Upgrade SBS 2008 to what?

G'day guys,

I have a couple clients who are looking at upgrading their respective SBS servers in the near future. Unfortunately SBS is no longer being sold (separate topic there), so I'm in the need for something that can replace their core business functions.

1) AD - Something that can authenticate users, control work places, etc
2) Exchange - either a hosted solution - office 365?? GAPPS?
3) File sharing - A way to control who can access what. If I had AD I could setup a NAS (Synology?) and that would control who could see what.

regards,

Steve
sjswartsAsked:
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Microsoft have clearly hinted that Hosted Mail is the way forward, so Office 365 is where I would be looking if you want the Exchange Experience.

How many users are you talking about?

If it is simple AD and file sharing you can look at Windows Server 2012 R2 to upgrade the server to and that should sort them out.

Alan
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Natty GregIn Theory (IT)Commented:
Server 2012 R2 will be what you'll upgrade to with office 365, share point services run real well on it if so desired
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sjswartsAuthor Commented:
About 20 Email user accounts, but only about 5 internal desktops.

They have their "Database" (actually just a folder with multiple sub folders) stored on the server, but various security prevents people from accessing what they should not.

I just liked the idea of a central management system for Virus protection, backups, user control and email.
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Natty GregIn Theory (IT)Commented:
in that case you just need a server to perform all those roles, they arent that many and have a backup server you cna bring online if that one crashes.
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Server 2012 R2 / Office 365 and then they have all that they currently have with minimal disruption.

As the user count is above 15, Foundation Server isn't an option as that caters for up to 15 users, but Essentials that caters for up to 25 users could be an option.  If they envisage growing beyond 25 users, then I would just stick with Standard server and then you just have to see what options they want from Office 365 and you can see those here:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/business/compare-all-office-365-for-business-plans-FX104051403.aspx

Alan
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sjswartsAuthor Commented:
G'day @nattygreg

I don't understand what you mean when you say "in that case you just need a server to perform all those roles"

Email isn't part of Server 2012 R2.

If I understand correctly use Office 365 for email and Server 2012 R2 for Virus protection, backups and user control.

Would be nice not to have to fork out for a whole new server. I noticed that Office 364 Enterprise comes with AD control?? How does that work?
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
I wouldn't tie in Office 365 with a single server performing AD because if you lose the AD server or it is down temporarily, you can't login to Office 365.  If you have 2 servers, then that could work nicely.
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sjswartsAuthor Commented:
But that is expensive is it not?

You are saying:

2 separate servers plus office 365?
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Natty GregIn Theory (IT)Commented:
its all about redundancy. Which will be more costly, one server with everything on it, and when its down you lose everything including the client or clients or for peace of mind the extra cost. PS its one cost for the software, the extra server yes is the added cost for the 2nd server your just replicating what you have on the first.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
First, why do you need to replace it?  You're not near the user limit.  Is there a feature that is needed by the organization that the server cannot do at this time?  If the hardware is old and the license is OEM, then they shot themselves in the foot by doing that because if it weren't OEM, SBS 2008 still has a couple of years of life to it before critical support runs out.  Save the money.

If the hardware is failing and it IS OEM, then replacement is definitely needed... at this point, you have to do the math.  Depending on how the company works and how they want to pay, it could be cheaper long term but more expensive short term to replace with an all in-house solution.  One copy of Server 2012 and one copy of Exchange will give you two VMs, one for AD/file services and the other for Exchange on one physical system.  Bought through retail or Volume License (VL), this solution could last 8-9 years, depending on company needs (the hardware would be replaced once though).  

Going through Hosted Exchange and other cloud services will make MS smile... but for larger businesses, you're giving up control, trusting others to provide CRITICAL services, and potentially costing more.  For example, a single copy of Office 2013 Volume LIcense is $360 or so for perpetual use... so... if you use that single copy for 8-9 years, that's an average monthly cost of as little as $3.33 per month.  On the other hand, buying Office 365 for 9 years (assuming no price increases) that can be installed locally is $12.50 per month.  Which is cheaper?  In fairness, Office 365 gives you, potentially more... but that's why I say do the math and figure out what you need and what the costs are.

Don't forget there are labor costs too for BOTH solutions.  I've had to spend hours on the phone with office 365 support to get certain things to work right... Hours that I WOULD NOT have spent on a VL based install.  But one could also argue that potential hours troubleshooting server things wouldn't exist with Office 365... then again, when they go down, you do.  GUARANTEED.  With a properly setup set of MX records and spam filtering (which you may have little control over in Office 365 (I haven't looked at it in detail), you can ensure that if your server goes down you could still receive, read, and reply to email...

Bottom line - I have one client on Office 365 - and they are SMALL (4 users).  I see all the downsides of hosted services and remember in 1995 when CLOUD was all the rage - back then we called it internet and POP3 and IMAP mail servers.   Then we brought everything in house... then a bunch of people realized they could make more as a service rather than a product, so they try to make everything old new again.   It has it's place... just not EVERY place!
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
I'm not saying 2 servers - I'm saying if you want to link Office 365 into your AD, then you would be better / safer / more reliable with 2 servers, but for 15 users, the cost would outweigh the benefits and with Office 2010 / 2013 being able to remember the passwords, there isn't a need to tie the AD password with the Office 365 password, so it's an unnecessary step / expense.
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sjswartsAuthor Commented:
@nattygreg - fair enough but these are a little business, I'll have to do the sums

@lee W - thank you for your effort in responding, it was highly appreciated. I do think that they most likely will go in house solution, it will cost short term a considerable amount, but long term in 8 to 9 years they will make good savings.

What virtualization works best for this setup ?? Windows Server 2012 (what version) and Exchange?? Hyper V? VMware?

@Alan Hardisty - makes sense, I guess it is a nice redundancy solution, if only I had an IT budget to consider options. Then it becomes a very emotionless decision. Buy the best you can afford.
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Either Virtualisation methods would be fine - just depends on what you know / are comfortable implementing.

I've not touched VMware but have deployed plenty of Hyper-V servers and find them very easy.

MS Offer a free Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V solution (no GUI).
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
If I stayed local, I'd go with Hyper-V - I've a LITTLE experience with VMWare - it's fine.... but for small business, you get overall more features for free with an MS solution and on a small scale especially, performance differences will be negligible. Not to mention that you'll be dealing with ONE vendor, not two.  for exchange, if I'm not mistaken, there is no upgrade from 2003 to 2013, so you'd have to migrate that install either with an interim 2010 install OR by exporting mail, uninstalling exchange, installing, and importing mail.  I would probably suggest buying a Volume License of 2013, but using Downgrade rights to 2010 and migrate to that.  You can further migrate to 2013 at a later date or, hopefully, migrate to the next version of Exchange (though that would be a new purchase).
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sjswartsAuthor Commented:
All very good information. Thank you for your time.
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