The end of Small Business Server?

Older article that just popped on my radar…

My favorite reason of the reasons to let it die include bullet point 2:

“the ability to cut the cord of dependency on IT consultants (on which many small organizations rely because they don’t have in-house IT staff)”

Have you set up Office 365?  Honestly, set it up — not the domain — but with an honest to goodness real domain name?  Have you set up clients?  Have you set it up so that it fits into their needs of a business solution where the secretary can read and respond to the bosses email?  That he gets that email on his computer at home, his iPhone, his iPad.  This is not for the faint of heart and it’s still way way way too dns/domain name setup up uber geeky to the point where the average business owner will still need guidance for set up.

Not to mention you still have single points of failure in the form of Internet now that you need to plan on.

It’s still not so easy that a Caveman can do it.  If Microsoft’s Office 365 product is going to put IT consultants out of business, they are going to need to make the process of setting up domain/authentication/business processes and workflow a LOT easier.  Sure the cloud doesn’t need the normal patching and updating as they do that for you, but there’s a lot more that IT consultants do.

For the record, the reason that there’s a 25 user limit is that essentials does backups of 25 workstations.  75 – at this time –  is not supportable.

I’ll give you a reason that the cloud is not for everyone – put forth by Microsoft’s own literature – the issue of jurisdiction.  Office 365 cannot guarantee that your data stays within the legal jurisdiction of one country.  That is an issue for some small businesses.

Lastly I’ll give you one more concern I have.  Vendor ecosystem.  The very same thing that Windows phone 7 is fighting is something I’m very concerned about with SBS essentials.  Right now I only see HP as the major vendor coming out with an OEM build of it.  I’ve not seen Dell come to market with an OEM build.  So if SBS essentials is the go to product for small businesses, it going to need to be gotten to a lot easier than it is right now.

I hear people say “Hybrid is the way to go” but man, we gotta get this ecosystem of OEM vendors to step up to the plate (In my opinion) to get this ball rolling more.

My hope is that SBS Essentials decides what it wants to be – better for a DIY put the consultant out of work and be a LOT simplier to use, or listen carefully to what the var/vap partner wants and build it for HIS (or her) needs.  Right now it’s a bit stuck in the middle.

9 Thoughts on “The end of Small Business Server?

  1. “the ability to cut the cord of dependency on IT consultants”

    They would also like to relieve themselves of the dependency on desks, chairs, paper, paperclips, employees, printers, copy machines and office space.

    “Sure the cloud doesn’t need the normal patching and updating as they do that for you”

    Well, you hope.

    “For the record, the reason that there’s a 25 user limit is that essentials does backups of 25 workstations. 75 – at this time – is not supportable.”

    Someone still needs to convince me that there is a need to back up workstations at all.

  2. Hickinator on August 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm said:

    You both miss the mark with SBS. Most clients will pay to have SBS over the cloud and will do so to ensure they have an edge over their competitors. This is achieved through quicker access to information, more power and more flexability. The customer gets pigeon holed with the cloud. The clould is a great product for a very very small company. Ten or less employees. The problem with SBS is that most small company owners simply don’t understand the advantage that they could have using the product to it’s fullest extent. Web based products are slow, cumbersome and very difficult to get to do what you want them to do.

  3. Here’s the link for the Windows 8 Blog for anyone who’s interested.

  4. “Research In Motion (RIM) is releasing a cloud service for small firms to manage up to 100 BlackBerry smartphones and secure biz data stored locally on the device”

  5. Russell Clements on August 17, 2011 at 10:18 am said:

    I’m impressed that MS has managed to shoot themselves in the foot yet again. Make these servers available through distribution and let small systems builders build them out. Why rely on Dell or HP at all? I can ALWAYS build a better system than them at very competitive prices. Same thing with their Storage Server product and MultiPoint Server and Windows 7 Thin PC. If Microsoft would just get themselves out of their own way and ours, it would work better for EVERYONE!!

  6. Joe Raby on August 17, 2011 at 4:05 pm said:

    If you are a system builder, and you sell products to other people, then the system builder software is for you.

    The complaint that I have is that there is no system builder version of Storage Server Essentials. Instead, it’s only offered in the embedded channel, which has extremely high R&D licensing costs to get a project off the ground. The licensing that they do in the embedded channel is only meant for high-volume manufacturers, since you pay a huge amount for the development kit, but only when you start mass-producing your final product will you see a cost savings with the small per-unit license. I know I can also build a better value system with off-the-shelf components, and I’d like to create a system that acts as a good workstation backup box for an SBS box that I build, but Microsoft won’t offer Storage Server through the same channel as SBS so that I can offer a matching solution to my generic systems, instead of tying some namebrand box to one of mine.

  7. Out theBack on August 19, 2011 at 3:35 am said:

    Unfortunately the SBS2008 + 2010 product is dumbed down and has reduced security compared to SBS2003 Premium.
    Also the questions in forums show that too many IT consultants do not understand the fundamentals of DNS, security, group policy, how email works or what is that new backup with volume shadow copy?!
    In a big group hug there is no challenge or self reflection but only positive words helping them through their current brick wall.

    I hear crys for less complexity and less clicks to get setups completed and then Microsoft responds with very simplified products that can be setup without the need to read the manual.

    For businesses that don’t need security then any solution that can provide good uptime will do but if your client has some intellectual property worth keeping in-house then is it any wonder this will be the end of SBS; just untick the firewall on the way out.

  8. bradley on August 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm said:

    Why do you say it’s reduced security? (unless you are referring to the removal of ISA?

  9. Vince Tinnirello on August 20, 2011 at 10:21 am said:

    Love it Susan, great stuff. To your point, it took an hour with Synnex to get everything we needed for an HP Microserver with Essentials. I asked Dell in person at XChange about it and they had no immediate plans yet. For our smaller clients I want to sell it as TaaS with OWN hosted exchange and all of our support bundled in for a reasonable cost to the client.

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