Microsoft Windows SBS is a Ripoff
The retail price of Windows Small Business Server (SBS) is about $65 more than Windows Server. Both products come with 5 Client Access Licenses (CALs), but additional CALs for Windows Server cost $40 each while SBS CALs cost $90 each. Windows SBS requires more RAM and a faster processor than Windows Server, so the hardware is more expensive. Symantec Backup Exec for SBS costs $1003, but the QuickStart Edition of Backup Exec for Windows Servers comes free with many tape drives.
All you really get for your money is a bunch of TeaseWare that adds no real value except the TeaseWare versions of Exchange and SQL Server. SQL Server, even the TeaseWare version, requires a seperate server, and many off-the-shelf applications (ACT!, Dynamics, etc.) that can use it will run as well (for small offices) on SQL Server Express, which is a free download, and is often distributed with the application. And SQL Server Express can run on a Domain Controller, so you don't need another server.
As for the TeaseWare version of Exchange, if ever there was a function that should reside on the cloud, it's Exchange. Hosting your own Exchange mailboxes requires considerable additional maintenance tasks (like, for instance, when a user drops a Blackberry in favor of an iPhone.). In addition, in order for Exchange mailboxes to be available outside the LAN, the server must be accessible on the Internet, which makes the server much more vulnerable to known and future threats. Hosted Exchange is much more secure, flexible and useable than hosting your own, and if you feel the need to do your own backups of Exchange mailboxes, there are multiple ways to do it. (My favorite is Easy2Sync for Outlook.)
The biggest cost of SBS, however, is on the backend.
With Windows Server, you connect the new server to the LAN, add it to Active Directory, promote it to domain controller (updating the existing forrest as necessary), replicate everything, demote the old server, remove it from Active Directory, and disconnect it from the LAN. This is a relatively simple, straightforward process, much of which can be done during normal business hours without adversely affecting normal operation. In addition, much of this can actually be performed remotely.
Replacing one Windows SBS server with another is quite complex and tedious, and that's if your old server and new server have the same version of SBS. If your new server has a later version, not only do you have to upgrade the old version on the old server, but you have to reinstall the new version on the new server. And that's before you can migrate any data or settings. Plus, the process is quite disruptive to the organization's normal operation. (You should probably plan to work through a three day weekend.)
Utilities - Operating System "Enhancements"
Today's operating systems are tremendously complex beasts; it is surprising that they work at all. Anything you do to add levels of complexity to the operating system will undoubtedly reduce its reliability. Even if it might provide you with some useful function that is not available by other means, I strongly suggest that you refrain from installing it.
© 2012 T C Solutions, Inc.