SBS gone poof …Transition Ahead! – Who, What, Why, Where, When

subtitle –  emerging technology innovation train coming through – this just isn’t the right business for stagnation

News is now out …SBS is no more – dramatic shift and what exactly does this mean?  …losing the name SBS, the unique partner certification and designation branding SBSC, and much of the special philosophy that the last decade saw Microsoft reaching for the Small Business as had never happened before. 

Who – the customer, the partner, the vendors, the software developers, the software support …all will be impacted

What – SBS the name and the brand is no more, no SBSC, replaced by a hybrid of Windows Server Essentials 2012 & either a member server of Exchange on premise or Exchange hosted – all the predictable results wizards gone  …it’s a new world

Why – …apparently it was time for a change – life happens …business decisions are made by those that shoulder the rudder and compass

Where – all encompassing across the width and breadth of Microsoft’s landscape

When – SBS 2011 w/ SA stops being sold July 31’st, 2012, SBS 2011 platform stops as OEM December 31’st, 2013, SBS 2011 platform in VL and … stops June 30, 2013 – the Windows Server Essentials 2012 product launches with the Windows 2012 family of server expected in the August-September time frame.

**other important noteworthy aspects**

none of the new licensing and pricing for this model is out yet -  it is not yet possible to do an accurate cost comparison of whether buying SBS 2011 w/ SA now will be a good decision.  The historical Microsoft trend has been to supply the full next version products and licensing to be at a minimum equivalent to what SA covers; in the case of now defunct Windows Essential Business Server aka WEBS aka EBS, that meant a really incredibly good deal.  With the SBS 2012 platform that will likely mean Exchange, Exchange CALS, and Windows Server Standard 2012 …see the linked FAQ from the preceding post.

a script is under development to help integrate on-premise Exchange on a member server to Windows Server Essentials 2012 so that managing users and their email accounts can be done from the WSE console …sorta SBS-like – this integration script is available in the current downloadable beta

Windows Server Essentials 2012 will be the evolutionary step product from what is currently named Windows SBS 2011 Essentials and the licensing model of 25 users and no CALS required should carry forward.  WSE 21012 will add Direct Access as a new feature.

WSE will be able to be ‘transmogrified’ aka 25 user limit breakable via a one time purchasable upgrade script.  There will be no unique upper limit as the server essentially become a Windows Standard Server OS.  The de-duplication backup feature will expand up to 75 devices at this point.  Once the ‘transmog’ is applied you still get to keep the RWA, Remote Web Access, and De-dup Backup features.

SBSC is gone …Small Business competency (Silver or Gold) is an available path to consider going.  The benefits are in many ways nicer.  It costs nearly 562% more ($1,850 Silver versus $329 MAPS – as of today for US Partner)

**General Banter**

Ouch that hurt …didn’t see that coming?  Probably because up to a month ago their were reports of development on a product to replace SBS 2011 still underway.

Although the never-ending siren call of ‘go to the cloud’ beckons, many on-premise clients are resisting; their LoB apps, data security requirements, and their bandwidth costs are key factors.  Resistance is futile or so I’ve been told.

So while you can still do on-premise, it isn’t for those that are simpletons or light on their ability to follow complex instructions and do their due diligent preparations to ensure good healthy rollout projects.  We’ve been encouraged and guided to adapt to the SBS mantra of putting everything possible on a single box to maximize value to the customer.  In this era, we can now still do this but can silo the various resource monster products onto their own virtual machine where all the products like Exchange, IIS, and SQL can coexist but yet be constrained by assignment of memory or CPU cores.

**Silver Lining**

As painful as this transition is, if we can get all the keystone IT infrastructure software components in VM’s under a single Virtual Parent and keep pricing in line with its historical small business affordability; then we will be in a better place.  Having a BDC and redundant DNS is in reach.  Another perk is that ISV’s can design their LoB software for Windows Server and not have to specially accommodate a ‘small’ flavored unique server platform as has been the case.  This also provides the ability to opt into increased DR resiliency by implementing the usage of HyperV clustering with the VM’s on a common NAS.  For those business that never want to be down for long; this is a great new option albeit with a doubled++ price on hardware.


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