New installation SBS2003 Std or SBS2008 Std

Discussion in 'Windows Small Business Server' started by Tom Scott, May 8, 2009.

  1. Tom Scott

    Tom Scott Guest

    New client, I'm currently preparing a proposal to put in a new server et al
    to move them from a workgroup to a domain.

    They're a small creative design office, around 10 full time and 5
    freelancers - SBS would be an ideal platform for them.

    Literally I'm faced with a dilemma, I have no hands on with SBS 2008, plenty
    with SBS 2003 std and premium all the way back to SBS 4.0

    I have 11 sites with SBS2003, which over the past 3-4 years has been a
    proven stable platform for me and my clients.

    Recommending SBS2003 is a no brainer for me, it has plenty of support life
    left and will do everything this client will need in the next 3 years, but
    should I be specifying SBS 2008?

    What will SBS 2008 bring that SBS 2003 doesn't already offer a small design

    I'd appreciate any informed comment.
    Tom Scott, May 8, 2009
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  2. It seems to me that anything negative that's been said about SBS 2008 has
    involved problems deploying it into an existing SBS network. Even then,
    many of the problems can be attributed to failure to properly prepare for
    migration or follow the documented procedure. Doing a new, clean install
    should be no less simple or straight forward than SBS 2003.

    I love SBS 2003, but at this point I would unquestionably deploy SBS 2008.
    You may not see a "killer feature" in 2008, but I assure you that as you get
    to know it, you'll find many small features that you'll get a lot of value
    from. Especially in a new install, I don't like to use anything that's not
    current. As good as I find SBS 2003, there's no new development going on,
    it'll go off of support that much sooner, and eventually you'll find that
    there are features in the new product you'll wish you had.

    If I were in your situation, I would set up a test SBS 2008 box from scratch
    and see what you think. My bet is that you'll like it better than 2003, and
    although it's different and there will be some learning curve, your 2003
    knowledge will still serve you well in learning 2008. I think one
    experience of a new install will convince you that it's worth moving to
    2008, particularly for a new customer.
    Dave Nickason [SBS MVP], May 8, 2009
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  3. Some tangible improvements over SBS 2003 are:

    a) OWA in Exchange 2007
    b) the whole backup (and restore) story
    c) 64bit removes the 4 Gb ram limitation
    d) a few new pretty handy wizards - folder redirection; data relocation, fix
    my network
    e) Sharepoint v3
    f) RWW has a nice feel
    g) The vista (or win7) gadget is pretty cool ;-).
    Les Connor [SBS MVP], May 8, 2009
  4. Hi Tom,

    As you say, while SBS 2003 is a little long in the tooth, it can still be a
    rock solid performer for many small businesses. It can be a tough call to
    determine what is best for the client. I'm also presuming that you can get
    SBS 2003 and it's CALs at this time.

    Sean Daniel has a feature comparison list...

    What's Different between SBS 2003 and SBS 2008?

    SBS 2008 does not come with Outlook to use with each CAL. So, you would
    need to make sure that each workstation has a licensed copy of MS Office or
    Outlook (standalone) installed. OL 2007 is preferred with SBS 2008. SBS
    2008 does 1 NIC, so if you're used to setting up SBS 2003 with 2 NICs and a
    cheap NAT router, SBS 2008 will change the equation. A true hardware
    firewall/router may set you back $300-1500, and may require an additional
    yearly subscription for its feature set. SBS 2008 requires 64-bit server
    hardware, which most servers sold in the past few years support. However,
    it will require at least 6-12 GB RAM vs 2-4 GB RAM for a decent SBS 2003
    setup. SBS 2008 backup and restore is an improvement over sbs 2003 as far
    as ease of use, speed and quick restore are concerned. However, since the
    backup takes over the entire external drive (and the drive must be at least
    as large as the drive being backed up), there may be added costs in
    purchasing bigger external backup drives. SBS 2008 does not do tapes drives
    (these require 3rd party software). SBS 2008 Premium does not come with
    ISA. While SBS 2008 will do self-signed web certificates, purchasing a
    trusted certificate for a yearly fee is recommended (cost: $20 to 'several
    hundred dollars'). SBS 2008 Premium gives you some room to grow in that it
    provides an extra server license for a second server. The SBS 2008 vs SBS
    2003 'break even" point for the cost of (server software + CALs) is about 10

