Not singing with the choir in 2008


I guess I am going to be the only SMB blogger not to say anything about SBS or EBS this week, wherever the Koolade was spiked I sure wasn’t around to drink it.

Microsoft Windows 2003 will be the last version of Small Business Server that Own Web Now offers en-masse.

Too big for smallbiz..

This was a strict business decision for us as an organization not to support Microsoft’s “integration” server projects because of the changing demands by the marketplace. On the low end, which finds SBS the most appealing, we are seeing budget crunches leaving customers with file servers and cloud hosting.

Too limiting for complex smb…

On a slightly more complex environments, we consider SBS a liability to our ability to get customers to grow at the pace and in the direction that they need to. Getting tangled up in wizardry limits an SBS clients ability to scale out components seamlessly – something that has cost us dearly with Exchange 2007’s introduction. Most clients that wanted Exchange 2007 were forced to wait because there was no quick way to rip out Exchange 2003 from SBS. Same with SharePoint v3, moving the team site from SBS to standalone was not easy.

SBS simplicity comes at a greater cost than its complexity..

The cost of migrating off SBS is far higher than the initial license savings and the setup costs. Since we are the ones designing, deploying, managing and integrating these solutions in the SMB we do not benefit from the benefits SBS brings to people that are not server admins. Our upcoming framework gives us central management of all assets, systems and configurations so the quirky ways in which SBS is setup (Transition Pack ring a bell) are far too costly.

For example, my team can have a full Exchange 2007 deployment completed within the hour. By comparison, a swing migration can take far more than that involving a lot more touches.

Solution sales, not product sales..

Going forward, we’re putting our might behind solutions and benefits, not products. Even in a limited choice of solutions SBS was not a very recognizable brand. With the new world of cloud everything, Google this, Zimbra that and so on we’re opting to sell on benefits and we felt more confident in our ability to deliver them on Windows 2008 server than SBS

It’s not about the price..

Complex small and midmarket environment is not very price sensitive. If they are, I can kill anyone with a hosted proposal and if thats what they want, thats what we provide.

SBS 2008 pricing is delicious, I will give them that, but our customers do not happen to be price sensitive. We are. Bulk of our project work is in midmarket and enterprise and there seemed to be very little in the SBS to make us want to train staff on it when we can just use the solutions SBS was built on. So we don’t get every trinket available, life goes on, in the long term we expect our cost of moving and growing off 2008 Standard, Enterprise and Virtualized to be far, far less than what they were with 2000, 2003 and our final move – to 2008.


I expect Susan to write a retraction to this and pick apart each point bit by bit as if it wasn’t made by someone who is responsible for thousands of Windows servers and runs a business aware of which parts of the products make money and which ones are losers 🙂 I’m not discouraging the use of SBS, just explaining why I (or we) feel that the opportunity for our company and cost to our partners is more beneficial with 2008 servers than SBS and EBS. If you are interested in looking anyhow, David has the best review of SBS 2008 so far.