One reason why I like the Microsoft Action Pack is that it gently feeds you a trickle of the tsunami of new Microsoft products, betas, Community Technology Previews (CTPs), samples, trials, and templates. This months quarterly update is no different and includes a couple of interesting products:
- The 64 bit version of Vista Business
- Beta 3 of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise in both 32 bit and 64 bit versions.
- System Center Essentials 2007
- Office Live Communications Server 2005 Enterprise Edition
- Windows Server 2003 R2 32 and 64 bit
I’ve been running Windows BackOffice 2003 on my server for what I think is at least two or three years, so I’m contemplating installing one of the straight Windows Servers as a replacement. BackOffice is fine if you want to run Microsoft Exchange, and you want to have some beefed up management tools, but I’ve never been convinced of its utility over the regular Windows Server product. Exchange is a whole trip in itself, (can you say backup and spam control?) and in small offices that would otherwise be the typical customer for BackOffice, I would normally recommend just going with mailboxes from your internet service provider.
Live Communications Server is the Microsoft VoIP back-end product…something I’m interested in looking at; but was unable to install on my Win 2003 BackOffice server.
The Action Pack is a quarterly shipment to Microsoft Partner subscribers, and is suited for small consultancies or businesses with ten or fewer desktops. You get the full office suite with all the goodies like Visio and MapPoint, as well as all the server operating systems. No development tools–that is for the Microsoft Developers Network Subscription, but so many of those are available as trials and free versions that you can get pretty far without spending a lot in that area.