SBS 2008 or 2011???

Posted on 2012-08-15
Last Modified: 2013-12-02
Hi There,

I have a small business running SBS 2003 with about 10 seats all running xp sp3.  There was a server crash and I am running off of backup server hardware.  I need to order a new server which begs the question, should I upgrade the server software.  I believe the answer is yes, but I do not know if I should go with SBS 2008 or 2011.  

I am familiar with 2008 and have deployed it before, but I have no experience with 2011.  Here are my concerns.

1.       It appears that sbs 2011 does not work well with XP as far as network performance goes and a few other issues regarding fax drivers and remote access.  There seem to be fixes, but I don’t know if they are effective.  
2.      I am weary of new releases (I am running 2003 hehe).   I like for some bugs to be fixed and a solid layer of support articles to be constructed before deployment.  It is just easier for most of the problems to be exposed before I deploy.  That is my philosophy at least and I am concerned about 2011’s birthday.
3.      I know that sbs 2008 is solid, but it is difficult to get an end date from Microsoft regarding support.  They say that you have to look at the support dates for each component and server 2008 seems to have multiple end dates.  I am not sure when 2008 will no longer be supported.  I also don’t want to find myself needing to upgrade to 2011 in a year for some reason that I do not see right now.

If someone could put together a good argument for one side or the other I would appreciate it.  My deployment is simple.  This company mostly uses shared folders, exchange, and backup.  The other features of SBS are rarely used.

Thank you for any help…   eric
Question by:-ewass-
    LVL 77

    Accepted Solution

    SBS 2008 has been discontinued for a long time and SBS 2011 is about to be replaced by Server 2012 in the next couple of months, I would hardly consider SBS 2011 a "new release".  It will only be available for another 11 months (17 via OEM).  Other than downgrade rights it is not possible to buy 2008.  SBS 2011 is very similar to SBS 2008, with a few added features.  I have dozens of XP machines deployed in SBS 2011 domain with no problems at all.   There are some know issues with some networking features such as Task Offloading with both SBS 2008 and 2011 and some NIC's but those are easily dealt with.  If you are familiar with 2008 you will have no problem with 2011.

    SBS 2011 is still a great product and value.
    LVL 56

    Assisted Solution

    by:Cliff Galiher
    This is easy. Go with 2011. I cannot think of *any* reason for any business to intentionally choose 2008 over 2011. But I'll break down your concerns individually.

    SBS 2008 is based on Windows 2008 and Exchange 2007. Windows 2008, like Vista, was a drastic change.

    SBS 2011 is based on 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010. Like Windows 7, the improvements in 2008 R2 (and by proxy 2011) are incremental.

    So SBS 2011 is really a minor component refresh from SBS 2008. It didn't make drastic changes anywhere. Not even the SBS-specific bits. RWW got changes some, but not drastically.

    So, for point #1: SBS 2011 may under certain circumstances (bad drivers, etc) have issues with XP. But this isn't unique to SBS 2011. SBS 2008 will have the same problems under the same circumstances.

    Point #2: SBS 2011 isn't really a new release. It is based on 2008 R2, which has been out since 2009. Three years and a full SP1 later. And based on Exchange 2010. Which is now at SP2. SBS 2011 itself has been out for two years. There is a wealth of knowledge on it. This isn't jumping into a new OS released weeks or months ago.

    Point #3: Support for SBS has always been this way. Exchange expires before the OS....and if you can't get Exchange support, you might as well kick out the whole OS. So by buying 2008, you are putting a shelf-life on the server sooner than you would be with 2011. This concern is exactly why you SHOULD buy 2011.

    Again, I don't see any reason to even consider 2008 anymore.


    Author Closing Comment

    Thank you both for your information.  I did not know about the Server 2012 release and I appreciated the breakdown of the argument.  Both comments were helpful.  Thanks again.   eric

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