Goodbye, SBS

Posted: August 4, 2012 in SBS 2008, SBS 2011
Tags: , , , , ,

Perhaps you missed the news from Microsoft.  From the FAQs on the Server 2012 web page, here are some pertinent questions and answers: click here to go to the page



To put some details on it, from the same page, here is the licensing summary:

If you want Exchange and SharePoint, there are two ways to get it.  First, use 2012 Standard or Datacenter versions, but separate Exchange and SharePoint licenses, and install and set them up separately.  Or, use Essentials which supports Office 365.  Up to 25 users, that is.

Why would Microsoft make this abrupt change after finally developing a quite robust, capable version of SBS in 2011?  Is is that they would like to push SMB users to Office 365?  Well, that would be fine, but to limit it to 25 users makes absolutely no sense.  Perhaps there is a technical reason for this limit, and I for one would welcome knowing about it.  Or a marketing reason?  Perhaps no one is left who gets SMB users and their needs.

Many SBS users tenaciously cling to SBS 2003, but if there were any better reason to migrate to 2011 besides that it won’t soon be available any longer, I cannot image one.  Nor the idea that Microsoft is locking these users into not upgrading for another decade.

Oh, and be sure and contact me for some help if you need it!


  1. Scott says:

    When does SBS2011 stop being sold? I will need to get all of my clients onto it before we are FORCED onto a cloud service or a full version of Exchange (not likely given the cost). In my view this is a BIG mistake as most of my clients are more than 25 users. Microsoft, you have really pissed off this loyal MS administrator!!


  2. Scott-

    I don’t know for certain, but the ship date for Windows 8 and Server 2012 is mid- to late October, about the 22nd or 24 but that is from memory. I wouldn’t wait very much longer.

    Your comments, I fear, reflect many of our feelings. Not only is the limit on Essentials questionably low, all of the integration and ease of configuration of SBS just goes down the tube.

    I have been through many marketing battles with my own entities and as advisors to others where there was natural tension between higher priced licenses targeted to larger enterprises and the small fry. I might choose to characterize it this way: I called a now retired VP who was in charge of SMB at Microsoft before leaving a few years ago and gave him a heads up on this issue. His response was something like “If Apple can gather enough talent to build something for small domain users that is compatible with Windows (and he and I are aware they have their toes in the water) it will be game over.” I wouldn’t hold my breath for Apple to be the white knight; they are a consumer products company, not a computer company, and their key pillars for a product are classy looks, simplicity, and build an ecosystem. None of that in this arena.

    We are all a bit cast adrift until we know more.


  3. firebits74 says:

    This morning I had a support call regarding a corrupt .ost file in Outlook. Simple fix however it does remind me of why an onsite Exchange server is important. A new 4Gb offline storage file is no big deal on 1Gbps ethernet, but a nightmare on most modest ADSL lines, imagine the impact of the normal day to day stuff that can happen with i.e. users. I’ve had calls before because someone’s mailbox size is all of a sudden exceeded as they have did something silly, corrupt .ost files are not uncommon, as is someone accidentally importing an excessively large .pst file. I have never been SBS’s biggest fan, even though I have rolled out dozens of them over the last decade. However Office 365 is not the way forward yet until very high speed dedicated internet access is common place. True that sharepoint has been neglected by 99% of my user base (they just don’t get it!) and with all the cloud apps that do it simpler and better, sharepoint, a huge unused resource hog on any SBS server, it won’t be missed. Exchange however is the jewel in the SBS crown, without it all thats left (for me) is active directory and VSS. I have a Synology NAS box here locally that does everything else well i.e. VPN, SMB Share, web server, DHCP, DNS, apps etc. OSX Server (mac mini) and NAS devices with their unlimited users and a directory service make a compelling alternative to essentials in a lot of small LAN’s where SBS would have been an automatic choice beforehand, if you are being forced to look elsewhere for your mail server. Not to say that Office 365 should be the automatic mail server choice either. Gmail would do in many environments, and does Kerio Connect run on SBS essentials? I don’t see why not! It will run very well on Mac and Linux! If essentials was less restricted to say 50 users and 100 devices, maybe it would be more palatable but is AD and VSS enough to justify it on such a small user base? errrrr…… no. If you need AD, get standard. If you need VSS, get standard. The withdrawal of SBS Standard makes you look at alternatives of course, but not necessarily other Microsoft products.


