Details of SBS 2008 were announced earlier this week and as part of that the Premium Edition was announced. SBS 2008 Premium will include a second Windows Server 2008 32 or 64bit Standard Server license. In addition, you get SQL 2008 Server STANDARD edition as well. What does this really mean though. Let’s look at it from a few angles.
SQL 2008 Server STANDARD – yes – I put it in capitals to emphasis the point that it is the STANDARD edition and not the workgroup edition that we had in SBS 2003 Premium. How many of you had vendors that would not support their application on SBS 2003 Premium simply because it was SQL Workgroup edition? Well now you’ve got a way to move forwards. I surely hope that Microsoft will be smart enough to offer downgrade rights to SQL 2005 STANDARD edition as well given that at launch many vendors in the SMB space will not even have considered testing their applications on SQL 2008. In fact, it’s only recently that we are seeing some vendors here in Australia acknowledge that they support SQL 2005!
Ok – so does the SQL 2008 Server STANDARD HAVE to be on the 2nd box – well – no. You could install it on the SBS server if your server has enough capacity (RAM/CPU etc) and therefore leave the 2nd Server for other things. What could you do with a 2nd server? How about a branch office server for a remote office? Tie it in with a hardware site to site VPN and you could make it a local DC, File and Print server and the like. Alternately you could use the 2nd physical server at head office and install ISA on it… oh – that’s right, they don’t have ISA 2006 support for Windows Server 2008 – ok – that nix’s that idea. hopefully they might think to provide downgrade rights for the W2008 server to W2003 R2 as well – that way we could also use the server for applications that are not supported on W2008 Server (and yes there will be those app’s that just don’t run on W2008)
Virtualisation – how does this apply with SBS 2008 and the 2nd server. Well – Given that the SBS 2008 has Windows Server 2008 Standard edition in it, it would be licensed to run ONE virtual instance of Windows Server 2008 ON the SBS 2008 server itself (assuming that Microsoft do not change this specifically for SBS that is). That could easily be a Windows Terminal Server (you need to purchase TS CAL’s of course) for a lightly loaded environment – think about it – no need to purchase extra server hardware just to run a terminal server for 2 or 3 users. That’s a great cost saving for the client.
What about Virtualisation on the SBS 2008 Premium Edition then? Well technically unless Microsoft change the licensing specifically for SBS, you would be entitled to run 2 physical W2008 Servers and 2 Virtual W2008 Servers (one on each physical instance). Just think about what you could do with that.
So when you’re planning out your SBS 2008 installs, have a think about some of the things I’ve mentioned above. The enhancements in licensing with Virtualisation really do make for some interesting ideas that we can use to help our customers business get the most out of technology.
FOOTNOTE: I was asked by another MVP about the Windows Server 2008 Virtualisation licensing on Standard Server. Here’s links to the source of that information
FOOTNOTE #2: Microsoft have not finalised the supported virtualisation and downgrade scenarios at this point. They will formerly release this information closer to launch date.