Microsoft officially ended the Small Business Server (aka SBS) to the chagrin of many smaller companies wanting in-house control of their data at a reasonable cost. With this move the cost of having an in-house solution for email & data went up by $3000 or more. I’ll explain the changes and how you can make a new SBS that will at least do the same job as before.
SBS was unique in it allowed the Domain Control & Exchange to co-exist on the same server, normally this didn’t work.. Exchange doesn’t like being on a DC. The new method means every company needs 2 servers in their office or move email to the Cloud, as we know in Canada that’s not going to work (unless you have no email from the government or government contracts which REQUIRE your mail & server be in the country).
The new solution is a computer powerful enough to run 2 servers, one normally and the 2nd virtually. Windows Server Essentials 2012 will be the base machine and another copy of Server 2012 Standard runs as a VM (but not a DC) and there resides the Exchange server. Many other changes are also needed and the setup is much longer and of course the server more complicated. Instead of the $900 + licenses (past 5) on SBS you now have $500 for Essentials (upto 25 users), $1000 for Standard but also $900 Exchange & $110/user.
Of course setting up 2 servers takes longer (even if one is virtual), the hardware is more expensive and you need a few extra parts (like a VM drive for Exchange). All in all an in-house system went from about $6000 (hardware, software & labour) to about $10,000. You can no longer buy SBS 2011 but for those with a copy you could keep it running on new hardware for a least a few more years (after all SBS 2003 just ended it life).
Gizmodo (a tech savy company that offers layman explanations about the latest gizmos) while underwhelmed by the new iPad2 thought they have some fun with the non-tech. This fun was giving a regular iPad2 user a ‘new iPad’, which was actually an old iPad2 but they were TOLD it was the new version. The sad part is the apple consumer wanted the ‘new iPad’ because it was the new version, even though it was the same as the one they already owned.
Read the Gizmodo article here:
Upgrading a computer workstation (home or office) can be a real gamble. Not only is it a good deal of cash the time and energy to move all your data, programs and re-do all your settings is significant. Sadly, far too often, the performance increase isn’t worth the cost as a clean install will oftne do the same thing and save you nearly $1000.
This however (the machine below) will make a HUGE difference in your performance:
Intel Core i5 2500 Quad Core Processor LGA1155 3.3GHZ
ASUS P8H67-M PRO/CSM Motherboard
Mushkin 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1333 Dual Channel Memory Kit
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB Solid State Disk Flash Drive
Samsung Black DVD Writer
Antec Three Hundred Case 300 ATX Front USB & Audio
Sparkle Power Supply W/ 120MM Fan
Samsung S23A300B 23IN Widescreen LCD Monitor
Logitech MK200 Media Keyboard and Mouse Combo USB
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64BIT DVD OEM
Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Business English
From NCIX this complete computer is less than $1400. Being one could skip a few pieces if you already have them (OS, screen, keyboard) the price can get down to about $600 for the basic computer. The SSD and the timed CPU/Memory/Motherboard are the key, it’s runs lightning fast and is rock solid reliable. The only upgrades needing consideration to this beasty.. add in a mechanical 1TB+ Western Digital Caviar Black for storage and an NVidia video card.
As you may remember the system requirement from XP to Vista meant you had to buy a new machine and be prepared for it to actually perform worse than your older XP computer. Luckily Windows 7 gained some performance back but with the 64bit version you can upgrade easily and efficiently for less than $400 (not including software).
Windows 7 likes more memory and 4GB will fit in most older machines also with the 64bit version the old memory limit disappears. Thanks to dropping prices, $100 will buy you 4GB of memory and if your motherboard can handle it 8GB is less than $200. For example: NCIX 4GB DDR2 Memory
The next big performance jump is an SSD (Solid State Drive). For about $250 you have a very fast 120GB drive (use as the OS Drive) and can use your old drive as the data drive (makes migration really easy). SSD read much faster than the older mechanical drives but write speeds are about the same, this makes booting and loading programs very quick. Here’s a few examples of SSD: NCIX Solid State Drives
Lastly you need the new operating system, Windows 7 Professional 64bit. If you are buying a drive I suggest you get the OEM version and save a good deal of money ($160 vs. $325 but you need a storage device purchase to qualify). The ‘Home’ version lacks the domain abilities, no point in getting 32bit and Ultimate is over priced. Some examples: NCIX Microsoft Operating Systems
The actual upgrade process is about 2 hours and you’ll have a dual-booting system (BIOS selectable) and be mildly stunned how much faster it is. Consider getting MS Office 2010 Home & Business if you’re still using a 2003 version of Office, it’s worth the upgrade and you get 2 license for about $300.