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SBS2011, Exhcnage and Office 365

Posted on 2014-01-22
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Hi,
 
  I setup computer network for small business clients and have been installing SBS products over the years (SBS2000, SBS2003, and SBS2011) along with Office Professional (WORD/EXCEL/ACCESS/OUTLOOK). But I recently learned that Microsoft canned SBS product development with the last product SBS2012 Essentials (w/o Exchange).

  What is Office 365? I saw somewhere that you can pay Microsoft $150 per year to install newest Office Professional software up to 10 PCs. If that is the case, then it is a hack of bargain because VL version of Office 2013 is $450 and they will be outdated in 2-3 years.

  Going back to Server operating system, the reason for SBS was because it included Exchange and Remote Workplace function compared to non-SBS OS. But if I can get Exchange hosted by Microsoft and configure Outlook client to connect to "cloud-based" MS Exchange, then I am all for it. Basically I can just go with regular Server OS like W2012 as file/print server and set up a Terminal server to replace RWW functionality.

  That said, I would like to hear from experts as to what they are doing for small business customers with respect to Server OS, Office Suite products and Exchange.

Thank you.
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Question by:sglee
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Hi,

I would note that adding a TS into the mix will likely vastly increase the costs?

I also suspect your pricing for Office 365 ($150 pa for 10 users) is not right - that sounds too good to be true.  Perhaps it is $150 pa per user?

My thinking here would be:

Server 2012 R2 (or whatever) for File & Print
Office 365 (I will assume it is a wash price-wise with buying FPP Office 2013 - that could be a separate analysis though)
Remote access for email is no longer required in todays world (everyone has smartphones), but they can also access using a browser with OWA if required.

That just leaves remote access to the network (which probably implies either use of a LoB Application and / or access to network fileshares).

If the LoB(s) are installed client-side on user machines, then just set up RWW for users into their own work machine, and be done with it - no TS required.

If you already have / require a TS for a LoB App then the point is moot anyway.


HTH,

Alan.
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by:sglee
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Alan,
 
 This office always turns off all of their computers (to save electricity) each day except File Server. So RWW won't be used.  Since  everybody (4 users) in the company use the same thing - one ACCESS database, Word, Excel, Outlook and one industry specific app, I think Terminal Server will take care of their needs. In fact I am going to let them connect to Terminal Server session using Remote Desktop and use all of their Apps whether from their desktop or outside the office. If that is the case, W2012 comes with Terminal Services and all I need to do is to buy 4 RDP licenses and one VL version of Office Pro Suite for the TS.
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Hi SGlee,

Are you virtualising?  If so, then your Server 2012 license does give you two installs, but you will be using one of those for the Hyper-V host?  If not, you will be incurring the cost of purchasing a second physical machine just for the TS?

To be clear, perhaps you are saying that you would be installing the TS role onto the same Server 2012 that you are using as your DC and File & Print Server?  If so, I would be concerned.

If not, then aren't you still incurring the cost of buying another Server 2012 license, plus the CALS, plus the Office TS Licenses - it will add up to quite a lot for just the four users you mention?

The marginal (electicity) cost of having even all four users leave their desk machines on if they want to be able to remote in will likely be far cheaper overall, plus you have eliminated a whole server (and a TS at that) from the configuration, so reduced the maintenance costs too.

Thanks,

Alan.
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I would also note that, right now, you might still be able to find some SBS2011 OEM packs around in the supply chain.

MS is no longer selling them since 1 Jan 2014, but some distributors might have stock left still.

HTH,

Alan.
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by:sglee
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I am going to setup VMWare with following VMs -
(1) Windows 2012 Server for File & Print (if I can get exchange online). Otherwise SBS2011 (2) Two Terminal Servers using W2008 Server whichever I can get a hold of at the cheaper price
(3) Some RDP licenses.  
(4) Office 365 or VL version of Office.

I can't go against owner's wish as to wanting to turn off computers every day.

You are correct. I went to MS website and found out that $150 for Office 365 is per user per year. So it will be $600 / year for the company vs. $450 for VL per user license.
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/compare-office-365-for-business-plans-FX102918419.aspx?CR_CC=200061904&WT.srch=1&WT.mc_ID=PS_google_O365Comm_office%20365_Text
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Hi SGlee,

What version of VMWare are you planning on using?  What is the cost of that?

