ZDNet is reporting that codename "Vail" and "Aurora" may be available for beta testers next week. Vail and Aurora are low end versions of Microsofts Windows Server range of products, with Vail being the codename for the next version on Windows Home Server, based on Windows 7. Aurora is a new product, targeted at small businesses to bridge the gap between the more expensive Windows Server range.
Earlier this year the CTP (Community Technology Preview) of Vail was leaked online, and shortly after Microsoft made available a public beta of Vail, but Aurora is a new product which is yet to be seen. ZDNet reports that at Microsofts TechEd conference in June, Microsoft Server and Tools President Bob Muglia said that Aurora is intended as a "small business appliance", and that it will actually include Active Directory functionality, though the extent of this is unknown yet.
Bob Muglia also said that "If you are a small business, it’s probably a better idea to run your e-mail (and other business-focused processes) in the cloud, " and that Microsoft believes that "the future for small businesses is to leverage the cloud."
Mary Jo Foley says that she believes that betas of both products will be available on July 12 -- the day a partner show is launched. Mary also says that she believes the products will be available for purchase by the "end of the calendar year", even though some sources are pinning the release in early 2011.
Microsoft is not commenting on when the betas will be available, or if they will be released. The current public beta of Windows Home Server "Vail" is available on Microsoft Connect, here.