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sbs 2003 replacement sbs2011 or 2012r2, exchange 2013, RDS

We are a small a small accounting firm, 35 users, and have SBS 2003 r2 using exchange 2003.

Our LOB apps are Quickbooks and LaCerte and Microsoft office 2010, our desktop/laptops are i5/i7 Windows 7.

We cannot and will never use anything in cloud, except backup.

We have remote site in near future that will need access to an RDS for 5 users max.

Our present server is Dell PowerEdge SC 1430, dual Xenon x5110 1.6 ghz, 8 gig ram-4 useable, 250gig raid 1.

Our exchange database is under 40 gig since starting it in 2007, our data stored is at 100 gig for same time frame. We also use RWW now, but will have need for the RDS. We will not go over 50 users in next 5 years.

Everything works great. They want exchange and like the calendar sharing.

Senario1: I am looking at SBS 2011Std, I know it is getting old, but it would cover our exchange needs and Domain Controller and RWA, file server, then add 2012 r2/RDS for the remote site. Two separate servers.
5 years with SBS 2011 is acceptable.

Scenario2: Use 2012r2 as domain controller on POSE, Exchange 2013 on POSE and RDS on POSE, Quickbooks and LaCerte do not recommend using VOSE on a RDS. Microsoft does not recommend Exchange in VOSE on a POSE running domain controller on POSE. This is mission critical and we cannot experiment to make it work, if MS does not recommend it, we will not use it. This setup involve 3 separate servers. 3 W2012r2, plus all the cals for Xch, RDS, and server.

Again. Microsoft does not recommend Exchange running on DC, nor RDS running with Exchange, nor do they recommend virtualizing a DC for mission critical setting, QB and LaCerte cannot be virtualized. No cloud anything.

If you have a better setup or hardware recommendations for the above two scenarios, please respond.

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Distinguished Expert 2018
", nor do they recommend virtualizing a DC for mission critical setting"  that has not bee true for some time. And (less importantly) unless I missed something, QuickBooks enterprise has been supported in  a VM for a couple years now. LaCerte sadly has issues even with MS patches on a regular basis. I can't argue with keeping that physical, having seen their support.

Now, you listed your server specs, which makes me wonder if you plan on attempting to use the existing server. Let's start by putting that idea to bed. Regardless which route you go, that server won't cut it.

Next up, if you go the SBS route, you will be buying SBS CALs *and* 2012 CALs because SBS CALs do not cover 2012 servers. That negates a fair chunk of the cost savings usually associated with SBS.

So if I were to make a recommendation, two new physical servers. Two 2012 R2 standard licenses. One server runs two VMs. One for exchange 2013 and one DC. The other server runs a physical RDS server. All of this meets Microsoft's current supportability and best practices, and an easier license count, CAL count, and one less server helps reduce the capex you'd be looking at.
Sr. Systems Administrator
you can't install exchange 2013 in a 2003 environment so going directly to scenario 2 is not an option
you could put in a 2008 R2 server with exchange 2010 as a trial to move everything then remove exchange 2003 only then will you be able to install exchange 2013

or go with scenario 1 and migrate to sbs2011 and worry about exchange 2013 migration later


Thank you


Dear Seth,
Sorry I was not clear that we would be replacing the hardware whatever the scenario.
I am new to this site and have not figured out how to give you credit, once I accepted the other solution.
My plan now is to use new hardware with 2012r2 Std, then 2VM, one with 2012r2 and Exchange, the other VM 201232 with essential roles/dc.