SQL options with WinSBS2008 Standard vs. Premium, & Virtualization / HyperV

Posted on 2009-07-14
Last Modified: 2013-12-11
I have an old Dell 400SC server, long out of warranty, running WinSBS 2003 Std (not R2) serving 10-15 users.

It's been showing its age & slowness for some time, and now is labouring under the extra load of hosting an SQL2000-ONLY-based old version of Great Plains that's recently been added to its responsibilities.

However this Great Plains system will be replaced by something else, likely based on SQL2008, some time this year.

I need to upgrade the server, and will almost certainly go with SBS2008.  I'll likely use the existing old 400SC server to host SQL2000, not just until the old Great Plains system is replaced but likely indefinitely to allow access to old Great Plains data.

But I'm having trouble deciding:

1) if the Premium edition is needed.  We haven't needed it thus far, even though it's happily hosting a 3rd-party SQL2000-based app.  Why is that? What's the purpose of the Premium edition, when SQL is already there (for SBS's Sharepoint & Performance logging stuff)?

2) if we do need to go with the Premium edition, *must* it be run on a separate hardware server, or can WinServ2008+SQL2008 be run in a virtual machine on the SBS2008 server? (ie is HyperV included or available for SBS2008?)  Is there an alternative to HyperV that will work with SBS2008?

If I need Premium on a separate/2nd hardware server, I'll still likely need to run another virtual instance of Windows on it to host SQL2000 for access to historical Great Plains data.  Ugh...

Many thanks for clarification here,
Question by:techydude71
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Expert Comment

ID: 24848323
First, SBS in standard version does not come with MS SQL standard it comes with Express 2005 (SBS08) and MDSE (SBS03).  So if you need a full version database server, you should get premium, you just can't beat the pricing.  

Second, DO NOT USE HYPER-V within SBS.  This will violate the single nic topology and you will want to, well, cry in a corner.  You can, however, use Hyper-V server, free from  In this instance, you install the free server, it's like VmWare exsi and then install the hyper-v server within it.  However, it sounds like this is an "old" server and may not suppor that.  Verify that you have Intel VT or the AMD equivalent and Execute Disable Bit available via bios, if you don't, it won't work.
LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Steve Endow
ID: 24850077
One other caveat, since I wasn't sure if you were looking to keep your old SBS 2003 while using SBS on your new server:

SBS 2003 licensing does NOT allow two machines on the same network to run SBS.  Only ONE server in an entire organization may run SBS.  And it actually enforces this very strictly.

If you attempt to install a second SBS server on the same network, it will shut down.  (It was quite a surprise when I saw it do that.)

I don't know if this changed with SBS 2008, but you will definitely want to look into it if that is what you were planning.


Expert Comment

ID: 24850333
It did not change with SBS 2008, now it hits you with a stick as well!
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Expert Comment

by:Steve Endow
ID: 24850732
Thanks for the confirmation BH!  I shall continue to avoid SBS...

Author Comment

ID: 24855024
thanks guys, a couple more questions,

- "So if you need a full version database server, you should get premium".
i guess this is the crux of my issue - i don't know if i need full SQL!
the fact that i've been able to use SBS2003 ('R1') Standard  in this site (for an old Great Plains system), and at another site (R2) supporting 2 extra 3rd-party SQL-needing apps, has always left me wondering why/when Premium ('real' SQL) is needed.  at both sites I have specialists for those 3rd-party apps maintaining them, so i've never had an appreciation for the differences between MSDE, Express2005, & 'real' SQL2000/2004/2008.  can someone clarify this for me?

- "Second, DO NOT USE HYPER-V within SBS.  This will violate the single nic topology and you will want to, well, cry in a corner."
Can you explain the problem further please?
if the guest OS's NIC was configured in 'bridged' mode, wouldn't that simply appear as if it were another LAN client?

i just checked the current old Dell server with Securable and it doesn't support virtualisation, so (contrary to my OP) that server will only be useful for hosting MSDE, and RDP remote access for a couple of occasional offsite staff if i rebuiild it with plain Windows Server (yes the OEM SBS2003 license will be useless going forward, I'm aware SBS needs to live alone, or else be hit by a stick ;).

i just upped the points to 500.

thanks, Anthony.
LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Steve Endow
ID: 24855189
Great Plains / Dynamics GP is supported on MSDE and SQL Express, so that is still an option for you on the new server.

The difference is largely management.  I have never used SQL Express, but with MSDE, you had no management interface or tools to perform backups, manage security, etc.  via a GUI.  And you have a database size limitation and a few other restrictions.  If you have been fine on MSDE and are planning on retiring GP, you should be able to continue with MSDE or SQL Express.  But migrating everything to a new server with SQL Express may be a nightmare, as you may not have the tools that would make the job easy--you may spend alot of time running OSQL at the command line.  Possible, but probably very tedious.


Expert Comment

ID: 24858073
SQL express basically has the same interface as full SQL, the difference being that you cannot connect to external servers, max users, etc.  

To answer question 2, the answer is the same, unfortunately, NAT or Bridged doesn't work.  It violates the network topology requirements of SBS.   But seeing as your server doesn't support it, I guess this is moot.

Author Comment

ID: 24858234
thanks BH,

i thought i was fairly familiar with the limitations of SBS compared to standard WinServer, but what exactly is SBS's network topology requirements, as regards also running a VM on it?  i must be missing something fundamental here...

if NAT or Bridged are not options, but a virtual guest needs to be accessible to LAN clients, then what is the option(s) with HyperV? (i haven't seen or used HyperV yet)

my question of virtualisation has ended up being two-fold:

- (on a modern new server) can SBS2008 support HyperV (for Premium's Server2008+SQL2008) to avoid buying a 2nd new server


- using the old Dell server running Server2008+SQL2008 for the next/new line-of-business app (which is obviously not a good idea due to old hardware anyway), and a virtualised XP or Server2000/2003 to support the legacy Great Plains which needs SQL2000/MSDE.  but it turns out the current old Server doesn't support virtualisation, so that option is out.

Accepted Solution

bharrington83 earned 500 total points
ID: 24858262
To answer your question regarding the topology, it's simple  1 nic and 1 nic only.  So NAT or Bridging will not work...  it blows up your network....  Trust me... I tried :(

To answer question 1  the easiest way to to do it is to download the free hyper-v server and install both SBS and the 2nd server std as guest os's.  That works awesomely!

Well MDSE is supported in 2008....  I don't see the problem with trying to install GP the worst that can happen is that it doesn't work.

Author Comment

ID: 24858369
ahhh, SBS2008 & (Server2008+SQL2008) as 2 virtual guests, i wouldn't have thought to do that - now we're talking!

i have no experience running any Windows Server virtually.  i see alot of products advertising their 'virtualisation smarts' - backup software, disk defragmenting software, and the like.  what am i in for here, over & above the SBS2003 on bare metal that i know & love?

Expert Comment

ID: 24860314
Some great information is available at the virtualization team blog on technet.  Backup does present a few issues, in that if you would like to have granular backup there are some things you have to work around.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31603169
Thanks BH for helping me take my first tentative steps into the Server2008 world :)

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