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Microsoft SBS Server and Web Hosting

gavinandrewmcmillan
gavinandrewmcmillan used Ask the Experts™
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Hi Guys

I am about to do a network upgrade for a client with a limited budget.

Their situation is that they currently do not have  a server at all but are using an XP system for their server requirements - Web Hosting, SQL Server (possibly MYSQL), Data Storage etc.

They have no security on any levels which is very scare.

My proposal is for them to install a Server to implement everything above and I am looking at SBS Server 2008 as it comes with SQL, IIS and Active Directory etc.

I would usually recommend against SBS and have a multi-server environment to split out the website, database and file storage / Active Directory however budget is a concern of theirs.

So.... my question is this: As they will be running a web server on the SBS 2008 Premium, are their any limitations with SQL as to how many clients will have access to the data via their website? or is the licensing that comes with SBS going to be sufficient?

Also in sub of this, any suggestions on ways to maximise security of this single box SBS system?

Oh, they have also expressed that they may like to replicate the SQL data to a server based in Melbourne at some point via VPN, will this affect things with SBS server?

- Gavin
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Top Expert 2012

Commented:
>>are their any limitations with SQL as to how many clients will have access to the data via their website?<<
No, not really.  But it will be slow as molasses and you will have to cripple the memory SQL Server uses so that it does not take it all.
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
acperkins: that is inaccurate.  The version of SQL server that comes with SBS absolutely requires a CAL for each user or device accessing the SQL instance. In other words, it is not meant for, and is not licensed for, web use.
To use SQL Server in a web environment, you need two things:
1) An OS that is also licensed for web access. AKA Windows Server 2008 R2 Web Edition.
2) A copy of SQL Server licensed for unlimited access. SQL Server 2008 R2 offers a "per processor" licensing model for just such uses, but this is NOT the licensing model included with SBS.
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With that said, running any web server on your domain controller is ludicrously reckless. If running a web server in-house is an absolutely requirement then set up an old workstation running Linux and Apache if you must. Throw it on a spearate network segment (sometimes called a DMZ) and call it good. Cheap, easy to do, and far more secure.
Ideally, however, I wouldn't run a web server on the same network connection as a business network anyways. A small business with a limited budget is already probably cutting costs where they can, which means less than ideal upstream bandwidth (most cable and DSL connections have far more down than up) and plopping a web server, even with with little traffic, soaks the little bandwidth they have, making for a less-than-fun experience for both the business AND the website visitors.
When web hosting can be had for $10/month or less, there is simply no reason to host in-house. Any business that can fford SBS 2008 should be able to afford $120 a year for a real web solution. And if they can't...they have bigger budget issues than to have a website at all.
Sometimes the hardest job of a consultant is having "that" conversation, but it is what they pay us to do.
I agreed with cqaliher that it is best for them to host the website with external hosting company.

But if hosting it inside is an absolute MUST, then SBS2008 Premium edition do come with an extra Wins2008 Server licence that you can install on a separate machine.

However the SQL that come with SBS is per user base, not per server.

A Per Server SQL 2008 license is roughly £2500 (or USD $3500) so it is expensive to small business. That;s probably why it is best for your client to host them with external hosting company. This way, they will probably do the maintenance (e.g. backup) as well. Security could be an issue too.
Top Expert 2012

Commented:
>>that is inaccurate. <<
Good point.  I overlooked that.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
no worries. Happens to me all the time. Licensing is complex stuff at the best of times; like support matrixes, it is much easier to get wrong than right. And I'm an expert at getting it wrong.   :)