Retiring Small Business Server, what are the options for small businesses?

We are currently running SBS2003....   nearing the end of it's support cycle we are looking ahead. Cloud is not an option due to internet connectivity and we like our data at home. I'm reading about all the discontinued products and new product lines. Cost is always an issue for small businesses as well. Do we buy Server 2012 Standard and then buy Exchange 2010 to replace our SBS server. I have read that you can't install Exchange 2010 on a Domain controller? So you are expected to have either two boxes....or go vm now right?? What are other small businesses doing....these changes in os's, licensing and costs are killing the small business quicker then the economy at this rate. And it's making management much harder for those without IT staff.
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Simon Butler (Sembee)Connect With a Mentor ConsultantCommented:
If you move fast then you can still get SBS 2011. Buy it retail and then you can move it between hardware.

Otherwise the most common solution is this (in brief).

Purchase Windows 2012 standard and Exchange 2013 on volume.
Windows 2012 allows two virtual machines per physical.
Then purchase a server capable of running two VMs (so four hard disks min, 16gb RAM min).
Install a VM tool either HyperV or VMWARE (The free version of VMWARE will be fine). If less than 25 users, use downgrade rights to install SBS 2011 essentials on the first server and mgirate the domain. On the second (virtual server) install Windows 2012 and Exchange 2010. You could be brave and deploy Exchange 2013, but 2010 has wider support at the moment. YOU MUST use Exchange 2010 SP3 media.
You can then integrate SBS Essentials and the on premise Exchange server to get close to what you ahve with SBS.
Job done.

You can install Exchange on a domain controller, but it is strongly advised against doing so.

Alas Microsoft want you to go to the cloud, and that is why SBS has gone away.

The other option would be to move away from Exchange and look at something like SmarterMail - pretty close to Exchange functionality.

Adam BrownConnect With a Mentor Sr Solutions ArchitectCommented:
You actually can install Exchange on a Domain controller, it's just not recommended to do so. To have everything on-prem you'll have to buy server 2012 Standard and Exchange, but you should know that Server 2012 standard includes Virtualization licenses to run two Virtual Machines with 2012 Standard on a Server 2012 VM Host as long as the host server runs no additional services.

Basically, you would install Server 2012 on a physical server, install the Hyper-V role, then set up one VM to run your DC and another to run your Exchange server. This is definitely more expensive, but MS is really pushing small businesses to the Cloud, so they made it a bit more expensive to do everything on premises. However, splitting it out like that actually helps improve stability and allows you some additional features that were not allowed with any SBS version, like Forest trusts and other more advanced features that will be useful as the business grows.
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