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What’s New in Windows Small Business Server 2008?

Alexander Zammit

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Alexander Zammit has been developing server applications for over 15 years. Most of his works involve Exchange integrated applications, including a FAX server, a mail security product and anti-spam products.

  • Published: Jul 15, 2008
  • Category: General
  • Votes: 3.7 out of 5 - 3 Votes
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Windows Small Business Server 2008 is to be released in the second half of this year. If you have been looking forward to catch up with the latest releases for the Windows OS, Exchange and SQL this might be your next upgrade.

The Windows Small Business Server (SBS) has been providing great value to smaller organizations for many years. Including various key technologies, the package serves as a starting point for establishing a network based on Microsoft technologies.

All SBS 2003 components have now been superseded, raising the expectation for the new SBS release. The wait should soon be over with Microsoft targeting the second half of 2008 for the release of SBS 2008.

Since most small organizations get hold of Exchange through SBS, today we have a look at what to expect from the new SBS.

What's Inside the Box?

As usual we have two packages the Standard and the Enterprise. These include:

Standard
Windows Server 2008 Standard Technologies
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 trial)
Windows Live OneCare for Server
Integration with Office Live Small Business

Premium
All of SBS 2008 Standard
+ Windows Server 2008 Standard Technologies
+ Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition

Looking at the above list it should be quite clear that SBS 2008 includes many changes. Of course it is made up of the very latest server technologies, Windows 2008, Exchange 2007 and SQL 2008 amongst others.

With the package being 64-bit only, SBS 2008 will project smaller organizations straight into the 64-bit world. Older servers may require an upgrade. However the time is certainly ripe for the IT world to move forward, eliminating more 32-bit servers and paving the way for the 64-bit client platforms to catch-up in adoption. The 64-bit server platforms have been with us for a long time now and should really cause no serious issues.

SBS Premium is intended to be installed on 2 servers and an additional Windows 2008 server license is included. The second would host SQL. This is good, as the load of Exchange and SQL will be distributed.

ISA is no longer part of SBS! This is already creating agitation in the forums. Many SBS installations sit right at the edge behind a router connecting them to a broadband connection. As Amy Babinchak explains, SBS won't be supported on the edge any longer. The firewall is expected to move onto separate hardware. Consequently ISA lost its role on the SBS box.

Hopefully this will push SBS installations to adopt a more secure architecture. Although the fear is that many will simply rely on the limited protection offered by the router.

SBS 2008 Pricing

Undoubtedly pricing is what made SBS a sure sell with many small organizations. The entire package gives great savings when compared against the price of the individual products included within it. SBS 2008 introduces significant changes in this area as well.

SBS 2008 Standard $1,089 (including 5 CALs); additional CALs $77 each

SBS 2008 Premium $1,899 (including 5 CALs); additional CALs $189 each

This is an increase of $490 over SBS 2003 Standard and $400 in case of Premium. Standard CALs are $13 cheaper whereas the Premium CALs increased by $99.

One will now be able to purchase single CALs, instead of having to purchase blocks of 5 CALs. This should equate in some savings. Another change that should take the cost down is the fact that Premium users can purchase Standard CALs instead of Premium based on the needs of individual users.

I have never been involved in selling SBS. However to me it sounds quite clear that overall SBS 2008 will cost more than its predecessor.

Final Tips

SBS users have the advantage of those arriving to the party a bit late. Larger organizations have already gone through the hoops with the software components included in SBS, ironing out many issues. For one, today Exchange 2007 has already reached SP1.

The exclusion of ISA server won't fill with joy many SBS users. Even though moving the perimeter firewall to its own box is the right thing from the security perspective.

The SBS 2008 pricing will probably dampen some of the enthusiasm for the new release. Organizations where SBS 2003 is doing the job well, will want to have good reasons for upgrading. So they will look at the various advancements in the package to justify the upgrade.

References

Windows Small Business Server 2008

Microsoft Announces Public Preview and Pricing for Windows Essential Server Solutions

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