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What are my options for replacing a Windows 2000 Server SBS machine?

I am currently working for a small manufacturing company.  The current setup is a 2 Server system, with one Windows 2000 Server SBS edition machine (original server), and one Windows 2003 Server Standard Edition (Added about 3 years ago to run a new ERP system).  We have about 20 workstations.
 
The Win2k server machine is about 9 years old and I would like to see it retired in the near future.  I have moved our email to the cloud to lighten the load on it, however it is still the PDC, handling AD/DHCP/DNS as well as some simple file sharing and a shared Fax.  The Server 2k3 machine is barely being taxed and could probably easily handle the extra work load.

Not having much (any) experience with windows server migrations and upgrades, I was hoping to get some input as to what options I might have and what would be the easiest course of action.  I have been given the OK from management to purchase another server if needed, however with all of the options out there from 2008 Standard to 2011 SBS, I am not sure what would be the best solution and make for an easy transition.  If it was a newer version of SBS we were upgrading from I understand there are migration tools available, would these possibly still work with a legacy version?  Is going from SBS to a standard version even an option?

Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  I understand there is probably no right or wrong answer but I will do my best to assign credit fairly.
Thanks Guys
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golferdude007
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golferdude007
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5 Solutions
 
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You've stated you have 20 workstations - in a manufacturing environment - how many USERS?  (Manufacturing environments COULD have workstations on the manufacturing floor that are used to manage equipment and nothing else, so your user count COULD be lower.

If you have 15-20 users, I would suggest SBS 2011 Essentials (provided you don't expect to grow much in the next couple of years). SBS 2011 Essentials provides for UP TO 25 users with no need to purchase Client Access Licenses (CALs) and is sold at a minimal price of about $600.  In addition, it has the ability to backup your workstations in the same manner as Windows Home Server.  (To be clear, there is no "cheap" upgrade path from Essentials to Standard or Standard Server, so if you expect to grow, Essentials is likely not the best choice.

Since you have moved e-mail to the cloud, I would NOT recommend SBS 2011 Standard UNLESS you are ok with moving back FROM the cloud and running it in-house.  SBS does best when it's used as it was intended and core features (like e-mail) are NOT disabled/ignored.

If you don't want to move mail back in house AND you do expect to grow beyond 25 users in the relatively near future, then I would stick with "regular" Standard Server (you lose certain functionality like Remote Web App - but you probably aren't using that anyway with 2000).

As for migration, there are several scenarios available.  Frankly, I recommend getting a pro to do it - SETUP is one of the MOST IMPORTANT things when upgrading/installing a domain.  Management isn't quite as critical because if you get setup wrong, you put yourself into a potentially horrible situation, potentially wasting time and money later correcting the mistakes.  If you insist on doing it yourself, depending on the complexity of the environment, you MIGHT want to consider starting from scratch since you are relatively small OR pay for the Migration kit from www.sbsmigration.com (it's relatively cheap at about $250, I think) and Jeff supports it via e-mail.
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Juan OcasioCommented:
If you've moved your emails to a hosted solution, I would just go  ahead and get a standard server with the correct number of cals.  I personally would not migrate, but instead start from scratch since you only have about 20 users.

I just recently did the same thing in my environment, except I went from SBS 2000 to SBS 2008.  Since I only had 15 users, I just created the whole domain again, added a NAS device, saved all of the emails/contacts/ calendar events to pst files and excel docs (using export for contacts and calendar), and then moved all of my 'J' drive data to the NAS device.

This worked perfectly and was quite painless.  I just did not want to 'migrate' any issues from such an old SBS version (although it was still working fine).

HTH and good luck!
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ormerodrutterCommented:
I believe the cheapest option would be sticking with your W2K3 server, providing that the server is large enough to store all your data. Unless you want to host your email again there is no point for having another SBS (2008 or 2011).

It is hard to advice whether to migrate or start from scratch - however only 20 users with no emails starting from scratch may not be too bad an idea, although migration without exchange is fairly straightforward too.

As for the user license (CALs) you will need to purchase Windows 2008 Server CALs and exercise their downgrade right (W2K3 CALs no longer available).
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
If they are legal today, then CALs are not necessary if they stay with 2003 - they would have had to buy 2003 CALs when they installed the 2003 server - SBS 2000 CALs only cover 2000 Servers, not 2003.

Server 2008 R2 CALs would be needed if going with standard, but are RELATIVELY cheap at about $30 per, so the total outlay for 20 users would be about $450 (as 2008 comes with 5 CALs anyway).  That said, SBS 2011 Essentials (if the business is small enough) should not need additional CALs.
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davorinCommented:
leew, I must correct you a little bit about "SBS 2000 CALs only cover 2000 Servers, not 2003".

Abstract:
"The license agreement for the SBS 2000 client access license pack says, "This CAL also authorizes you to access and use the services and functionality of a Microsoft Windows 2000 Server that is in the same domain as the Server Software." Although it is not specifically stated, you are also allowed to access any computers that are running Windows Server 2003 in the same domain as the SBS computer. The reference to Windows Server 2003 was not included in the license agreement because Windows Server 2003 was not a released product at the time. There are no plans to update the text of the license agreement."

from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/327644
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davorinCommented:
I can see the only advantage of SBS products in price. If you need Exchange server and/or SQL server, then you can get this products cheaper in SBS package then buying separate products.

