Windows Server Code Name “Aurora” Public Preview now available

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Today along with the release of the August Preview build of Windows Home Server “Vail”, Microsoft has released the first public preview of Windows Small Business Server “Aurora.”

Windows Small Business Server “Aurora” is what I’m going to call the younger brother of Small Business Server. Aurora is designed to be the “bridge to the cloud,” with on-premise features such as network monitoring, remote access, PC backup, and cloud features, such as e-mail and collaboration through services such as Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Services Standard Suite (BPOS).

Aurora is designed for small businesses with less than 25 users and do not have the resources or budget for an SBS or even higher setup.

Aurora and Vail share the same code base so there is some feature overlap, and in the case of Aurora, the “home” features such as media sharing have been removed. Some of the features of Windows Small Business Server “Aurora” are listed below.

  • Active Directory integration for enterprise grade user and resource management.
  • Remote Web Access to files, computers, and applications created by third parties
  • Integration with Microsoft’s online service offering, BPOS
  • Client Connector and PC Backup of Mac OS X clients (must be using 10.5 or above)
  • Launchpad for quick access to common tasks
  • Drive Extender storage technology, first introduced with Windows Home Server v1, for easy upgrades and management of server storage

While this release is a public preview, it is not recommended that you use Aurora for production use as there is no support and there are some issues around server storage. I’ve listed those issues below.

  • There is a QFE available along with this build that addresses an issue where saving files to an Aurora server may fail when a large amount of data is present on the server. It is advised that this QFE be installed immediately after installing Aurora.
  • Storage Check and Repair is broken in this release, as under certain conditions, there may be data loss.
  • If a hard drive goes missing from the storage pool and you attempt to remove that missing hard drive from the storage pool, the removal wizard may inadvertently remove the wrong files from your server.

For the build number curious amongst us, this is Build 7657 and is available from Microsoft Connect today. The CRC and SHA1 hashes for the ISO have been posted below along with steps to check the integrity of the downloaded ISO.

Hashes for today’s release:

Volume label: GR0SAAxFRE_EN_DVD
CRC: 0x15C92BAA
SHA1: 0x83D7341DB9916145749A02B010981494227F1166

To run MSCDCRC against an ISO file that you have downloaded follow these steps.

  1. Download MSCDCRC to the same folder that you downloaded the Vail ISO to. (Click here to download MSCDCRC)
  2. Open a Command Prompt window and navigate to the folder from Step 1
  3. Type "MSCDCRC InstallDVD.iso" (without quotes)
  4. The integrity check will take a few moments to complete. After the check is complete compare the CRC and SHA hashes to the hashes posted below
  5. If the hashes match then you have successfully downloaded the ISO

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