Why Small Business Server?

In most of my blog posts and business consultations, I do not hide the fact that I encourage small business owners to consider the offerings from Open Source vendors over the solutions provided by proprietary products from Microsoft etc. However, I am also a realist and recognize that there are just a group of business owners out there who may not be comfortable with unfamiliar territory like open source. In addition, there are just some things that Microsoft has learned to do very well over the years although they sometimes turn out to be very expensive.

As mentioned in an ealier post, I just went through the gamut of installing a Small Business Server 2008 and migrating a Small Business Server 2003. So what exactly is the Microsoft Small Business Server?

Microsoft Small Business Server is a suite of  server products that the company has combined together into one integrated package. The Small Business Server comes in two editions: standard and premium. The standard edition includes products like Windows Server, Windows SharePoint Services, Exchange Server and Shared Fax Service. The premium edition includes all the offering of the standard edition plus SQL Server (included only with Premium Edition), ISA Server (included only with 2003 Premium Edition), and Office FrontPage (included only with 2003 Premium Edition). In the 2008 iteration of the SBS, Microsoft is doing away with the ISA server in the premium edition. Office Live Small Business also seems to be replacing the Frontpage offering in previous editions.

All these products have been optimized to work together on a single hardware. The great thing about the SBS is that the price tag for the whole suite is reasonable as it comes out to be a fraction of what you would have to pay if you were to buy the enterprise version of any one of the combined products. SBS is mostly for small businesses with 3 to about 50-75 users in an environment in need of comprehensive server software solutions. The maximum number of workstations that you can attach to a SBS is 75.

So what are the benefits? The Small Business Server:

  • provides a central and secure place where you can store business data
  • enables the provision of access to shared documents from anywhere, anytime, and any device
  • provides network security with internal firewall that is included with SBS
  • gives you an outlet for improving your business performance through collaboration tools included with SharePoint services
  • offers the ability to control critical updates on all your clients and servers with the built-in update server (WSUS)
  • provides protection for your business with backup solutions available with SBS (SBS 2008 can create clones of your drives as images)
  • lets you act like a big company and your network can grow with your company
  • is available at an affordable price for most small businesses.
  • The system requirements for SBS 2008 is radically different from what was needed to run SBS 2003. To successfully implement a SBS 2008 solution, you need:

  • CPU Speed:
    2 GHz (x64 processor) or faster for single core
    1.5 GHz or faster for multi-core
  • Memory:
    Minimum: 4 GB RAM
    Maximum: 32 GB
  • Hard Disk: 60 GB of available hard disk space
  • Display – Super VGA (800 x 600)
  • Other Devices – Ethernet NIC card, Keyboard and Mouse, high-speed Internet connection, Windows Vista, XP Professional operating system for clients
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