Aurora Announced – Vail on Steroids

Microsoft’s Official SBS Blog have announced a new edition of Windows Small Business Server entitled Windows Small Business Server (SBS) Code Name “Aurora”.

Aurora is touted as an easy to use “first server” option for small businesses and will be the company’s first to deliver both traditional and cloud capabilities.


Supporting up to 25 users, and using the Windows Server 2008 R2 codebase, the greatest news about Aurora is that it uses the Windows Home Server Drive Extender technology.


Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows had this to say about it:

…Aurora is 64-bit only. It provides a simplified version of Windows Server 2008 R2, health status monitoring for the server and connected clients, (Windows Home Server-based) Drive Extender technology for simplified server storage management and, with an optional Premium Add-On, a licensed copy of Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard technologies and SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition for Small Business.

…Aurora works (and looks) just like Windows Home Server "Vail" and is in fact based on the same underlying foundation. So it provides a host of WHS-like functionality around the management tools (which are nearly identical) and various capabilities.


Although Aurora cannot be added to an existing Active Directory (AD) domain, it can be the first server in a new domain and provides a full, native Active Directory infrastructure and even better Aurora, just like Vail, utilizes the add-on platform for extendibility.

It seems Aurora is Vail on steroids for the Small Business community!

If you would like to become a beta tester for Windows Small Business Server Code Name “Aurora”, you can sign up here.

Pictures courtesy of Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows


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5 Responses to “Aurora Announced – Vail on Steroids”

  1. JohnCz Says:

    For my very small business <5 users, the benefit of using Active Directory isn't obvious. However, it is my understanding that there will be some online mail/collaborative services aligned with this. That could be very interesting for us.

  2. TheBeagle Says:

    It seems that the Windows SBS web site is not quite ready to sign up beta testers just yet. Could you please let us know when that sign up site becomes active, since I would very much like to participate in that endeavor. Best regards. TheBeagle

  3. mr-data Says:

    This seems to confirm the rumors saying there would a “Professional Edition” of WHS “Vail”; which I believe is a good idea, as home-users and pro-user (small-business) does not need the exact same functionality.

    Wheter or not using AD is benefitial to a company with less than 5 – 10 users, is very much dependent on the type of company. In my small company, we are 6 employees (including me who owns the company), and has at various times in our office, or servicing customers at the counter (we sell various parts and tool to prof. and priv. users from a warehouse; and some is served remotely (i.e. phone or internet), other directly by the counter). And thus, AD would managing users on our (currently) 8 computers much easier.

  4. Bob Crook Says:

    I am thinking that the big news here maybe that the entry level of the new SBS (capped at 25 users) holds incredible potential for small businesses as the possibility is here that offsite computers/laptops might be backed up every night over the Internet. This will be a big seller especially for non-profits. I signed in for the beta so maybe the option has been closed for now.

  5. Ari Says:

    I also signed in….and am enrolled, but no downloads available yet….am I looking in the wrong place? a Beta program with no Beta content?? *confused*

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