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What alternatives are there to Small Business Server?

Posted on 2014-02-20
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Last Modified: 2014-02-26
Now that Microsoft have pulled the plug on SBS, what alternatives are there for a small business that doesn't want to, or can't use the cloud? One of my clients has a about 10 users using SBS for Exchange and SQL server to run their orders system. They have a very poor broadband speed which at best hits 2mpbs so running anything over it is pretty much out of the question. They're currently stuck on SBS2003 due to the orders application which has not developed as fast as it should have been (a bit of a cottage industry I think). In April SBS2003 support will cease and so they really have nowhere to go. What are others doing in this situation?
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Question by:ClintonK
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by:Tony Giangreco
Tony Giangreco earned 84 total points
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If you look around, you can probably find a legitimate copy of sbs2007 to purchase. Just make sure it's legitimate and not a counterfeit copy being sold.

That would bring you back into the supported area of Windows and allow you to upgrade to a newer version of Exchange.   To address your Order System problem, if necessary, I'd migrate that to a 2003 VM running on the SBS box or something like that.  Possibly your OE system will run on SBS 2007 and that would resolve that problem also.
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
Larry Struckmeyer MVP earned 83 total points
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Look at such as Amazon and purchase SBS 2011.  Supported until 2020, by which time other solutions may appear or your customer will be better able to afford the alternatives.  There is also Server Essentials... a great product... and pop3 mail/web mail if that is all they want.  Server Essentials supports 25 computers and user accounts, has no CALs and does block level PC backups.
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by:Peter Hutchison
Peter Hutchison earned 83 total points
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Note that in Server Essentials 2012, Exchange is no longer included and has be bought and installed separately.
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by:ClintonK
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Yes, I appreciate that, it's all add-ons now. Dumping SBS is Microsoft's money generating scheme. I wonder who will step in to fill the void.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 83 total points
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There is no rule saying your client must remain on Exchange.  Kerio has a mail server that can be used.

Dumping SBS makes sense - Exchange and it's requirements and being installed on the same server as all those other services was killing system performance.  HOWEVER, Server 2012 offers TWO copies when virtualized - this is a HUGE savings.  You can buy a copy and downgrade one VM to Server 2012 Essentials and use the other for Exchange or Kerio.  

And again, there are other mail products - they do not have the same capabilities as Exchange... but some places do not use all the features anyway.
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by:Kwoof
Kwoof earned 83 total points
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I have moved clients to server 2012 essentials.  I like the virtualized solutions better for quick recovery if there is a failure.
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Cris Hanna earned 84 total points
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I have a client that I started working with last October.  They had already done their research and knew they wanted SBS 2011.  Then never heard from them until January 4th.  I reminded them that I had told them that SBS 2011 wasn't going to be available as a pre-installed solution now.  They will grow beyond 25, so that ruled out essentials.  Looked at Server standard and Keriio and just didn't seem up to par.  Lots online window shopping later, found a great server configuration from TigerDirect. dual xeon processors, 24GB of Ram, 2TB of storage in Raid10. Under 2k.  SBS 2011 OEM and caps available at Provantage.com.    BUT
this won't go on forever and other solutions are going to be needed.  The folks at ThirdTier.net have been working on this so you might search their site for kitchen project.  I'm not part of Third Tier but I am well acquainted with most of the folks working on it.  BUT you don't mention if this application they will now run on something other than 2003
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by:ClintonK
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I have spoken to the client again today and it transpires that there is an upgrade to the application which they haven't taken advantage of (they're not known for spending money) but at this stage we don't know if it runs on 64 bit but I've convinced them to shell out on a copy of SBS 2011 anyway. If the worst come to the worst I'll look after the copy of SBS2011 for them ;-)
I will certainly look at ThirdTier.net, thanks.
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Author Comment

by:ClintonK
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I've encouraged my client to purchase a copy of SBS2011 before it left the shelves so that gives them 6 years to think about alternatives.
Thanks for all the comments. I'll look into Essentials a bit more and certainly take a look at ThirdTier.net
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Author Closing Comment

by:ClintonK
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Thanks everyone for their input. I've rated the answer as B and accepted each responder as a solution because there is no single answer to the question - each is absolutely correct. It's enlightening to know what others are doing.
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