Windows

10 things you should know about Microsoft Small Business Server 2011

Windows Small Business Server 2011 has arrived, bringing with it some significant changes. Erik Eckel discusses what's new and explains some of the more complex aspects of this release.

Microsoft's Small Business Server has changed the way numerous small organizations administer Windows networks. Each new version has introduced important changes. For example, Exchange 2003 services debuted with the 2003 platform, and Hyper-V licensing with the '08 iteration. These changes have significantly affected small businesses and the IT professionals who support them. Windows Small Business Server 2011 continues that tradition with many important changes of its own.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: It's out

Microsoft has released Windows Small Business Server 2011. As of this writing, it's SBS 2011 Standard and the optional SBS 2011 Premium Add-on. Microsoft lists the release date for SBS 2011 Essentials as 1H 2011.

2: Two editions exist

According to Microsoft, two SBS 2011 editions exist. However, most IT professionals will view the SBS 2011 lineup as including three versions. That's because Microsoft considers the SBS 2011 Premium Add-on (at $1,604) to be just that: an add-on component (to the $1,096 Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard platform) and not a separate edition. The other edition, the $545 Windows SBS 2011 Essentials package, has a 25-user limit.

3: Premium adds SQL

The SBS 20112 Premium Add-on adds SQL to Microsoft's Small Business Server platform. Larger SMBs and home offices that must run centralized databases will require the upgrade if they want to leverage line-of-business applications needing SQL Server. With the add-on, the SBS platform receives SQL Server 2008 R2 for Small Business, which has the same capabilities as SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard but is for specific use within the SBS 2011 environment.

4: Additional servers require Premium

Organizations needing to deploy additional servers within their SBS environment must purchase the SBS 2011 Premium Add-on. The add-on includes a Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard license, which enables deploying a second server on a Windows Small Business Server 2011 network. The Premium Add-on also enables adding virtual servers running within a Hyper-V environment in an SBS 2011 network.

5: Downgrade rights are complex

SBS 2011 downgrade rights are complicated, at least at first glance. Beginning with SBS 2011 Essentials, no downgrade rights exist.

Moving to SBS 2011 Standard provides full package product (FPP) and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers with the option to downgrade to SBS 2008 Standard. But SBS 2011 Standard FPP/OEM customers must have access to SBS 2008 installation media and product keys when doing so. Volume licensing customers (VLC) are eligible to downgrade to SBS 2008, but they can obtain installation media and product keys through the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).

Microsoft encourages customers to explore volume licensing when purchasing SBS 2011. That's clear when viewing SBS 2011 Premium Add-on downgrade rights, which don't exist for FPP and OEM customers. However, SBS 2011 Premium Add-on licenses purchased through Redmond's volume channel are eligible for downgrade to Windows Server 2008 Standard, with media and keys available through VLSC.

6: SBS 2011 leverages Exchange 2010 SP1 engine

Thanks to the power of Microsoft's Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1, email services included in SBS 2011 are robust. Included Outlook Web Access (OWA) services mimic Microsoft Office Outlook more than previous versions. An improved Microsoft Exchange Management Console provides a single location for administering user email. The power of Exchange 2010's advanced retention policies and deployment rules, and new archiving options, all become available on the SBS platform with the 2011 edition, as does automatic mailbox and database corruption detection and repair.

7: SBS 2011 offers WSUS 3:0 SP2

Many IT professionals and business owners were confounded by original versions of Windows Server Update Services, which among other issues, had a tendency to consume gigabytes of disk space, often on incorrectly partitioned C volumes. SBS 2011 benefits from WSUS 3.0 Service Pack 2, which simplifies patch and update management. Windows 7 support is included, as is BranchCache, which enables storing file and Web server content at branch locations to reduce WAN traffic. Numerous other performance enhancements and bug fixes are also included in the SP2 version.

8: SBS 2011 Essentials requires no CALs

Windows SBS 2011 Essentials requires no client access licenses (CALs). Yes. You read that right. SBS 2011 Essentials requires no CALs. Microsoft must have discovered that small offices don't track CALs well and are simply confused by the concept. SBS 2011 Essentials includes those costs within its server OS license, further simplifying deployment and administration within small organizations.

