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windows 2003 server vs. small busines server

Posted on 2007-03-29
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What is the difference between windows 2003 server and small business server?  
Is the difference similar to the difference between the 2 operating systems windows XP Pro and Windows XP Home or are the feature differences not as vast?  
Why would one want windows 2003 server over small business server?  I assume both require the additional  purchase of user licenses?  


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Question by:dastaub
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by:Rob Williams
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ID: 18820836
SBS has dozens of advantages over sever 2003, such as e-mail server, fax server, Sharepoint services, built-in Windows Update Server services, Remote access methods and so on. The software and licensing is also much cheaper when compare buying software and licenses for all of these services,
However it has a couple of very important limitations. It has to be the first domain controller in a network, you can only have a maximum of 75 users, and you cannot create trusts with other domains. For a small business there is no question which way to go.
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/sbs/evaluation/top.mspx
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Lee W, MVP earned 150 total points
ID: 18820841
Small Business SErver (SBS) is designed for the small business - it has a few restrictions:
1.  There can be only ONE SBS server on a domain.
2.  You cannot setup Trusts
3.  You cannot use it as a Terminal Server
4.  You can have a maximum of 75 users.
5.  The SBS Server MUST be your FSMO MAster Domain controller

SBS is SERIOUSLY Discounted in price - it INCLUDES Exchange Server (and the premium edition includes SQL and ISA server).  

Both versions of server come with 5 client access licenses (CALs) - and you can purchase more in 5 packs.

SBS also includes numerous wizards that make administration easier (Standard server doesn't have these wizards).  

For a small business, with rare exception, due to it's pricing, capabilities, and ease of use, getting SBS INSTEAD of Standard Server is the best option (You can add other NON-SBS Windows Servers to an SBS network, but there can be only ONE SBS server on the network).

I have a page with links to various SBS resources, manuals, info, etc.
http://www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/sbs.asp
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by:Jay_Jay70
Jay_Jay70 earned 150 total points
ID: 18820867
dastaub,

If you are an admin and looking at expanding + prefer to manage things your own way, then dont go SBS, I respect the product for a small business of course but i hate working with it on a whole due to its limitations......guess it depends on your business demands

Regards,

James
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18820890
I cannot agree.  I understand the frustration SBS can bring to an experienced admin (it happened to me), but I cannot recommend to a client or someone else that they spend more than double on products that, should the admin leave, will be more difficult to manage.  The Admin has to adjust to the technology that is right for the company... and small businesses, with rare exception, are right to use SBS.
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by:Rob Williams
Rob Williams earned 200 total points
ID: 18820963
I'll agree with both of you :-)
If SBS meets the requirements it is by far the best way to go, financially and availability of services.
However, if you are familiar with managing a 2000/2003 domain, SBS is like starting over again. If you accept that, read the documentation, and experiment with your first one, you will love it and wish the wizards and management features were available in other server versions. Just the automated reporting alone is fantastic.
Just don't jump in with SBS assuming it's another 2003 server.
User's unfamiliar with servers actually seem to have less initial problems.
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by:Jay_Jay70
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Lee,

I dont debate the merits of SBS for small business, which is why i made a point to clarify that, I role out continously and reccomend often SBS - As long as the business isnt going to grow,. I have a client who was issues with SBS initially and now in the space of 12 months has 5 branch offices across Australia ans to be quite frank, SBS is now a royal PITA for them

I think a comment you made on a post a while back about SBS being great if you dont know anything has stuck in my head as my boss now refers to me as an SBS snob....
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by:Lee W, MVP
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That's when the transition pack comes in - if you outgrow SBS, you get the transition pack.  And I will absolutely grant you, if you expect the business to grow within 2-3 years beyond the SBS 75 user limit, then it's better off going with the full products right out of the gate.  But, most small businesses I've know don't grow nearly that fast...

Yes, I've been quite pleased with myself on that quote - mentioned it to more than one person at the MVP summit...

