There's another new Windows Server in the Microsoft pipeline

There's one more new Windows Server variant in the Microsoft pipeline, in addition to Vail, Aurora and SBS 7. Here's a bit more on Windows Server Breckenridge.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

It's been a while since we've heard anything from Microsoft about its home and small-business servers in the pipeline. But  it sounds like they're getting closer to shipping.

Most of the soon-to-be-released servers have Colorado-themed codenames. There's Vail (the next version of Windows Home Server); Aurora (the hybrid cloud/on-premises small-business server); and Colorado (the SDK/toolkit for these servers). There's also SBS 7, the next version of Microsoft's on-premises Small Business Server product.

It turns out, there's one more member of the Colorado family that's in the pipeline: Breckenridge.

Here's a mention of Breckenridge from a privacy statement on the Microsoft Connect download site:

(click on the image above to enlarge)

I got a couple of tips earlier this year about Windows Server Breckenridge, but couldn't find anyone who knew what it was. It turns out Breckenridge is a derivative of Windows Home Server Vail that is optimized to function as a storage server.

Microsoft already offers a Windows Storage Server product -- the latest release of which was delivered to OEMs in September. Windows Storage Server is server appliance product aimed at business users and sold by partners including Dell, Fujitsu, HP and NEC. Microsoft does not sell Storage Server directly to customers via retail or other channels.

At this point, I don't know any specifics about Breckenridge. I'll be curious to see the extent to which Breckenridge will rely on the cloud for backup. Windows expert Paul Thurrott noted in April of this year that one area where Vail has fallen short is in backup. From a Thurrott Windows SuperSite blog post about Vail from April 2010:

"Where WHS falls short, from a storage perspective, is with server backup, especially to the cloud. Yes, Vail does offer some very basic support for backing up the server shares, but it's to external, local disks only, and it's a manual process. So if you're looking for offsite backup, feel free to regularly rotate those backup disks yourself and drive them to a different location. A solution that tied into cloud based storage would be vastly preferable. (Something akin to the Iron Mountain backup functionality in Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2010.)"

Vail, Aurora and SBS 7 have been available to public beta testers since the summer/fall of this year. Microsoft is on track to release the final versions of these home/small-business servers by the end of 2010/early 2011, according to Microsoft President of Server and Tools Bob Muglia. (I'm not sure whether Breckenridge is on the same ship schedule.)

Vail is the next version of Windows Home Server and is now being targeted at consumers only. Vail adds support for Apple's Mac OS X Time Machine, among other new features. SBS 7 is the successor to Small Business Server 2008 and includes the Windows Server 2008 R2 core. It is an entirely software-based offering. This is a server bundle for those with 75 users or fewer.Aurora is a hybrid on-prem/cloud server for customers with fewer than 25 users and who are currently relying on a peer-to-peer network or no corporate network at all. Aurora will be comprised of a small on-premises Server core, supplemented by a number of cloud services, starting with Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), plus some as-yet-unspecified others.

Update: Microsoft announced the final names and pricing/estimated availability for a number of its coming small-business servers on November 2.

Aurora will be known as Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials. Estimated retail pricing is $545 (U.S.) and is the product expected to release in the first half of 2011, according to Microsoft. (I'd say expect it to go on the earlier side, like early 2011, based on what Muglia told me last week.)

SBS 7 will be known as Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard. The additional server add-on to Small Business Server 2011 Standard will be known as Small Business Server 2011 Premium Add-on. Estimated retail pricing for SBS 2011 Standard is $1,096US, with CALs approximately $72 (U.S.) SBS 2011 Standard will be available through all current Microsoft server licensing channels and is expected to release in December, 2010. Further availability through OEM’s and System Builders is expected starting February, 2011. Estimated retail pricing for SBS 2011 Premium Add-on is $1,604 (U.S,.), with client-access licenses going for approximately $92 (U.S.). SBS 2011 Premium Add-on will also be available with the release of SBS 2011 Standard in December.

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