I thought it would be beneficial to post an overview post on SBS2008, to fill anyone in on the new product offerings that Microsoft is bringing to market.

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imageMicrosoft Small Business Server is growing up!  Microsoft is introducing a new LINE of servers under the “Essential Business Solutions” umbrella:

  • Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS2008)
    • Standard: 1 user
    • Premium: 2 servers (adds a server to run line of business software)
  • Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (EBS2008)
    • Standard: 3 servers
    • Premium: 4 servers (adds a server to run line of business software)

For more information about the difference between SBS2008 and EBS2008, see Which Solution is Right for You.

SBS2008 is really aimed at companies with 50 or fewer (max of 75) computers who may be using an outside partner for support, while EBS2008 is aimed at businesses which have an on-site IT presence.

Windows Small Business Server 2008 includes the following components:

  • Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Standard Edition
  • Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
  • Windows Server Update Services 3.0
  • Microsoft ForeFront Security for Exchange Server (120-day service included, antivirus [8 engines!] + antispam + content filtering)
  • Windows Live OneCare for Server (120-day trial, protects the server)
  • Integration with Microsoft Office Live Small Business (have your website on Office Live, while mail and remote.yourdomain.com goes to your SBS2008 server)

More information about Windows Live OneCare for Server:

  • Protects the server
  • Includes ability to manage installations of OneCare on client PCs
  • Up to 25 computers are allowed in a “circle” (management group)
  • Can create multiple “circles” to protect more than 25 computers

More information about the Premium edition of SBS2008:

  • Includes a complete separate license of Windows Sever 2008 Standard (only limits are 75 users/devices allowed to connect, and must be joined to the Windows SBS2008 domain).
  • While the first server has to be 64-bit, the second server added with Premium edition can be EITHER 64-bit or 32-bit.
  • Includes Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Standard.
  • During the first year, SBS2008 will also ship with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Standard, so you can still run any applications that are not yet ready to run on SQL2005.
  • Second server is great for virtualization or Terminal Services (can run in Application Mode, whereas Terminal Services on the primary server can’t run in Application Mode; need to buy TS CALs).

Just like the current version of SBS, SBS2008 will allow you to install additional servers in your domain, including at remote branches.  So there is no NEED to buy the Premium Edition in order to have a second server, but the pricing is very good for acquiring a copy of Windows Server and SQL Server.

SBS2008 includes updated versions of the following familiar features:

  • Remote Web Workplace
  • Windows SBS Console
  • Connect to the Internet Wizard
  • Configure Server Backup Wizard (better wizards for backing up to external drives, as well as restoring individual files or entire server)
  • Network reports (ability to schedule reporting on server and client health, configured out of the gate)

The new wizards added to SBS include:

  • “Internet Address Management” wizard lets you register new domain names, manage DNS, etc.
  • “Add a Trusted Certificate” wizard to buy and install an SSL certificate (instead of using a self-signed certificate)
  • New “Connect Computer Wizard” that lets you join an existing in-use computer to the domain without losing all of the user’s settings
  • “Connect to the Internet” wizard that can even configure routers that support UPnP
  • “Internet Mail” wizard helps you configure Exchange Server 2007

Remote Web Workplace has also been improved:

  • Easy way to get to Outlook Web Access
  • Able to access SharePoint externally
  • Able to remotely connect to computers
  • Single-sign-on experience, so authentication credentials are passed across to OWA, WSS, and remote computers
  • New wizard to change your network password
  • Administrators can also connect to the server and access administrative tools.

Personally, I love the new Windows SBS Console page.  I think customers are really going to like it.  It feels a lot like the administrative interface of Windows Home Server.  It is very easy to see what’s going on.  I think that customers will feel that they can gain a good insight into the status of their network, as the interface is very comfortable and explore-able.

I also LOVE the “Internet Address Management” wizard.  Microsoft has partnered with a number of registrars, including GoDaddy, to let you purchase a domain and an SSL certificate right inside the wizard.  It will even manage the DNS settings at those providers.  How cool is that!?

Finally, a few Q&A’s

  • Can I in-place upgrade from SBS2003 to SBS2008?
    No, you must migrate to a new server.  You have a 21-day window to perform the migration.
  • Can I mix and match Standard and Premium Client Access Licenses?
    Yes.  You only need to buy Premium CAL’s for users/devices that need access to premium features.
  • Can I backup to tape?
    No.  SBS2008 uses the built-in backup technologies in Windows Server 2008.  So you have to back up to external disk or attached storage.  There will likely be 3rd-party solutions available for backing up to tapes, or (even better) online.  We generally recommend backing up to local disk, and augmenting that with online backup.

Read more posts from John R. Pattison about Windows Small Business Server 2008