9: SBS 2011 Essentials maxes at 25 users/PCs

Proving there are almost always catches, the SBS 2011 Essentials platform supports only 25 users or PCs at any one time and no more. While CAL requirements are eliminated within the SBS 2011 Essentials edition, the platform can't be used in larger offices. Interesting, SBS 2011 Standard and Premium Add-on CALs suites are not concurrent, meaning separate CALs are required for every user accessing the SBS 2011 server. Microsoft has an excellent FAQ, providing more licensing information, on its Web site.

10: SBS 2011 leverages SharePoint Foundation Services 2010

Many organizations depend upon the SBS platform to enable collaboration among their teams. The SBS 2011 release includes Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Services 2010 to fuel secure online internal communication. The newest SharePoint version helps organizations reduce costs by consolidating multiple sites on an intranet administered locally, which makes it easier to share files and coordinate calendars. It also includes native monitoring, alert, and administration tools.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

19 comments
katewilliam
katewilliam

Thank you for the great help in understanding the Small business server support and i am happy to be a part of this community.

mstevens
mstevens

I want to install Windows SBS Standard 2011. I have two servers. One server A, I install Premium Add-on and run Hyper-V to host Windows Standard SBS 2011 in a VOSE and second instance of Premium Add-on in VOSE. On Server B, I install a second purchased copy of Premium Add-on joined to Windows SBS Standard 2011 domain hosted on Server A. Can I run two instances of Premium Add-on in my Windows SBS Standard 2011 network?

GraemeLeggett
GraemeLeggett

May have the all new Exchange 2010 with OWA and "improved Microsoft Exchange Management Console " (read - new way of working that splits everything into two separate areas. Including no more integration with the AD interface - eg add user (AD), add mailbox (EMC) but its not a way to upgrade your users to the same version of Outlook.

slconsultingsvc
slconsultingsvc

What are those of you whom are implementing SBS for your customers using for SPAM filtering?

1DaveN
1DaveN

You can add a regular Windows Server to an SBS domain, or you can add Foundation if you qualify (15 user max). You don't have to get the SBS Premium Add-on unless you benefit from SQL.

echavez
echavez

Reading Microsoft's comparisons it seems that SBS Essentials doesn't include Exchange. It only states using cloud technologies. Is that correct? Even with a SOHO some email functionality is needed.

KeithTT
KeithTT

There is no reason whatsoever to use this word in computing. It's use implies forcing a gap to insert something else. This is never the case. In section 3 "leverage" should be replaced by "run". I've never "leveraged" my applications, but I have run them. In section 6 and 10 "leverage" should be replaced by "includes". Let's cut the use of nonsensical words in computing.

ScarF
ScarF

11. It continues to support 75 users only. 12. There is no more SBS break available - you need to purchase all the licenses for the components and CALs. Go anywhere near 75 users and you may shut it down and use it as a (virtual) brick. Plus, there is no longer an upgrade available from the older versions since MS changed - again - the licensing "model" to Open License and Open Value and SW Assurance and other weird concepts with strange implementations making a miserable life to anyone trying to understand what the heck is he paying for.

Breakingcustom
Breakingcustom

I didn't think WSUS was available with the Essentials version?

gechurch
gechurch

Ignoring the virtualisation for the moment, it sounds as though all you want to do is run one server with SBS 2011 and have a second joined to the SBS domain. That's fine - the SBS 2011 Standard license gives you the right to install SBS on server A, and the premium add-on includes a copy of Server Standard 2008 R2 you can install on server B. There's no need to purchase two instances of the premium add-on (and even if you wanted to add in a new server, you would just purchase a retail copy of Server Standard rather than buying a second copy of the premium addon). Now to deal with the virtualisation aspect. I don't know all the ins and outs of Hyper-V, but my understanding is that the 1+1 rights let you install Hyper-V on server A, then install Windows on top of that.

