Microsoft today announced the general availability of Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2011 Standard and its Premium add-on through the normal channels. The company had previously announced the release to manufacturing (RTM) version of SBS 2011 Standard in mid-December 2010.

SBS 2011 Standard, like its predecessor, is typically purchased as part of new server hardware, but it's possible to purchase the software separately and install it on your own server as well.

"With this latest edition, Microsoft has completely refreshed SBS Standard’s technologies and components," a Microsoft representative said. "As a result, SBS 2011 Standard offers new, exciting features and technology solutions that will help SMBs reduce costs and increase productivity."

SBS 2011 Standard is part of an expanded SBS product lineup that will soon also include SBS 2011 Essentials. Whereas SBS 2011 Standard is a typical revision that will be familiar to long-time SBS users, Essentials is a new product based on the "Colorado" family of servers that will also include Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Storage Server 2011 Essentials. Those latter products share identical new administrative consoles and—more important—a new extensibility model.

As for SBS 2011 Standard, this version of the product includes Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Exchange Server 2010 Standard with SP1, SharePoint Foundation 2010, and Windows Server Update Services 3.0 with SP2. The Premium add-on, which will also be made available to SBS 2011 Essentials customers, provides a second copy of Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 R2, and must be installed on a second machine.

Readers interested in a trial version of Windows SBS 2011 Standard can visit the Microsoft website.