So it all started when in the mail the other day I get a letter and card from Microsoft saying “RE:  Your Open Value License Agreements”.  Hmmm… that’s interesting…this is the first I’ve gotten that.  And it tells me to check out for info on benefits, deployment resources, software release calendar, etc.  Then a couple of days ago I get an email from Tom Saccomando with and he sends along a confirmation of my SA benefits…the ones that I HAVEN’T yet taken avantage of.  So I hop onto my Microsoft Volume licensing page, where all my codes and what not are located and sure ’nuff I now have some Conceirge benefits and elearning coming my way, ones that I had missed getting activated.

I must say that now that I let Softwareone handle the issues, I’m not as confused about licensing. Don’t get me wrong I still think sometimes because Microsoft tries to be flexible for the big guys, it ends up being confusing for us little guys. 

The problem is down here we are ‘as the joke goes’, an inch wide and a mile deep, and thus cannot be the experts in EVERYTHING.  Sometimes using external resources is really the true way to better understand rather than taking your valuable time and energy.  

Before I forget it, I HUGE thanks to Eric Ligman who first turned me on to the folks. 

Hey!  I’ll mark this post another in the “Vendors who get SBS” because truly do.    

From the mailbag a couple of days ago, Ralph asks “what Anti Virus do I use”

My Antivirus that is running both here at home and at the office is the Trend SMB suite

But I know that others in SBS land use:

Sophos [Marina and Eriq recommend this one]

Symantec 9.0 suite [Handy Andy  and Frank have installs of this]

CA Etrust [SuperG uses this]

But let me get the exact products that they recommend and I’ll update the blog post.

Update:  Make sure you read the comments section for some “real life” reports of what works.  You know what I find funny?  No one in small business is mentioning the antivirus firm that Microsoft bought [Sybari].

February 16, 2005

LPI Level Platforms Introduces Windows Small Business Server (SBS 2003) Templates for Partners Offering Remote Monitoring and Management Services

OTTAWA, February 16, 2005 – LPI Level Platforms Inc. today announced a complete, easy-to-use and inexpensive Web-based remote monitoring solution for VARs and IT service providers monitoring Windows Small Business Server 2003 (SBS) networks.

LPI’s Managed Workplace now includes a comprehensive pre-built template for SBS networks. The template includes predefined alerts to quickly display and monitor the health of the server environment including server monitoring, user monitoring, operating system monitoring and infrastructure services monitoring. Managed Workplace allows IT service providers to provide new levels of customer availability and performance through fast problem detection and resolution as well as lower services costs based on anytime, anywhere, remote Web-based alerting and diagnostics. Extensive analytical and reporting tools combined with effortless deployment and low monthly subscription pricing make Managed Workplace the leader in the rapidly growing market for remote monitoring and management software.

Managed Workplace can be installed on the SBS 2003 server with no requirement for additional hardware. It monitors the server leveraging SBS’ internal tools and extends this powerful capability to monitor every device and application on the customer’s network all within a single reporting and alerting framework and all for a single low monthly price.

Peter Sandiford, CEO of LPI, said, “SBS 2003 has quickly become the standard for SMBs. Most of our partners deal with SBS customers on a daily basis. Managed Workplace delivers the tools these partners need to generate long-term high margin recurring revenues, lower service costs and higher levels of customer responsiveness.”

“There are several products that are great for monitoring large enterprises, but aren’t cost effective for smaller customers, especially VARs like us who need to monitor multiple smaller networks,” said Chad Gross of Mobitech, an SBS MVP. “With its support of SBS 2003 and wide array of functionality, Managed Workplace plays a vital role in our ability to provide our customers with a high level of service that is both timely and cost effective.”

Dave Danford, Senior Director of Windows Server Product Management at Microsoft added, “Windows Small Business Server provides small businesses with a great server platform upon which to run and manage their information technology. In situations where small businesses choose to leverage the expertise of a partner, Managed Workplace provides a great complement to SBS by extending management features to partners who are deploying and supporting multiple SBS customers.”

“Managed Workplace is turning the heads of many decision makers,” said Harry Brelsford of SMB Nation and author of ‘Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices’. “VARs serving SMBs are realizing that they can easily turn the key on this product and begin proactively monitoring a customer site – providing real value to their customers, while realizing recurring revenues. Now, with a template to monitor SBS 2003, the ‘turnkey’ process became even easier.”

About Managed Workplace

Managed Workplace is an award-winning subscription-based network performance monitoring and service management software product designed and built for VARs and IT service providers with multiple small and medium size or distributed enterprise customer sites. Managed Workplace uses the .NET platform from Microsoft, and includes extensive use of WMI for Microsoft environments. In addition, full SNMP monitoring enables network administrators to monitor network devices on any system including UNIX®, Linux®, Solaris®, and more. In November 2004, Managed Workplace was selected as the winner of the “Networking Infrastructure Solution of the Year” in the Microsoft Partner Program IMPACT Awards.

Managed Workplace costs $60 per month per SMB customer site – no contract or lease terms – risk-free and scalable based on business needs. VARs typically make 100% to 300% margin on remote services with improved customer responsiveness and reduced service costs. With Managed Workplace, there are no up front fees, designed to make it easy to get started and allow the first order to make money.

Managed Workplace was developed with funding from CANARIE. World-recognized CANARIE is Canada’s advanced Internet development organization. CANARIE is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to accelerating the development of Canada’s Internet and the creation of innovative applications that exploit the power of that infrastructure to benefit Canadians.

About Windows Small Business Server 2003:

Designed with small business needs in mind, Windows Small Business Server 2003 is a complete and affordable network solution. Windows Small Business Server 2003 provides many of the networking features used by large companies, without the complexity typically associated with server technology. Windows Small Business Server 2003 delivers a complete business server solution for small businesses with up to 75 workstations and is available in two editions: standard and premium.