    For a 3 year horizon (but no longer), SBS 2003 will get the job done. As
    long as the client understands that they'll need to buy new hardware and SBS
    software in three years (and of course, your labor), you should be OK. Of
    course, that would give you time to learn SBS 2008, and/ort the next SBS
    version past that. However, if this client is forward thinking, is starting
    to integrate mobile devices into his business, and/or wants to have the
    latest technology, SBS 2008 would be the way to go. If the client has
    legacy business apps that won't play nice with Windows 2008, it might skew
    the playing field towards SBS 2003 (however, that second server with SBS
    2008 Premium may be able to help out here).
    Merv Porter [SBS-MVP], May 8, 2009
  5. Head nodding with others, and adding:

    If you are a partner your partner kits provide you with software to use in
    house to get up to speed. If you are not using/subscribing to partner
    software, the downloadable trial SBS 2008 can be extended for three
    additional cycles to give you 240 days to deploy and test it.

    Come on in, the waters fine!

    Please post the resolution to your
    issue so that others may benefit.

    Larry Struckmeyer [SBS MVP], May 8, 2009
  6. Tom Scott

    Mark Lasky Guest


    I would also make sure that all of their apps will run under Server 2008.
    There are some legacy apps that will not run under this new OS.......
    Mark Lasky, May 8, 2009
  7. Tom Scott

    Tom Scott Guest

    Thanks folks, a lot of food for thought, though I can't make any real
    decisions on what to recommend until I inventory the existing workgroup and
    file server.

    The only other difference in the system is router based anyway. They need a
    couple of isolated sockets for VOIP and Video Conferencing.

    I'm finding it hard to see anything really compelling in this version - a
    unique selling point like RWW that's going enthuse the client, but that's
    available in SBS2003 and is cheaper.

    It also handles mobile services reasonably well, across the clients I have a
    mix of IPhones, Windows mobiles and Blackberry's connecting without too much
    of a drama, I have spam under control with Exchange SP2 and Petri's sage

    Backups has it's anomalies, but isn't a deal breaker.

    If Exchange 2008 toolkit offered me better management and control I'd be

    OWA isn't as big a feature

    I'd also be happier if there was better cross platform integration - i.e.
    Mac - Entourage is a beast no matter which way you cut it, and while network
    set up is reasonably straight forward - it is not as robust as it could be.

    I have a feeling I'll be ending up with a few splinters in the posterior
    before this is out.
    Tom Scott, May 8, 2009
  8. Tom Scott

    Leythos Guest

    The BAD -

    1) 32bit printer drivers are not easy to install in comparison to how we
    did it on 2003.

    2) Logon scripts to map drives are no longer needed (see in THE GOOD)

    3) More CPU and More MEMORY needed

    4) There have been some unstable updates that generate errors in the
    event log, but the system still works.

    5) You need to download and install the Group Policy Update
    Custom/Optional component for XP workstations.

    6) Easier management tools - not really a bad, but not like SBS 2003, so

    7) RWW now has a pop-up box and it has to stay open, so you have your
    Remote IE screen, then a RWW pop-up, then your RD session - you can kill
    the Remote screen, but you have to leave the RWW pop-up open.

    The GOOD:

    1) Logon scripts to Map drive are done by a simple GUI now.

    2) Backups to USB drives work and restoring it very, very, very, very,
    simple and it actually works without any problems

    3) Easier management tools that seem to work properly and offer more
    control than the 2003 ones did.

    4) Computer Security and updates actually works out of the box

    5) Can use more memory, since the 32 bit barrier is not there any longer
    - start with at LEAST 6GB RAM, 8GB of you try and run SQL on the same

    6) It virtualizes well - I was able to smoothly run a Windows 2003
    Server as a web server, SBS 2008 Std, Vista Ultimate and XP Prof all on
    the same Dual Xeon box with 16GB RAM and it was painless. This was a
    test box only, no real production work.
    Leythos, May 8, 2009
  9. Tom Scott

    Tom Scott Guest

    Thanks everyone.
    Tom Scott, May 8, 2009
  10. Tom Scott

    David Levine Guest

    TechNet Plus is your friend!


    David Levine, May 11, 2009
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