"SBS is VERY Easy... Provided you don't know what you are doing"  (Though I had to clarify it at the summit... the quote applies to people who have never worked with SBS before).
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by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 18821234
lol i like it - have you quoted that to Jeff, I am sure he would enjoy it. / hunt you down  :)
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 18821452
Jay_Jay70,

"I have a client who was issues with SBS initially and now in the space of 12 months has 5 branch offices across Australia ans to be quite frank, SBS is now a royal PITA for them"

This is why the Transition Pack exists.  There is NO risk in first deploying an SBS for a company that "might" grow out of it.  The Transition Pack costs EXACTLY the same as the difference between SBS and Stand-Alone Server Licensing, and it allows an SBS to be broken up into individual servers.  There's never a situation where you would be stuck with SBS or where it would be significantly more costly to move out of it.  Info at http://sbsurl.com/transition

Funny about the comment on your quote... I think I've said something similar on this site... but more like "SBS is VERY easy... provided you RTFM".  :-)

So as a response to dastaub... if you currently have NO server and have less than 50 workstations then you should get SBS. (yes, there's a limit of 75, but if you're over 50 you shouldn't go the SBS route to start with). Even if you needed an additional server to allow for Terminal Services, you would still be better off with SBS than without... and as stated above, if you do find that you are limited with SBS (doubtful if you don't have a server currently) you can always transition out of it.

Jeff
TechSoEasy

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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 18821455
oops... I read the quote in leew's comment, but totally skipped over his info about the Transition Pack.  (Selective "listening"?).  Sorry about that.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 18821768
:) i had read about transitioning a little in the past, but after Lee's comment, i am having a more detailed look into it for our client.....

Its always going to have people that dont like the package, i see the benefits and can see how you guys can master it, i just cant get my head around those wizards....i want to do it my way! lol! Stubborn Stubborn admin :)

If i put a negative twist on the question i apologise to all
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by:Rob Williams
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Thanks dastaub,
Cheers,
--Rob
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18832180
Jay - I really do understand - I still fight the urge to do things the "old way" - but since I'm trying to benefit my clients and I have a personal policy of not doing things in a way that another consultant wouldn't understand (when possible), I HAVE to adjust my thinking...
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by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 18833561
A valuable point Lee and one that i will take with me - Thank you....
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 18834627
James,

I might add, just as an aside, that Lee's last point is what I think brought he and I together on this topic.  That is, we can't ever take the position that we will be around forever... whether physically, or just in maintaining the business relationship... and the last thing I want to have happen is for another consultant to come along behind me and say, "what in the world is going on here"?  This is even why I use the recommended IP Subnet for SBS of 192.168.16.0/24 (with SBS using 192.168.16.2) because to be quite honest, there's no good reason not to.  And if there is, then fine... do what's necessary... but when the ONLY reason to do something in a manner other than the SBS recommended practice is because of personal preference?  I think you get my point.

SBS deployments require being trained not only in the technology, but in the philosophy of small business.  Microsoft did a TON of research to find out what was important to small businesses... and then designed SBS around those needs.  The central theme that came out of all that research was to keep it easy to manage, at the lowest possible cost.  Obviously, Microsoft has done their part in those areas... so, now it's up to us to do our best and not screw it up.  :-)

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 18834634
Jeff,

I see what you mean. I have only recently converted to working with small businesses in the last 6 months and i must admin its a very different world from what i am used too...Suddenly costs and limitations are in the way and that makes it a completely different ball game :) The point about not being around is very good as i am the one that currently audits networks for new clients previously looked after by other IT mobs and sometimes i am shocked at what i see.....Best practice is indeed best practice

Heres to going back to corporate environments and leaving the SME industry to those with the proper thinking patterns! I lack the SME business understanding i think

Thanks to both of you lads for the resfreshing view on things :) Have a great easter if i dont talk to you!

James
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