gechurch
gechurch

I'm having trouble figuring out what you're trying to say, but I take it you don't like the decoupling of ADUC and Exchange? This is a logical step from a software development point of view, but I agree it was convenient. SBS is fine though, since it provides the SBS Console which is the place where you now set up users, and it creates the user in AD and creates their mailbox in the one step, just like ADUC used to in 2003. I'm totally unsure what you are saying about Outlook. There has never been such a thing as an Outlook CAL; it's an Exchange CAL. SBS CALs include the Exchange CAL (except for Essentials, which doesn't use Exchange). This all has nothing to do with upgrading all users to the same version of Outlook. That's like upgrading your web server software, then complaining because it didn't upgrade all your web site viewers browsers to IE9.

GraemeLeggett
GraemeLeggett

For our setup (on the advice from the 3rd party setting it up) we are replacing GFI with Barracuda Firewall 100. I'm assured it's competent, but in terms of configuration , working with AD (you need the much more expensive Firewall 300 for that), and user operarion/experience GFI Mail Essentials/Mail Security is superior but perhaps I'm just resistant to change. On the plus side, the Barracuda is a small (no user serviceable parts) rack box that just needs plugging in - though I have read it turns into a brick if you stop paying for the updates/licence.

gechurch
gechurch

Hosted anti-spam all the way! I have used several different anti-spam solutions in the past and they are all a pain. I used to find IMF worked ok, but in the last 12 months or so heaps of spam seems to get through, which is a problem since you get virtually no configuration options. We use a hosted anti-spam (we're in Australia and use Firstwave). It is nothing short of brilliant. I get maybe 4 spam items hit my Inbox each year. It costs about $30/mailbox per year which for the customers I look after (typically < 25 users) is cheaper than me managing something. Having hosted also means that there is no chance of users getting virus attachments in emails, and it takes some load off the servers. I thoroughly recommend getting a hosted solution.

stephen
stephen

I have used Sophos Security Suite Small Business Edition on both SBS 2003 and SBS 2008. It seems to work well with Exchange and is a good AV solution too.

timwaring
timwaring

Essentials doesnt include Exchange because they want these very small companies that would use this to use cloud emails services, such as Microsofts own hosted exchange mail service. it would mean that you could go with cheaper hardware as you dont need 4-10GB RAM for exchange.

intreb
intreb

There is no reason whatsoever to attack the use of a word when you don't fully understand the word and make no effort to confirm that your own opinion on the word's use is actually factual. - to use (a quality or advantage) to obtain a desired effect or result: ex. She was able to leverage her travel experience and her gift for languages to get a job as a translator.

Chug
Chug

I'm curious about this myself. WSUS is a separate standalone piece of software. We've been using it on SBS 2003 for years. We are on the WSUS 3.0 SP2 already. Other than it being pre-packaged in the installation of SBS 2011, I don't see the big deal on this. Even if they don't pre-package it with Essentials, I can't imagine they explicitly stop you from installing it separately. If they do, I need to know that because it will make Essentials useless for us. (We have several SBS 2003 servers but were recently forced to move their e-mail to a contracted 3rd party hosted Exchange for legal compliance. The time to upgrade these servers is coming and we were wondering what to do now that we no longer needed Exchange on the local server. We could do just regular Windows Server Standard, but we like the simplified wizards with SBS, and the remote desktop web interface that SBS provides for the users, and for us to remotely access the SBS server. So I was thrilled to see Essentials now, but I'm partially afraid it will over-simplify things more than we want. I've got the Essentials Release Candidate demo so plan to play with that.)

GraemeLeggett
GraemeLeggett

What I was trying to get at was that some installations of SBS are in workplaces with collection of workstations bought at different times with OEM installs of office and hence different versions. The inclusion of an Outlook licence with SBS meant that at least there was only one version of Outlook to support. I know the intention is that OWA is supposed to be so good that you don't really need Outlook but it really isn't. (there may be a way of setting sharing on selected folders from OWA but I haven't found it yet.) Of course some of this may be me adapting to the change....