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Alternative to SBS2011

Posted on 2014-03-13
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Last Modified: 2014-03-16
Hi,
 
  SBS2011 used to be a perfect choice to small business customers network because it had RWW, Exchange built-in. However I can't buy it anymore.
  What are my alternatives?
  I have two server installations:
 (1) One site is with 5 users and they use OUTLOOK, but then they don't do group scheduling or anything fansy,

 (2) Another site is with 7 users and they also use OUTLOOK. They also told me that they don't use Outlook for group scheduling as they have their legal software that does calendaring for all the attorneys.

  That said I guess they can live without Exchange, but I want to make sure that
(1) RWW is available so that users can connect to their office desktop computers from home.
(2) Their smart phones can be synched with Exchange server for contacts and emails or whatever (in case there is no exchange server).

 There must be a reason why Microsoft stopped selling SBS2011 with Exchange. I saw Small business server 2012 Essentials w/o Exchange. Is there an industry trend  that I am missing?
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Question by:sglee
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by:
David Atkin earned 170 total points
ID: 39926877
Microsoft are trying to move over to cloud based solutions and subscription services.  Your replacement for Exchange is Office365 unless you want to purchase a full Exchange 2013 which for SMB's isn't really an option.

If you go with the E3 solution then you will also get SkyDrive for file sharing.  This can be cheaper than getting an on-site server but some people don't like the thought of everything in the cloud.

With Office365 your documents and emails will be in the cloud so there isn't much need for RWW as everything is accessible. Unless of course you have some third party programs running.  You can get round this by doing simple RDP and giving the users RDP Icons.

I am also sad to see SBS go.
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 170 total points
ID: 39927074
Full Exchange *IS* an option if the business wants it... BUT Office 365 does make more sense for the smaller installs such as the the two you're speaking of, in my opinion.

Kerio is a third party alternative.

Server Essentials includes a Remote Web functionality and is now an installable role in server 2012 R2.  It also includes a Workstation Backup component.

One of the reasons to stop making SBS as it was, was resource utilization.  Exchange was a beast of a resource hog and adding that to a DC and file server that does other things was getting very cumbersome.  What I would have preferred to see was an SBS bundling that included an Exchange license and Server 2012 instance since the 2012 instance gives you two VM rights, you could run them both on the same server without actually running them on the same server.  And for a client that wanted Exchange, my design right now would be to buy a single Server 2012 license and an Exchange 2013 license, install 2012 and run Hyper-V, install 2 VMs - one running Essentials and the other Exchange.

Problem is, this is about 75% more expensive than an SBS server would have been.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 39927135
Storing files in the cloud is not an option at this point for either client of mine, due to the fact that they run "Industry specific software" on the file server currently.

 Setting up Hyper-V with two VMs (1. Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials  2. Exchange, if necessary) may be an option to consider.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 39927138
Even though MS does not sell SBS2011, it appears that I can still buy them online. So I may just do that.  Setting up Hyper-V / W2012 Server with two VMs (1. SBS2011  2. Exchange, if necessary)
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