This is straight talk direct from the perspective of a Microsoft Partner & SBSC organization. I tell it without any apologies.
To briefly review SBS purchase options you have three:
- OEM – ships with the server hardware
- FPP – Full Package Product – you buy the plastic box with media inside
- Open Licensing – digital licenses, you purchase through distributor – media is provided via a second step unique to SBS and a scant few Microsoft products such as Microsoft Math (I’d never heard of it either)
To begin, you reach out to a distributor and purchase your licenses and decide Open Licensing is the type you want (see Eric Ligman’s helpful and up-to-date resources). An email is sent to the purchaser which provides a confirmation of the purchase along with the order Authorization Number and the License Agreement Number and a listing of the product licenses with corresponding Microsoft Product Number. With this information and the instruction contained with it, you can set up an account with Microsoft currently at a licensing management site called eOpen – https://eopen.microsoft.com.
After entering the Authorization Number and License Agreement Number(s) for your client, the information is accessible. From the left column of eOpen there is a link to “Product Downloads”.
Clicking this takes you to another licensing management site, Volume Licensing Service Center.
So maybe you read words in titles and are now encumbered with the mind twister of “Volume Licensing”. What is that? Didn’t I just earlier say there were only three types of licensing? Yes, and it all is still true. Let me do you a great service in untwisting the language jargon. Microsoft has an incentive program for selling licensing that is available to Partners and this is called Volume Licensing. When you sell various Open Licenses you get different points and this then leads to benefits for the partner. In other words Volume Licensing isn’t a type of licensing it is an incentive program. In the future you might realize that the eOpen site is entirely unneeded as everything can be done solely through the better designed and full functioning Volume Licensing Service Center site. Tip *** save the URL into a SharePoint link list why you are there.
So at this site you can get to a place to “Download Products”; however, with SBS Open Licensing this is a cruel tease. You won’t be downloading SBS media but it will lead you to obtain it via ‘an order’ (no cost aka free).
Clicking the link as show above takes you here and it looks like you are going to be able to download it! psyche! There is even a drop down box which misleadingly offers a 32 bit version of SBS 2008 (there isn’t one due to Exchange 2007). You must choose something in each dropdown box before the needed link appears. Notice that the “Continue Download” button is grayed out and the only active thing is a link to “Purchase the media kit version”. Follow that link:
The subsequent page lets you order a media kit which you have no “overnight delivery” option even for a fee. There is but one option and its to wait for it to come on its own pace. The good news is that you can order more than 1 copy of the media. So once you’ve got this far why not order some extra copies for your next client who purchases SBS Open Licenses. You can order up to 10 kits.
The media comes equipped with a suite of disks in sleeves that is vacuum wrapped in plastic; on the back of the sleeves are the associated and activation needed Product Keys. My October 2008 labeled media disks were a light blue and white design and most are DVD’s.
While you are waiting just obtain the proper version media and install it in trial mode by bypassing the Product Key entry – leaving it blank. You’ll get your media before your trial expires. Also remember you can use the ‘slmgr –rearm’ command to renew the trial up to three times for a maximum total of 120 days (4x 30 days trial).