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Windows Small Business Server 2003 Dedicated Server

Posted on 2004-09-18
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Hey all -

I've done a lot of searching online, and I can't find anyone who's offering dedicated servers running Windows 2003 SBS for a reasonable price (<= $100 or so per month). I want to have Server 2003 stuff available to me, like Sharepoint Services, but I like the fact that SBS includes other stuff, particularly Exchange. I'm confused about why virtually no one offers SBS, just Win 2003 Standard and Web.... SBS is way cheaper than Standard. There are plenty of Windows 2003 Standard servers online for something like $89-$120.

So, in short, does anyone know where I can get a SBS dedicated server somewhere in the US for around the price range I'm talking about? Or does anyone work for someone who does (or would) offer this?

Thanks.
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Question by:hfjeremy
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by:humeniuk
ID: 12095807
You may have a point that this is a niche in the market that isn't being supplied.  Dedicated Windows servers tend to be more expensive than Linux servers primarily because they cost more.  Likewise, Exchange hosting can be quite expensive.  You would think that if someone could offer SBS with Exchange (& Sharepoint) for a reasonable price, they would, but like you, I only know of these services being offered separately or for a very high monthly cost.
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by:hfjeremy
ID: 12095858
Yeah, exactly. And IIRC, SBS 2003 has been out for nearly a year now; I'd understand a bit more if it were only a month or two old. It seems like a perfect opportunity for hosting companies to offer more stuff for a lower cost, and I'm baffled as to how people specifically in that business aren't jumping on it. Maybe there's something in the licensing or network requirements that makes it hard for them the way they have things set up (it has to be primary domain controller; there can be only one SBS per domain; etc.). Also, I believe it comes with 5 Outlook client licenses... I wonder how they'd manage that in terms of reusing the CALs when there's customer turnover.

-Jeremy
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by:humeniuk
ID: 12096570
That's possible.  The whole rationale behind SBS is setting a price point that small businesses can afford.  Relative to the cost of Standard Edition plus Exchange, you really do get a lot with SBS.  Perhaps, when it comes to hosting companies, MS has set up the licensing structure in such a way that it discourages user of SBS or simply makes it unavailable.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 75 total points
ID: 12270005
The reason you don't see a lot of people offering SBS as a web service is because of the nature of the product.  While the retail purchase price of SBS is less than Windows Standard, it's not the same thing due to having all those different servers running in the same box (Server 2003, IIS, Active Directory, SharePoint, Exchange, SQL).  As mentioned above SBS's licensing limitations would make it almost impossible to implement in a hosting environment.  Because it must be the Primary Domain Controller for a root domain, and it doesn't support domain trusts, a data center would actually have to register a separate domain for each server, plus have a large enough IP block to keep them far away from eachother.  Basically a data center nightmare.

There's a company here in the bay area which offers hosted SBS, but at around $500.00/month I wonder how much business they are getting.  I fully understand their costs (based on some of the things I noted above... plus, I own a web hosting company and am a Small Business Server consultant), and I wouldn't even try to enter that market.  It's much better for my clients to have their own machine, which I manage for them remotely (for $150.00/month).  SBS is phenomenal for its market (single office companies with under 50 PCs), but those who try to use it in situations for which it's not designed will find themselves phenomenally frustrated.

While you didn't state the reasons for seeking a hosted solution, so I'm not entirely sure which SBS features are important to you.  However, I still think there are a couple of options for you:

1.  Lease a server.  You can get a HP or Dell server with SBS preinstalled for less than $100.00 easily.

2.  Don't use Exchange.  Intermedia offers a $59.95/month Windows server that includes Sharepoint Services.  Mail is handled by a .asp email server but you still have email features.  Many other included features, but certainly not the plethora of features found in SBS 2003.  (for instance, when SharePoint is installed, it creates a pre-configured "companyweb" suited to small businesses).

Jeff
TechSoEasy
{{promotional url removed - ee_ai_construct, cs admin}}
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by:andyalder
ID: 12271964
Buy online HP DL 350 G4 with 3 *36 GB drives 1GB RAM SBS pre-installed and a 72GB tape drive comes out at $103/month on their website - bound to be Dells and IBMs for lease at similar price. Are you expecting it to be available at a co-lo/hosting site at that price or is it for in your office?
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by:chief77
ID: 12314210
The reason as to why there isn't any Windows SBS 2003 hosting solution is because, an SBS 2003 installation only allow single domain.

Although, a customised package that a webhost can do is, package Windows 2003 IIS hosting plus Hosted Exchange 2003 service. That'll be ideal but sadly, no one has invent this wheel yet (Microsoft or anyone, potential good market gap here to fill...)


If that option is available, I too would like to go with that plan...

(i'm on my path to build my own SBS 2003 at home for IIS web and Exchange email and DC too)

Kel.
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by:humeniuk
ID: 12315152
Yes, although both IIS and Exchange that come with SBS can host multiple domains.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 12317825
Yes, they can host multiple domains... but there is still a limit of 75 CAL's.  The main point is that SBS is designed for a specific market niche... one that has over 3,000,000 potential customers in the US alone... so I think they're approaching it rather well.  The server is designed to be an on-site solution, because it is also a print server, fax server, file server, active directory... and (you didn't hear it from me) the next version will most likely have a PBX (phone/voice mail) server as well... everything that a company of under 30 people or so would need to handle their operation.

As for the "at home" idea... I think that's the untouched market for SBS... I have one in my house, and recommend them for many of my clients for home use.  Especially because the HP ML110 @ $399.00 works just fine for home use.