  4. You make some interesting points. Confusion in the marketplace, not to mention voids, generally creates opportunities. I would frankly look elsewhere for them to arise other than today’s alternatives, such as gmail.

    Here is what I would suggest. Buy and deploy SBS 2011 or migrate to it ASAP. Given that a very sizable installed base is still on SBS 2003, users are likely to have a decade give or take to consider options. I would consider it a gft and sizable opportunity.


  5. Jeffrey, Upstate NY says:

    Microsoft products generally come with downgrade rights. Therefore, all licensees with SA for Server 2012 ought to download and save the media and product keys for SBS 2011 now if they plan to upgrade to SBS 2011 from an earlier version after Server 2012 is released.

    Keep in mind that at some point, support for SBS 2011 will end, which will probably be in 2021. Windows Server 2003 support (including SBS 2003) is scheduled to end in 2015.


  6. I would be surprised, based on the FAQ answers, if 2012 products will ever look back to SBS as a downgrade. But I agree 2011 will be usable for a decade. I think the net effect for users will be to encourage them to migrate to 2011 and stay there for a decade.


  7. Rick Samuelson says:

    Nice blog!

    Since Outlook 2013 won’t work with Exchange 2003, I’m sure many SBS 2003 customers will discover quite by accident that they’ll have to upgrade. After setting up their shiny new computer with Office 2013 preinstalled, they’ll find that they’ll either have to purchase a license for an earlier version of Outlook, upgrade Exchange or migrate to Office 365. Furthermore, since Outlook 2003 won’t work with Office 365 or Exchange 2013, they may need to upgrade a few more desktops too. I haven’t tested co-existence of Office 2013 (without Outlook installed) with an earlier version of Outlook, so I’m not sure if the first of the three options above will work.

    For SMB customers that prefer on-premise Exchange, we’re considering Hyper-V with Server 2012 and Exchange 2013. Server 2012 licensing allows for two VM’s, so we’ll configure one to host AD, file sharing, etc. and a second to host Exchange. Our experience with this configuration has been positive so far, but we’ve still got a few things to work out, such as backing up multiple VM’s to external drives without losing support for BMR, retention (Shadow Copy), and offsite rotation.

    Keep up the good work!


  8. I have moved almost all of my SBS 2011 users from on premise Exchange to Office 365. I went from being adamantly against Office 365 to highly supportive of it as a solution, especially once you get post-upgrade (as all new accounts are). Let me caution you that for LAN users connected to SBS 2011, Office 365 autodiscovery will NOT work. In fact, even if you configure Outlook to manually use an Office 365 mailbox, SBS will automatically overwrite the server name to its own each time it applies policies. I have a fix for that that O365 support did not, and I will post it in the upcoming week or so. I am accumulating lots of O365 material to post about, but honestly have been so busy doing conversions and sorting all this out that I have not had a chance to post recently.

    To my devoted readers, I apologize.

    I am currently in the weeds on replacing several SBS 2003 servers with Server 2012. Although this is a topic for another post, I can tell you roughly how it is done:

    1. Install 2012 on a new server, join to the domain and promote to a DC (do not look for dcpromo, it is gone the way of SBS)
    2. Migrate shared folders other than those relating to SBS only functions to the 2012 box
    3. Set up new shared entities, like printers and their drivers, on 2012
    4. Remove Exchange from SBS 2003 as you want it out of AD
    5. Check to make sure logon scripts and GPO have replicated successfully
    6. Check to see if WSUS is set up for 2012; you may have to create some new policies to include computers
    7. DCPRMO SBS 2003 out of the domain

    In the upcoming post, I will include more detailed information.

    As for hyper-v, I am a huge fan and even more so on 2012. That said, I have to caution you to be wary of the licensing requirements. As Microsoft has conveyed it to me, if you have 2012 Standard, you will require an additional 2012 Standard license for TWO virtual machines, and for each subsequent TWO. That’s pretty pricey especially compared to SBS licensing. Or spring for a datacenter edition and have all the VMs you want, provided you can still afford a server to run it on.

    But there is good news in all of that. Server 2012 Hyper-v is a non-gui free version of Server 2012 that allows you to run all you can eat VMs. You can administer it from other 2012 servers or from Windows 8 or from the command line like interface.

    That said, I am quite pleased with what Hyper-v brings to the table in 2012.

    I will try and get to those posts soon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s