee that if they look at their needs first, they'll be better off. At the very least, it will tell them if their budget is unreasonable.
        Joe_Raby
  • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

    I'm not surprised. But it does seem like a new record
    for shortest server product lifespan.
    skatterbrainz
  • RE: Microsoft to discontinue its mid-market server line

    Apparently IBM has been killing Microsoft above 75 users with the IBM Foundations appliance. www.ibm.com/lotus/foundations I cannot imagine who would have bought essential server when you can get a plug-and-play appliance for less money and it does more.
    jason schien