Microsoft this week made Windows Small Business Server (SBS), code-named Aurora, available for preview, promising small businesses and home users access to myriad Microsoft services in the cloud.
The next generation of SBS is dubbed as a "significant departure" from Microsoft's traditional on-premise version.
"Aurora will be Microsoft's first server to deliver both on premises and cloud computing capabilities for small businesses," the company said in a blog post announcing Aurora's availability.
Aurora targets companies with 25 or fewer users that utilize a peer-to-peer network versus a full Windows domain with Active Directory. The server also ties in built-in backup and recovery for all company computers, plus file-sharing capabilities.
"Aurora offers small businesses the help they need to ensure their data is safe through advanced backup and file restoration features," wrote Kevin Kean, Windows Home and Small Business Servers general manager, on Microsoft's SBS blog. "Aurora's users can quickly set automatic, daily backups of every personal computer on the network. If problems with those files arise, small businesses can restore individual files, folders, or an entire PC or server with simple recovery tools."
Microsoft said Aurora can link with other Microsoft offerings, like Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), the software giant's cloud collaboration offering, which includes Exchange Online, Office Communications Online and SharePoint Online. Aurora is being billed as the central hub from which SMB and home users will manage and access various services. Users will also be able to access files and documents via the cloud, when out of the office.
"Using a personalized web address, Aurora users will be able to connect to the server from virtually anywhere and access their computers and documents from any common web browser," Kean wrote.
Kean added: "Windows Small Business Server Codename 'Aurora' is a true 'bridge to the cloud' designed to integrate between on-premise and online services and to use pay-as-you-go online services to extend the server functionality without increasing workload and maintenance needs."