As we head into the big Heroes launch next week, Microsoft today introduced the Windows Essential Server Solutions family of products. 
Available later this year, Essential Server Solutions – Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Essential Business Server 2008 – will be the ideal way for small and midsized companies to realize the benefits of Windows Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, SQL Server 2008 and other new Microsoft server technologies and services.  The goal is to make the benefits of enterprise-class IT accessible, affordable and simpler for smaller organizations.  One of our main purposes for presenting these two products within a family is to clarify for customers and partners that these are indeed integrated, “all-in-one” solutions, versus scaled down versions of Windows Server, or just various products packaged together.
In our announcement today, we unveiled details about Small Business Server 2008 (official name!), including the technologies and services that are integrated with it. A couple of the notable advancements for customers and partners (among many, outlined in the press release) are:
SBS 2008 Premium Edition is now a two-box solution, including a second copy of Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server Standard Edition, making it an ideal platform for a world of third-party business applications.  Great news for software vendors and solution providers.
SBS 2008 integrates a number of new Microsoft-hosted services, such as Office Live Small Business, Windows Live OneCare for Server and Forefront Security for Exchange Small Business Edition, as well as Windows Server Update Services. In this way, SBS 2008 represents the company’s expanding software-plus-services strategy of giving customers the right combinations of hosted services and on-premise software.
We revealed details about Essential Business Server (formerly known as “Centro”) in November.  Both products will be demonstrated at the Heroes launch in L.A. next week.
Joel Sider