Thanks,

Alan.
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vSphere Essentials - Last time I paid was $600.
VMWare Backup Software (NAKIVO) is $500
Of course the cost of Server box + MS OS / Office Suite/ RDP
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by:Olaf De Ceuster
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Please have a look at Server 2012 Essentials. Does everyting sbs did but with Cloud email and Sharepoint (and a wizard to set it up)
Limited to 25 users.
Please check your 365 pricing.
Experience (at least in Australia) tells me its more expensive than doing your own.
Olaf
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@olafdc
Can you sync your mobile phone with your Outlook if you go with Server 2012 Essentials?
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Hi SGlee,

To answer your question to @olafdc - if you are using Office 365, then yes, you can sync your phone or any other device that can talk to an Exchange Server.

FWIW - I agree that Office 365 is not cheap compared to Exchange, although it will be for a small number of users compared to SBS (not sure where the break point is myself).


Back up to the virtualisation and server options:

By going with VMWare, you are paying $1,100 for something that you get 'free' with Server 2012.  Now, if you want to have the TS, then you need that additional license, but effectively you are paying $1,100 for it (plus the costs of the CALs, Office TS Licenses etc etc).

You said that the owner does not want PCs left on, but that is an irrational position for them to take if it is more cost effective, plus having the TS will mean you are burning more power (bigger server) than you would otherwise.

I really suggest you takl to them again, and put all the figures in front of them, since the TS is a significantly more expensive option for such a small number of users.

I am looking at an install with about 10 - 12 users, and we have eliminated the TS option there due to the excessive cost.

Once we killed, TS, it came down to SBS 2011 vs Server 2012 & Office 365.  We went with SBS 2011 as it is still much cheaper (which is effectively due to the fact that SBS is a bundled product with Exchange thrown in cheap and, in my opinion, MS have withdrawn that as an option so that they can make more money by getting us to buy either full Server 2012 and Exchange, or more expensive still, Office 365).

HTH,

Alan.
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by:Olaf De Ceuster
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Depends of who you use for hosted exchange (365) but these days 99% of time , yes.
Has nothing to do with OS you are running? Unless I am misunderstanding the question?
I would agree with previous comment: SBS is still better and cheaper and makes you master of your own ship.
Olaf
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by:sglee
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I think, based on expert's opinions, I will go with SBS2011 and buy retail Office packages instead of hosted exchange and office 365.
That said, let me explain why I prefer to have Terminal Servers.
1. Users get infected with viruses often. Based on my experience, Windows 2008 Server seem to be more robust than desktop OS such as XP or Win7 when it comes to virus attack.
I set up a Terminal Server running W2008 Std and asked users to log in to TS (using their RDP) whenever they want to surf the internet and start clicking their life away.
So far no one was able to bring down the terminal server yet.

Beside if everyone runs application programs from TS, things will work much faster as the data does not have to travel across the network.
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by:Olaf De Ceuster
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All very valid points.
Sometimes however the TS will lock down things too much. Like running Myob. Or users needing specialty browsing add ons.
Saying that there is  a always a way around it. My most successfull networks (the ones with least maintenance) have been a combination of SBS2011 and TS (RDP) second server.
My most and least profitable networks are the ones with 365 because support in Australia is non existant and prices are very expensive. Don't know what happens elsewhere.
And all my clients still want to deal with real people as opposed to a helpcentre with no answers and machines saying: You are number 25 in the cue, we will be able to give you NO answers at all in about 25 minutes...if you are lucky :).Unless internet and support improves 365 is a waste of time.
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by:Alan3285
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Hi SGLee,

Cool - It does sound like SBS2011 and FPP Office will be more economical.

Noted on your reasons for the TS.  Personally, I never allow users to surf from the TS at all - I have it locked up tight, and they must surf from their local machine.

My rationale is that if something gets onto their local machine or it fails in any way, there is no data there, so I just swap them to a hot-spare, which means they are working again in ten minutes, then I wipe and re-image the offending machine, which is about 20 mins of labour, and maybe a couple of hours of it sitting by itself downloading the image etc at which point it then becomes my hot-spare.

For me, TS was a technology that made very much sense in the SBS 2003 / TS Server 2003 era.  Today, with just about everyone having smartphones, the TS is dead (at least for a smaller group of people) purely because I cannot justify spending the money any more.

Having said that, it is not a bad solution from a technical perspective, so I think you will be fine with it.

Good luck!

