Thansksgiving Day Update on Things

Posted: November 25, 2010 in Exchange 2010, Hyper-v, SBS 2011, SBS 7, SharePoint Foundation 2010, Virtual Machine, vm, Windows 2003 Server, Windows 2008 Server, Windows 7

Happy Thanksgiving.  It is snowing, and temps have been in the teens for the last four or five days.  Predicted to turn into rain and get into the 40°s today, and everyone is overjoyed about – rain?  In Seattle?  No way.

Microsoft has announced that SBS 7 will end up as SBS 2011 and is due for release in December.  I have heard from a friend of a friend who knows someone who has a friend who heard it from a barista at Starbucks who is dating a guy who used to know someone who worked at a company that is located near Redmond that December 12 is the earliest.  Don’t take this to the bank.  Microsoft’s announcement also said that OEMs wouldn’t start shipping until around February.

Here are a few other items to note.

  1. Three flavors of SBS 2007
    • Basic – Code name Aurora in the beta test.  It is an on-premise server but integrated to Exchange and SharePoint 2010 in the cloud.
    • Standard – SBS 7 in beta test and what you got in SBS 2003/2008.  On premise server and Exchange and SharePoint running on that server.
    • Premium – A second Windows 2008 R2 license.
  2. Changes from SBS 2008
    • Windows 2008 R2 as the base level OS (instead of Windows 2008)
    • Exchange 2010 instead of Exchange 2007
    • SharePoint Foundation 2010 instead of SharePoint Services 3.0
    • Basic version with cloud integration
  3. Upgrading
    • No in-place upgrade.  Migration (both old and new systems running for a while) is the only option, if you currently have SBS 2003/2008.
    • You will need a 2nd server for the migration, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent home for the new OS.

I have several opinions about what to do if you upgrade that will not only make the migration a bit easier, but in fact will give you a more powerful and flexible infrastructure afterward.

  • Establish your new, target server as a virtual machine OS.  I am definitely a fan of Microsoft’s Hyper-v technology as it is free, works well, and is pretty straightforward to use.
  • If you have a license for Windows 2008 R2 or Windows 2008 (standard or above in either case), you can install that as your base OS for the hyper-v machine.  (If you have the Premium version of SBS, then you have a license for it, provided you migrate from a server where it is already installed, if that is the case).
  • If you don’t have a license, then you can use the free version of Hyper-v Server from Microsoft.  Note that there is no GUI for this version and you will have to access most tools from a Windows 7 or 2002/R2 client by installing remote management tools.  It is somewhat straight forward, but there are a few details involving firewalls on each side, etc.
  • You can convert your existing SBS 2003/2008 server to a virtual machine once you have created a Hyper-v enabled server, but I would do that ONLY if you want to free up the server hardware it is running to use in your new SBS 2011 installation.  Otherwise, leave it where it is.
  • Install SBS 2011 as a virtual machine.  Perform the migration.

I am a fan of this because having a virtual stack of machines around is handy, very handy. If you need to test something, just create a virtual machine in a matter of minutes.  I have a handful of different virtual machines already created with different OS and configurations, and I can create a new machine from one of these right away.  I simply copy the .vhd file for whatever configuration I need to a new area or with a new name, start that machine and it’s ready to go.  When the testing is done, I simply delete the .vhd file and delete the machine from Hyper-v manager.

I am going to devote a few postings in the upcoming weeks on setting up a hyper-v stack and how to use and manage it.  Come back and check it out.

Let me end with a strong suggestion:  SBS 2011 is a rock solid product, and the new features of SharePoint Foundation alone make it worth the upgrade cost and effort. If you are still running SBS 2003, what could you possibly be waiting for?  I see lots of environments where the hardware is iffy at best, there are always issues with Exchange, and SharePoint Services 2.0 is essentially ignored.  Look, your business depends on this stuff.

Would you keep a piece of machinery around without doing anything to it for 7 or 8 years?  And unlike machinery, getting new stuff is not only much faster, better and easier to use, but costs only a fraction of what it did when you8o first bought it.  That is an investment you should easily make.

Happy Thanksgiving


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