It's a date: Small Business Server 2008, EBS 2008 set for November 12

Windows for networks had its roots in small business. But with Windows Server for enterprises shipping since last February, Microsoft's SMB bundles will finally be ready to ship nine months later.

This morning, a Microsoft spokesperson informed BetaNews that the final release date for its Small Business Server 2008 and Essential Business Server 2008 operating system bundles -- based on Windows Server 2008 -- is November 12. That's a little later than was thought back in February, when the company launched Windows Server 2008.

These server bundles are geared for small to medium businesses, with "Essential" a new product line in Microsoft's arsenal that's slanted toward the "M" part of that spectrum. Both SBS and EBS have optional buildouts that include a separate WS2K8 installation with SQL Server 2008, so today's notification from Microsoft has the side-effect of setting a "drop-dead date" for that now-notoriously delayed product. SS 2008 finally attained RC0 status last month.

The RC1 versions of SBS and EBS, the spokesperson told us, will be made available "soon, probably in the next week," initially to the company's private testing group. Those interested in signing up for the public beta, to follow that phase, are asked to sign up here.

In an effort to help ease customers' transitions or migration plans, the company will be offering an online tool called Solutions Pathway. "It will help partners easily access customers' current investments in Microsoft server technologies," the spokesperson told BetaNews, "and then apply them for savings of approximately 25% - 45% on upgrades or migrations."

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