I'm not going to bore you with a retread of the headline that is seemingly htting every news location that SBS 2011 standard has hit general availability and is in every channel!
Well... every one but Action pack that is...
"Still waiting to be able to download it from the Microsoft Partner Network. Not that I'd install it anytime soon. Just like the old days of waiting for the first service pack to install any Microsoft product, with SBS it's wise to wait for at least the fifth revision of the deployment guide. Sigh...."
From the comments in a news site, the truth of the situation is that we're still waiting for action pack.... so it's not in ALL channels yet.
Now I wouldn't be waiting for the fifth revision of the deployment guide. I would be downloading the Technet version and running that in test. Mind you that assumes you are one of those folks that signed up for Action pack with Technet, not Action pack with MSDN, the folks who signed up for the MSDN bundle might want to email firstname.lastname@example.org and discuss options with them complain about that.
<edit -- read this http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2011/03/17/a-key-has-nothing-to-do-with-your-license.aspx >>
Also be aware that no longer will SBS have "service packs". We're in the update rollup era of deployment. And we've got a community build doc (www.sbsbuilddoc.com ) going and are adding to that. So for all of those clients that have umpteen year old SBS 2003's that are getting to the wheezy stage and need a new server and still want full on premises, I'd start to plan on some testing time.
The media for Technet , for Eval, for retail, for VL is ALL THE SAME. Yes, you read that right, it's ALL the same. You install without a key, be prepared to rearm it a couple of times, and then later on when you receive the Action Pack key you can then put in the key. I've even seen someone say that they've used an OEM key to key in a technet eval version but haven't tested it personally to confirm or deny that and with exactly what OEM media.
Once you install it without a key you get 30 days. Then in those 30 days go back and put in at a command prompt (right mose click and run as administrator) and type in slmgr -rearm
So what if you want to do a test more long term? Can you key it with a Technet key and then later on rekey it? And where do you get access to Technet if you are a Action pack subscriber?
Let's remind ourselves how we get our technet rights. As an Action pack subscriber, if you opted for Action pack with Technet, you can get access to the Technet site and use that for a long term test.
If you don't know how to gain access to the Technet site, you need to have some things:
1. You need to know your Window Live ID that is associated with your Microsoft Action pack solution provider subscription.
2. You need to know your Technical contact ID. You find this by going to the Partner Membership Center: Click here: https://partners.microsoft.com/PartnerProgram/ManagePeople.aspx and bottom section you'll see people in the firm listed and the Technical ID that the Technet site is looking for.
3. Go to the Technet site - https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/add/default.aspx
4. Sign in as a first time user with your Windows Live ID associated with your Microsoft Action Pack Solution Provider subscription.
5. Enter your contact information and Benefit Access Number (Technical Contact ID**)
6. Accept the agreement to complete registration
So then do a long term test of SBS 2011.
But it's months from now and you like how you've set it up and you want to migrate to SBS 2011 for real and make it a production system. Do you have to migrate cleanly all over again? Actually no.
You know you can rekey a system without reinstalling it? As long as the underlying media is the same so that it doesn't put up a fuss you can rekey. Normally with media like Windows 7 or normal Server 2008 you can't use Eval media with a VL key but in the unique case of SBS 2011, the media for retail, VL, action pack and Technet are the same.
So say you've set up a test network using Technet media with a Technet key, and later on down the road you decide that you want to join your production workstations to it and not just be a test network anymore... do you have to reinstall everything?
Nope, you can rekey it. Now, how can I rekey an already keyed in SBS 2011?
Pretty easy actually... go to start, system and find the section where it says "windows is activated".
Now click on change product key.
Enter in the new key you want to use and click next.
It will then check the key.
And you are done.
If you want to be geeky and do command line -- knock yourself out - http://www.ehow.com/how_5508642_change-windows-product-key.html