01:44 PM

Microsoft's 'Centro' Midmarket Server Nears Beta

Much like Microsoft's popular Small Business Server, Centro will offer customers an integrated suite of servers, including the Longhorn server, Exchange 2007, and ISA 2004, unified by a common management console.

Microsoft is moving closer to bringing its much-anticipated Centro midmarket server into beta testing.

"We're marching toward a beta," said Bill Laing, general manager of the Windows Server Division, at WinHEC on Tuesday in Seattle. His comments came as Microsoft announced the beta 2 version of the Longhorn Windows Server.

Centro is slated to ship after Longhorn, but Microsoft executives declined to specify a date. Industry observers said they expect Centro to ship six months after Longhorn.

Much like Microsoft's popular Small Business Server, Centro will offer customers an integrated suite of servers unified by a common management console. For example, Centro will encompass the Longhorn server, Exchange 2007 and ISA 2004. It’s also expected to include System Center Essentials, a midmarket management product that’s under development.

Centro will be earmarked for companies with 75 to 250 users and five and 10 servers. Microsoft also is targeting the product at OEMs and blade server manufacturers, Laing said.

Last summer, Microsoft offered a bundle of servers at discount for midmarket customers. Centro, however, will be an integrated suite.

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