TechSoEasy
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by:humeniuk
ID: 12318367
<< Yes, they can host multiple domains... but there is still a limit of 75 CAL's >>
Which would be applicable to Exchange users or users who need other forms of authentication.  If you're primarily using it as a web server (where the CAL's aren't really going to apply), Web Edition is cheaper.

<< The server is designed to be an on-site solution, because it is also a print server, fax server, file server, active directory... >>
A very good point.  When you consider the features, the intended use and target market is pretty clear.  It's a very good (and affordable) solution for a small office.
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 75 total points
ID: 12318708
All the options included with SBS are available through ASPs anyway, take the list at www.crowcanyon.com/ExchangeASP.htm for example. There aren't so many that provide sharepoint, http://myhosting.com/ApplicationHosting/ and a handful of others. The thing is that none of them use SBS since they host multiple customers on one server farm which far exceeds the limits of SBS.
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by:hfjeremy
ID: 12328215
Yeah, I'd pretty much figured that all these things would be problems with dedicated servers (mostly the domain issues). And I agree that the thing is meant to be on-site, to serve as the all-in-one server for a small office. I'd absolutely love to use it that way, and I realize that I can get a pretty cheap server running it for just such a purpose, from Dell or others. The problem is that I'm trying to organize a project among 4 people, and we're not at the same location; I mostly need the server for IIS, FTP, a deployment and code versioning environment, and ideally Sharepoint... but if I'm setting all that up, I want to move my mail server from where it's currently being hosted, and instead utilize Exchange so that we can all share calendars, tasks, and other stuff.

I'd host it here, but I'm on cable -- I'd have to pay quite a bit more to move up to business class, and RR's first tier of business class doesn't even increase bandwidth (it just guarantees a fixed IP).

I just didn't want to have to pay an ASP layered costs for the server, Exchange, Sharepoint, etc. when for my purposes SBS does everything I need, and for a lower price than Win2k3 Server. It seems like I'd be able to finance a Dell SBS, and then have it colocated, but it seems like the overall price will be higher that way. And is it even possible? If I could colocate my OWN SBS somewhere, why couldn't the colocation place offer dedicated servers with that same setup ready to go in the first place?

-Jeremy
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by:humeniuk
ID: 12328248
Not to mention the fact that co-location can be as expensive as leasing a dedicated server.  
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by:andyalder
ID: 12328851
Indeed, I don't think you'll find a co-lo for less than $50/month/U with you supplying the server, you could always get SBS hosted at www.havenco.com/ for $750 per month, they'll setup one of their 1U servers with just about whatever you want on it for that price!
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by:humeniuk
ID: 12329154
Makes a business class account with RR look a little more reasonable, doesn't it?
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 12331615
Yeah... if you want your business critical data on a server that's in CYPRUS.

jeremy... since I already got chided for putting in a promotional link above, i'll be careful with this post... there are a number of open source alternatives to sharpoint which will accomplish what you are looking for... MANY hosting companies (including mine) offer these add-on scripts (scripts is unix-speak for "program") at little or no additional charge (contact me if you want to know the details... but basically, you can accomplish the whole thing for under $200.00/year).

Take a look at http://www.dotproject.net and http://www.phprojekt.com.  Both of these scripts are included among the 50 or so which are part of Fantastico (see http://www.netsoeasy.com/fantastico.html for the full list).  Of course you'd also get a full web hosting account (accomplishes your IIS need... and with Mono, you can now host .aspx pages on Unix), and email (accomplishes your Exchange need... plus the project scripts have full calendering, etc).

It's all pretty easy to do... just go with a company that is reputable and keeps your data private and secure.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:andyalder
ID: 12333544
Cyprus? I realise it is an exorbitant price but it's not in Cyprus. Anyway it doesn't help hfjeremy since they're not going to be able to rent a 1U server, or even a blade, with SBS on it for less that $100.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 12334949
Queried whois.opensrs.net with "havenco.com"...

Registrant:
 HavenCo Limited
 Box 53104
 Doma Building
 227 Archbishop Makarios III Avenue
 Limassol, Cyprus CY-3300
 CY

 Domain name: HAVENCO.COM


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humeniuk earned 100 total points
ID: 12351674
In addition to Windows dedicated servers from $69/mo, 1and1 offers Sharepoint hosting and Exchange hosting.

Sharepoint - $19.99/mo
http://order.1and1.com/xml/order/Sharepoint;jsessionid=C5EB6FC75A7AC3E96134BFF720B1DABA.TC60a?__frame=_top

Exchange - $6.99/mo/mailbox
http://order.1and1.com/xml/order/MailExchange;jsessionid=C5EB6FC75A7AC3E96134BFF720B1DABA.TC60a?__frame=_top

Ultimately, you would get the services you want, but it wouldn't meet your $100/mo criteria (depending on how many mailboxes you needed).
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by:andyalder
ID: 12351870
HavenCo is on Roughs Tower in the North Sea, it's just their postal address that is in Cyprus.
I only used it as an example of why nobody offers a hosted SBS box with bandwidth for $100,
- because the going rate is about twice that.
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by:hfjeremy
ID: 12580741
Guys -

Thanks for all the help, and sorry it took so long to wrap it up -- I've had several things come up to keep me busy, and the new comment notifications are going to an old email address. Anyway, I appreciate all the suggestions, and though I didn't find exactly what I was looking for, there are very real technical reasons why not. I just found out that I may be able to get most MS products I want through a partner program, and I can buy a cheap server from Dell for under $300; combined with RR business class, I think that will be a fine starting point for the four of us doing this project.

Thanks again,
Jeremy
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by:humeniuk
ID: 12581055
That sounds like the best way to go overall.  Thanks for taking the time to close the question and good luck with the project.
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