Ok – so now that Microsoft have announced formal details of what is included with SBS 2008, the questions commence. Pre release information is always potentially inaccurate and it would appear that this is the case here too. So let’s try to clear up a few things so that you’re on the right track now with planning for SBS 2008.
SCE is gone…
The information before today’s release indicated that Microsoft would include System Centre Essentials (SCE) in the SBS Cougar product, but that’s now not the case. Here’s a quote from an internal Microsoft team member as to why it’s not included…
Q: Why did you decide not to include System Center Essentials in SBS 2008?
A: We are optimizing SBS for its core customers, small businesses with up to 50 desktops. The management tools included in SBS 2008 are optimized to meet this segment’s needs. We continue to do a lot of research and collect a great deal of small business customer and partner input throughout their product development decisions. Our goal is to integrate the right technologies at the right price, in a timely manner. System Center Essentials is a great product and it works with SBS. Should customers desire System Center Essentials functionality, it will be supported to run on the SBS network. Or, in some cases partners may use it to manage multiple instances of SBS across multiple clients.
ISA is gone…
Also missing is ISA from the SBS 2008 Premium product. This had been mentioned in passing at the SBS Migration conference in May 2007 as not being in the product by a senior SBS product Manager – and sure enough – it’s not there today. But is that really all that bad? I mean – the security gurus have often indicated that having your firewall on your domain controller is not recommended, but here in SBS land we’ve done that for some time. Personally, I have always put a 2nd firewall in front of my SBS servers anyway to blunt any attack and used ISA’s heavy duty application inspection capabilities to perform the real work. So is ISA not being there a big issue? Think of it another way. With SBS 2008 Premium, you have a 2nd Windows Server 2008 license (this could be either 32 or 64bit) and you could use this license on an older system e.g. the customers old SBS 2003 server) and purchase a copy of ISA 2006 Standard edition (which I think sells for around $1500 AUD) that will give you back the high level capabilities of ISA AND put it on a separate box as well therefore satisfying the security purists.
Two Network Card scenarios are gone…
Whilst not specifically mentioned today, but mentioned elsewhere already, the common two network card scenario that we’ve used for many years now is also history. We will run our SBS 2008 servers with a single network card now and a totally separate firewall. Apparently this is due to the way that the routing and firewall functions of Windows Server 2008 work vs anything else.
Tape Backup is gone…
Windows Server 2008 does not natively support tape backup. It supports backup to removable hard drive media only. They have done a lot in this area to improve things from a disaster recovery mechanism, but tapes are dead. Let’s hope that the cost and functionality of removable hard drives drops a fair bit over the next 6 months though, as $ per GB, tapes are still leaps and bounds cheaper than removable disks. And that’s not even taking into account the drop factor – i.e. – a hard drive dropped is likely to loose data or become damaged, where as a tape will suffer no such damage.
Ok – so start planning now that you know these 4 changes. You’ve got about 6 months (given the product will be released in the 2nd half of this year).
external hard drives have drop issues yes..but the iomega rev drive cartridges which are based on hdd technology do jsut fine. As a test i dropped one twenty times form a height of 6 feet and it continues working to this day nearly a year later..:)
Robert Crane says
No SCE? A client really isn’t going to care. For IT providers yeah, great, really helpful but esentially it looks like they are trying to reduce what software that actually resides on SBS. Is this a ‘dumbing down’ of SBS? Probably, because it seems that it is aimed at the smaller end of town. ie more towards the 5 users than the 50 users.
No ISA? Again, from a client’s point of view who cares? So many people have bagged ISA on SBS, without good reason I might say, that perhaps this is more a PR move. Again, the less software you have on SBS teh better it will run. There is little doubt that ISA was a ‘complicated’ piece of software from most clients perspectives. Again, is this a sign they are dumbing down SBS? ie users = SBS, Techos = centro.
2 NICs? Again, a single network card means less complications. If you need to do content filtering or complex port forwarding it is much better in an appliance device not on SBS. Again, I think this is aimed at making it easy for the consumer to buy off the shelf, plug in and have it working. if it doesn’t connect to the Internet then hey it ain’t SBS fault, it is the external firewall.
No tape backup. Interesting. Are clients likley to take external hard disks off site? Probably not. Can they store more data on external drives, sure can. Again, changing tapes is ‘too difficult’ for consumers, just hang a huge disk off the server and backup to that. Not smart but certainly caters to a consumer rather than a techie.
To me it appears SBS is being ‘dumbed down’ to be a small step up from Home Server. Microsoft want all the techies to sell Centro.
Just my opinion, which at times hasn’t been appreciated but hey I still give ’em out for free!
Joe Moore says
The removal of SCE is a great move for partners who are an MSP. While SCE works well, it does conflict with some of the tools that most MSPs already are using. And those who aren’t under a managed plan are unlikely to actually use SCE anyways so why “clutter” the system with more overhead.
We stopped selling tape drives a year ago. We go with disk-to-disk backup and provide removable drives that contain an entire weeks worth of data for off-site. The only reason we even consider tape anymore is for long-term archiving of data and even then only after the client dismisses other methods such as online hosted vaulting.
Leen Kleijwegt says
When the wind blows, the grass bends
We, resellers, will bend, but will our clients or prospects (64 bits, extra firewall or extra server if they want the same functionality)?
It is my experience that Small Businesses are difficult to convince that newer releases are better releases
I am very pleased with Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Premium Edition and so are my clients.
I added to the suite:
– Trend Micro C/S/M
– Backup Exec with a HP tapedrive
Almost all of my clients have 100% uptime over years now and experience a wealthy IT environment.