Alan.
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Alan,
 
 Come to think of it, when I said I preferred VMWare over Hyper-V, knowing that I have to spend extra  $1,100 (ESX license and backup software), here is how my opinion was  based on.
  When I installed VMWare on my client's office, I used a brand new server, Xeon CPU, 32GB RAM and SAS 15K 600GB HDs whereas when I installed Hyper-V in another customer's office, due to the budget, I had to go with Enterprise class SATA 7200 RPM HDs. I used the similar CPU, same controller & same amount of RAM, btw.
 However whenever I connect to Hyper-V machine to do some work, I feel that it is slow. On the other hand when I connect to VMWare box, things are much quicker.
  Do you think I was comparing apples against oranges?
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Hi SGLee,

Certainly my experience has been that there is no significant difference in responsiveness between VMWare and HyperV - they are both fine.  In fact, I have even seen an SBS2008 VM running on VirtualBox on Ubuntu Desktop (must have been a 64bit version) and it was responsive too, although I think the machine did have lots of RAM installed, with probably either 16GB or 20GB assigned to the SBS2008 VM, and I can't remember what the processor or DAS configuration was.  Not sure I would recommend that setup though!

The specs on the machines however will definitely make a difference.

Very hard to be sure how much a given component will matter, but with disks running twice as fast, I would expect a different experience of course.

Sometimes the client just wants to use cheaper disks and replace them regularly, and I have to say, I cannot really argue against it as a policy (as long as they do replace them).

For example, not a server, but I am putting in a NAS shortly, and the client is going with consumer grade SATA 7200 HDDs (Four disks in RAID5) which only have a 12 month warraty I think, and, subject to any actual disk failures, has asked us to replace one disk every six months automatically on rotation.  That way, the disks will never be more than two years old, and the 'old' disks will be moved into desktop machines and / or external USB drives I suspect.

The NAS won't be required to deliver a high speed of throughput - it is all 'archived' data that they want available but isn't used a lot, so this is actually quite acceptable to me, and it is all backed up anyway.

I guess if we did see the disks failing somewhere in the second year, we might change the policy on the grade of disk or duration, but for now I think it will be fine.


Back on your server setup - have you done a side-by-side comparison of options and their associated costs (including, if applicable, electricity costs of keeping machines running vs server(s) running)?  It is sometimes quite interesting to see how it pans out.


HTH,

Alan.
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Alan, Thanks for sharing your setup and I appreciate it.

Thanks everyone for your opinions!
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To save money, this is what I am planning to do:
(1) Go with Hyper-V. I won't need backup software or special licenses
(2) Go with VL version of W2012 (which comes free with W2008 R2, did I hear it right?)
(3) Get SBS2011 and set it up as DC/Exchange/File/Print VM
(4) Setup W2008 R2 as TS VM
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Hi SGLee,

Based on my understanding, which could be wrong (so do confirm with your supplier or MS Rep!):

With Server 2012 R2 (and previously - not sure how far back though) you get two licenses - one of those would be required for the HyperV though, so my understanding with your setup above you would need the following server licenses (without being specific between 2008 and 2012):

Server - HyperV
Server - TS
Server - SBS2011

The first two come together, and SBS is separate, so you are making two 'purchases' if you look at it that way.

Then you'll need CALs for SBS (it does come with five though), plus separately CALs for the TS, plus licenses for Office on the TS (and again separately licenses for Office on any desktops or other devices you are installing it on).

Are you are putting both SBS and the TS on the one VirtualHost?

Depending on how many concurrent users you might have, I would generally like to give each of the SBS and TS 12GB of RAM each as a minimum, plus some for the host, so I'd look at 32GB of RAM myself if I could get the budget, but perhaps you can get away with less?

HTH,

Alan.
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I am getting a new server with Xeon CPU, 32GB RAM, 600GB 15K SAS x 3 (for RAID 5).
I am thinking that I would setup Hyper-using W2012 and install SBS2011 (12GB) and W2008R2/TS (6GB). There are only 4 users in that office and they use one MS ACCESS database program all day long and of course WORD/EXCEL/OUTLOOK plus one industry specific app.

I think, as you indicated,  this is probably a sensible approach from $ standpoint.
And I think SAS 15K HD will make the difference in  terms of performance. Beside I am going to have every use connect to TS in the morning and run Apps from RDP session all day. In that way things will be running so much faster because there will be hardly any traffic between Worstations PCs and File Server since they all all there in one box.
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Okay :-)

Just to be clear, I still think that the TS will cost them substantially more than workstations - the costs are being amortised over too small a number for it to make financial sense, but it will work from a technical perspective.

Hope it all goes well.

Alan.
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Thanks Alan.
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