Ideas for a Small Business File Sharing solution??

We manage a small company with 19 computers and they have the following environment...
a Small Business 2011 Server with Exchange 2010.
The customer currently uses the following services on the server:
1) They use the e-mail server.
2) They use Active Directory for authenticating computers and end-users.
3) They use folders and file sharing with mapped network drives.
4) They have one primary Line of Business Application.
6) DNS

I am contemplating offloading #, their e-mail onto Office 365.
I am also contemplating offloading their Line of Business Application into the cloud for which the application vendor offers a cloud solution.
The firewall can address the DHCP and DNS

This alleviates 4 out of 6 above.  Any ideas on what I can do for file/folder sharing as well as secure authentication of the end-users and computers?
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Given that you already have SBS2011, what is the benefit of going to Office 365?

Doing so will incur costs, whereas you already have the current setup with no ongoing costs (already incurred - sunk)?

NetExpert Network Solutions Pte LtdTechnical SpecialistCommented:
As you already moved part of your mails and other stuffs to Microsoft, you can have Microsoft cloud storage and you can integrate with office 365 too

I agree with the above, why change? You can at least keep on using the SBS server for AD directory service, as well as file-server and Print Server.

Do make sure you have a good disaster recovery in place though.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
I Agree, SBS 2011 is a great product you can continue to use it however one alternative would be to move to Server 2012 R2 Essentials.  This properly integrates with O365, gives you central management and monitoring of PC's, group policy, a better DNS and DHCP server, and also does full nightly backups of PC's.  SBS did not do the latter.  This allows you to easily restore a PC in the event of a drive failure or virus.  Also no CALs are required.
Bryant SchaperCommented:
Plus, besides the obvious why question, you will need DNS on the server anyways for AD.  I think it is a requirement if I am not mistaken.

Seems like change for the sake of change, but no business requirements that you are sharing.  What is the end goal.  SBS use to include another server instance for SQL if I recall, so your LOB could stay in house too, with better performance, and overall lower costs.

But to answer your question, why not a simple NAS appliance or OneDrive that you get with 365.  You could leverage SharePoint as well.  I could see moving email to Office 365, I have never been a fan of in house single server deployments.  I find it funny that Microsoft's documentation for Exchange deployments has several servers but then to compete they sell the all in one SBS .

I was reluctant to case aspersions in my first post, but if the move to Office 365 was recommended by your external IT support, you might want to get in another outfit to offer a second opinion and become very skeptical about any advice from the original support crowd.

Too often I have seen small businesses with SBS2011 persuaded to move to 'the cloud' by their IT support providers when it gives them little or no gain, and much more cost.  The gain is to the IT support business since they will likely charge you to migrate, and a properly setup SBS2011 hardly ever has any issues.

If I had any more SBS2011 licenses stockpiled, I'd still be installing it for small businesses - its much cheaper, both in licensing and support costs, than going to Office 365 etc.  In fact, I reckon I could be on-selling SBS2011 for 50% more now, than I was before it was discontinued around then end of 2013 - the value proposition is just so good.

Its difficult to look forward, but I suspect I will have lots of businesses on SBS2011 right through to end of support in 2020 or whenever it stops getting security updates.

eitconsultingAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone for the feedback. Quick correction, the SBS version I mentioned above was 2011.  This customer is actually using SBS 2008 if this changes any of your opinions.  I'm with most of you and my small company IS the company that maintains this customer's network.  This being said, I've received feedback from the Decision-Maker of this company's son-in-law who happens to work for Microsoft and used to do what we do which is managed services.  Regardless, the son-in-law is encouraging putting everything on the cloud because in his words, "SBS is Archaic".  I on the other hand proposed what some of you had proposed (which was kind of refreshing to hear).  I proposed replacing the hardware and upgrading the 7 year old server to a new one, offloading the e-mail to Office 365 to alleviate the burden and overhead of Exchange 2007 and setup a Synology NAS drive integrated with AD for remote file access similar to DropBox but in-house and do away with DropBox recurring charges.
Rob WilliamsCommented:
If you move to 2012 R2 Essentials or newer there remote web access is similar to SBS 2008 but it also has file shares available.  The user can access locally via mapped drive or use the web page and remote users access the web page.  Files are then available similar to windows explorer. The nice thing about keeping everything on SBS or essentials is a central console and reporting to manage users, devices, data, and backup.

Sounds like maybe the son-in-law is either a bit clueless, or has drunk too much of the MS kool-aid.

Server 2008R2 is the same generation as SBS2011 I think, so much of the above will still be correct.

If you have already moved the email off to Office 365, then that deed is done, and I would not suggest saddling the business with further unnecessary costs by moving it back.

My suggestion is still to leave everything else where it is.

I would perhaps do a quick comparison of costs over the next few years (to whenever end of support for Server 2008 is) side-by-side with the recurring charges for Office 365.  It would take about five mins to show which is better value, and give it to whoever is paying for this out of their pocket to decide.


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