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Server 2008 with Exchange 2007 integration with SBS 2003

Posted on 2008-11-04
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    We have a 2003 Small Business Server Premium with Exchange and ISA installed and working. We have 55 users, our Exchange Store has grown to 65GB and both users and Exchange data are going to increase. We have to move to an Exchange version that can go beyond the 75GB limit and we may exceed to 75 user limit. We also have a 2003 Server that is a global catalog that we use as a Terminal Server.
     My thinking is that we should add a 2008 Server with Exchange 2007 and migrate users to the Exchange 2007 Server to resolve the Store size limit. Is that the best option and should the new server be a domain controller and should I remove Exchange 2003 from the SBS server once the mailboxes and all other information is migrated over?
     I also think that we will soon exceed the 75 user limit in SBS and I want to make sure what I do now will help what I need to do later to remove SBS from the domain. What is the best migration solution to help our network in the long term? We only plan on adding one Server to the network although it can be a large one.
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Question by:ntobin
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 22882538
You likely appreciate all of the integrated features and benefits of SBS. Therefore have you considered a complete migration to EBS 2008 (Essential Business Server). This would give you all of the benefits of SBS 2008, Server 2008, Exchange 2007, maintain the management and reporting 'bonus' features, and enhance performance. EBS is designed for up to 250 users, is much more robust, and adds new management features:
http://www.microsoft.com/ebs/en/us/default.aspx
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by:ntobin
ID: 22882563
Given our growth rate I think it may be wise to move to seperate servers for performance reasons. Another thought would be that we typically run 24 hours a day and a migration to 2008 SBS, I think, would require a server rebuild since it would have to move to 64 bit. Downtime and complexity of the migration wil be factors and our thinking is that we could add a new 2008 Server with Exchange 2007 and move mailboxes over to it and minimize downtime to outlook outages on a planned schedule rather than having to take to server down for an extended migration or upgrade.
     I may be wrong though, does SBS 2008 have a migration option or can two SBS server coexist for a sport time during the migration?
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 22882843
You cannot have 2 servers holding the FSMO roles on the same network, whether 2 SBS's, SBS and 2008, or SBS and EBS. But you can have SBS, 2008, or EBS and as many member servers as you like.

As far as performance goes EBS would give you excellent performance. Unlike SBS which assizes a single server, EBS uses 3 servers; a management server, a security server, and a messaging server. The Premium version has an an additional 2008 license and includes SQL server. The servers are intended to be run on independent physical boxes, but can be run on one or more virtual machines located on 1 or more hosts.
There is a migration path that allows you to move various services at different times for minimal down time, though the documentation is still not totally complete as of today.

Not suggesting it is your only option but licensing is a little less expensive, integration is fantastic making it easy to add and manage users, and the reporting now includes 3rd party vendors as well as your server hardware and software.

Alternatively, there is also a Microsoft "transition pack" that allows you to migrate your SBS to separate Server 2008, and Exchange 2007 servers, and also allows some price advantage on the new CAL's you will need.
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by:ntobin
ID: 22882865
I understand about the FSMO roles, but what is EBS?

Another question I have is if I have a second server with 2008 Server and Exchange 2007 could I have Server 2008 with the required 5 users and then buy 55 users for the Exchange server part? That would save us some money. Or do I need to have the same amount of users for Server 2008 even though I will not have anything but Exchange 2007 on it?
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 22882900
EBS is a new version of SBS on steroids. It is designed to meet the performance needs of a larger organization (mid sized business) but still give you similar reporting and easier management capabilities as with SBS. Having said that the concept is similar, but it is very different and far more powerful. It requires some test environment use to get familiar with it, but it is great. It was released because SBS only allows 75 users, but it is not just a licensing issue, but rather as you have found, SBS has performance and storage limits that really do not even allow 75 users in many situations.

As far as adding a 2008 server goes; if it is a member server you do not require user CAL's just Exchange CAL's. The SBS server CAL's will cover the 2008 server. However if you switch from SBS to a servers 2008 DC, and an Exchange server, you will need user CAL's and Exchange CAL's. This is where the Transition pack has an advantage in that it gives you full trade-in value for your SBS CAL's. However I don't believe there is a Transition pack to take you to 2008. I think it only works SBS => 2003 std.
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by:Keith Alabaster
ID: 22883530
Can't keep ISA server though unless you retain a 32 bit environment. EBS doesn't come with ISA as I recall

Hey Rob, congrats on the great ranking mate :)
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 22885065
Thanks Keith, and good point about ISA.
I hope all is well with you.

The only way to migrate and keep ISA would be to buy software assurance for your existing SBS, if that is an option, which will allow you to maintain the ISA license and then buy EBS premium which comes with an additional server 2008 license and the media for both 32 and 64 bit. That is a least what the SBS 2008 folk are recommending doing to maintain ISA, but probably not practical here. ISA doesn't come with SBS 2008 premium any longer either.

However EBS folk will argue that ISA is not necessary as it comes with Forefront Security (the security server), which is fully integrated with the product, and intended to run on its own box creating a perimeter protection device.

http://www.microsoft.com/ebs/en/us/editions-overview.aspx
https://partner.microsoft.com/global/productssolutions/securityproducts/forefront
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by:ntobin
ID: 22885301
I am not worried about keeping ISA, we use it now but we are looking at getting a firewall that has the ability to add managed filters to block sites like my space and all the work around sites that all myspace to still work. We also need to block IM.

The EBS version seems to complicat the process by way of having either 3 servers of having to use virtual servers. Is there any benefit to that route rather than just adding the one server?
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Rob Williams earned 750 total points
ID: 22885499
EBS does not really complicate things. Virtual is just an option as it is with server 2008, server 2003, and SBS, that requires less hardware, but there is no need to use it.

If you simply want to add one box, there really is no advantage to EBS. However, your 2003 SBS is likely getting old. You may want to consider replacing it in the future, and you have already stated you want to replace ISA (ISA will do filtering as will Forefront). If in the next couple of years you plan to buy a new file server, and new mail server, new Exchange CAL'S, new user CAL's, and a new perimeter security device, EBS is a perfect solution. It offers all of those features and more, and would likely cost less. In addition as a system it is easier to set up and maintain than the independent services.

Please don't let me force this on you. It just started as a suggestion as I think it is an ideal next step for a company with SBS, 50 users, and requiring better performance and room to grow. I thought it was at least worth looking at it carefully.
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by:ntobin
ID: 23390255
Thanks for all your help. We decided to add a second server with 2008 and Exchange 2007. All the mailboxes moved over correctly and the only problems we had were with the new cirtificate requirments for ISA with Exchange 2007 and OWA/Outlook Anywhere.

EBS may have been a good solution in a different enviroment but adding one server to our existing network was a better choice for us.
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 23390293
Thanks ntobin.
Glad to hear you have everything migrated and working.
Cheers !
--Rob
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