So, if you need any of this two products, I would go for sbs option, otherwise "normal" windows server would be just fine. If you won't go for sbs option I doubt that you need additional server, except you already see the use for it. (additional domain controller, file server, terminal server,...).

SBS 2011 Essentials was already mentioned above and I have nothing to add.

I had never done migration from SBS 2000 to SBS 2010 and I could not find any guides. There are guides for SBS2000 to SBS2008 migration, but I always decided for fresh install.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
davorin,

So you don't think Remote Web Workplace/Remote Web App would be an advantage?  What about the Wizards that make management easier for the non-Admin?  And (assuming SBS Essentials) you don't feel Workstation Backup is an advantage?

With regards to SBS 2000/2003 licensing, that's fine - thanks for posting that - I wasn't previously aware, but to clear - you DEFINITELY need CALs for 2008 servers on an SBS 2003 network.


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davorinCommented:
@leew
About CALs for 2008 you are right. Except for sbs 2003 costumers who have bought W2008 server before the end of May 2009 (I think). You must just love Ms licensing :)

Wizards I wanted to mention, but I forgot. About RWW I must say, that my costumers are not so enthusiastic. Mostly I'm the one who is using it for remote administration.
Every additional tool can be an advantage if you are using it, but this depends from costumer to costumer. But buying SBS standard, if the costumer does not need exchange or SQL server, make RWW, wizards and other SBS tools quite expensive.

About SBS Essentials maybe I was not clear enough. For less than 25 users is the cheapest and on my opinion the best solution. I strongly agree with your first comment. And I really had nothing to add to it about SBS Essentials.
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Daz6to8Commented:
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Not that i am against a proactive approach but, with the amount of workload on the current server, what advantage are you hoping to get for your money?  
You haven't said that you want to add functionality, or that there are any specific problems, so i guess that you are maybe worried about reliability.  A new server may be more reliable, then again, with all the new gizmos on it, it may just prove to be a headache!

If you are to upgrade, i agree with the advise that a little money spent on an migration expert will be money well spent.
I also agree that if you are not going to use the features of SBS, like email and SQL, then keeping it simple with a standard server would be easier in the long run.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Sorry, but when my clients understand what it is and what it can do, most are very appreciative that RWW/RWA is there.

The wizards... they depend... if you're an IT person, they aren't so important in the grand scheme, but when you have a company that wants to do (most) everything themselves without proper IT assistance, they can be crucial.
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golferdude007Author Commented:
Thanks everyone for your suggestions and input.  To clarify, we have approximately 15 users amongst the 20 workstations.  Several of the workstations on the shop floor share a single user login.  Reasoning for replacement is that one of the SCSI drives in the RAID config failed and I am having little luck trying to find a replacement drive of that capacity for such an old machine.  So reliability is/was the number one factor.

After hearing about the RWW/RWA apps as well as the workstation backup options I am strongly leaning towards the SBS Essentials edition as long as it is based on the number of USERS and not DEVICES, as I do forsee us surpassing 25 workstations, but not users, in the next few years.  My only concern is that Leew stated "SBS does best when it's used as it was intended and core features (like e-mail) are NOT disabled/ignored," and I do not plan on bringing our email back in house.  What type of issues might this pose?

I will most likely be doing a fresh start rather than a migration based on the comments received.

Thanks again for all the replies.  I will assign credit at the end of the day in case anyone has anything to add.

** Also on a side note to add to the licensing debate, when we added the server 2003 standard edition machine a couple years ago, we did NOT have to purchase additional cals becuase the 2003 machine was not acting as a DC. **
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
> ** Also on a side note to add to the licensing debate, when we added the server
> 2003 standard edition machine a couple years ago, we did NOT have to purchase
> additional cals becuase the 2003 machine was not acting as a DC. **

Untrue.  CALs are not JUST for DCs.  If your users access resources on that server, the server needs CALs.  HOWEVER, as posted earlier, the SBS 2000 CALs appear to cover 2003 servers.

As for SBS Essentials, It's a USER limit.  However, you might want to contact a licensing specialist as I'm not sure how devices would work on SBS Essentials - in cases with a shop floor, for example.  If your total employee headcount doesn't exceed 25 then you're definitely fine.  If you have a few who are shop floor only sharing a login, that MAY be a problem.
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davorinCommented:
I'm affraid that SBS essentials has limited number of users AND devices to 25.
Look at second FAQ: www.iconsa.net/resources/descargas/SBS2011FAQ.pdf
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davorinCommented:
And Exchange server does not do part of SBS Essentials, so you don't have to worry about that.
Even on SBS Std you can normally install exchange server, but you don't configure it completely. The only "problem" is that when you open outlook at PC for the first time, is is automatically configured with exchange account, which you can simply delete. Or you can create non-mail-enabled users at SBS.

And as Leew already said, it is good to install all intended features on SBS. Case - If I recall correctly the outlook client was installed by default on SBS 2003 server. If you decided not to install it, you could not install SP1 on SBS server...
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golferdude007Author Commented:
Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.  The discussion was on point and very helpful.
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