My notes from today’s Microsoft Partner Program webcast on SBS2008…

Managing with the Windows SBS Console

On the home tab, you will see:

  • Task Pad
    • Finish Installation
    • Connect to the Internet
    • Protect your data
    • Add users, computers, and devices
    • Grow your business
      • Set up your Microsoft Office Live Small Business Web sites
  • Network Essentials Summary:  Shows you the status of:
    • Security (will be red if any components on the Security page are red)
    • Updates
    • Backup
    • Other Alerts
  • Frequent Tasks and Community Links

Other tabs include:

  • Users and Groups
  • Network
  • Shared Folders and Web Sites
  • Backup and Server Storage
  • Reports
  • Security

Much of the UI includes the OK (green), Warning (yellow), and Critical (Red) concept.

Network tab includes:

  • Computers (servers and client computers)
  • Devices
  • Connectivity

Security

Components:

  • Email anti-malware / anti-spam via Forefront Security for Exchange
  • Server malware protection via Windows Live OneCare for Server
  • Monitoring of client file system anti-virus and anti-spyware
    • Rolled up status recovered from Vista/XP Security Center
    • Status recover is real time
  • Default Components
    • File system AV: WMI query to Security Center (doesn’t work against other servers, so no status is shown for other servers)
    • Antispyware: WMI query to Security Center
    • Anti-spam: CMDLET in Powershell
    • E-mail antivirus: FSE utilities
  • The SBS Console is extensible for third party ISVs
  • Client reports are based on WMI Queries

Windows Live OneCare for Server

  • Based on the MicrosoftAV engine (same as used in the ForeFront products)
  • Server file exceptions are configured by default (e.g. Exchange databases)
  • In the server version, the firewall and backup components are disabled
  • Only 25 machines are allowed in a OneCare circle (just use the same Windows Live ID)
  • Can use the SBS Console to monitor the status of ALL of the clients (i.e. not limited to the 25 machines)

Software Updates

  • Integration with WSUS 3.0 (SP1)
  • All critical/security updates and definition updates are automatically approved
    • On clients, set to download, install, and reboot
    • On servers, set to download and notify
  • Should communicate to customers that updates will be pushed out and restarts will occur
  • There is the ability to exclude specific clients from the updates
  • Administrators need to manually approve any updates that have revised software licenses
  • The management console will show you any optional updates

Alerting

New alerting infrastructure has been built from the ground up.

The security page in the Windows SBS Console shows the status of each component (virus protection for file system, spyware and other malware problems, client computer firewall, spam protection for e-mail, virus protection for e-mail, server virus and spyware protection, server firewall)

Critical alerts:

  • Monitoring of auto start services (server)
  • Key events (server) – backup, licensing, networking, security
  • Thresholds (client and server) – Disk Usage
  • Monitoring of all other critical alerts (“catch all” for critical alerts within the server event logs)

Alerts are presented:

  • Summary on the home page score card
  • Computers page shows per computer status with detailed descriptions
  • Daily summary and weekly detailed reports
  • “Catch All” events are only in the reports
  • “Close to Real Time” email generation when “other alert” is triggered.  Emails are re-sent until the condition is resolved.

You can create additional alerts as XML documents within C:\Program Files\Windows Small Business Server\Data\Monitoring.  The schema is downloadable through MSDN.  It watches for errors in the event log by defining a Path (Application/System), Provider, and Event ID.  After adding file, need to restart the “Windows SBS Manager” service.  This was asked for by OEM partners so they can integrate hardware monitoring.

Reports

“Summary Network Report” is sent daily at 3:15AM.  Quick “temperature check”, that summarizes the system health.

“Detailed Network Report” runs every Sunday at 3:45AM.

The two built-in reports cannot be removed, but you can add new reports and customize existing report.

A historical archive of reports is available.

The network reports are designed to render properly on Windows Mobile 6 devices.

Default SBS User Roles

  • Standard User: Member of Fax Users, Link users, Remote Web Workplace, Sharepoint_MembersGroup
  • Standard User with Administration Tools: adds Windows SBS Admin Tools group
  • Network Administrator: member of Windows SBS Virtual Private Network Users, Windows SharePoint_OwnersGroup, Windows SBS Administrators, Domain Admins

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