Category Archives: 6949

WHS & SBS: Approved for Backups

For more than a year I have been promoting the use of Windows Home Server as a local backup solution in a Small Business Server (SBS2003/SBS2008) environment (per these two blogs: blog1blog2). I already have WHS installed at most of my SBS customer sites.

It now seems as if Microsoft is now willing to say “Yes” — that using WHS to backup your workstations and servers is a viable and supported scenario!  Read more on Microsoft’s Technet site.

SBS without Exchange?

I hear it all the time … my customer wants an SBS server, but they don’t want to use Exchange. I don’t know about you, but the only reason I can think of why either the customer or the IT consultant would suggest not using Exchange is because they’ve never used it themselves, and therefore are scared that it’s too difficult to install or manage. I have installed SBS servers for almost 9 years. I barely know how to spell Exchange, yet I find Exchange very easy to manage.

But, if you still need convincing, here is a short list of 8 reasons why you should consider using Exchange features with your SBS server.

  1. Group calendering
  2. Shared public folders
  3. Centralized storage and management of all emails
  4. Easy recovery of deleted emails
  5. Email archiving
  6. Centralized scanning of email for spam/viruses BEFORE they reach the user’s inbox
  7. Access to email remotely via OWA
  8. Access to email via ActiveSync for cellphones and PDA’s

Remember, if each user is using a POP3 account via Outlook, then those emails are generally only being stored on the user’s computer, and therefore they are probably NOT being backed up. With Exchange, the emails are being stored on the server as well as being cached onto the user’s workstation. Sbs and Exchange make a great team!

Cheers!

WHS Business Opportunities

If you are a Microsoft Partner, there will be a 5W/50 webinar entitled “Business Opportunities with Windows Home Server – Updated with PowerPack 2 Content” today at noon (EDT) given by Grey Lancaster and Kevin Royalty. If you think WHS is only for homes, then you’re still thinking within the box! WHS is a perfect fit with SBS 2003/2008.

IT Pro Tiki Tour – Tampa/Lakeland

Blain Barton, Microsoft’s Southeast IT Pro Evangelist, will be bringing his Spring Tiki Tour to the Tampa area on June 4th, 2009 (6p-9p) at the Polk Community College in Lakeland. Topics include: Moving to the Modern OS Roadmap, Windows Security, and Windows 7. I will be doing the Windows 7 presentation. (Yes, food is included!)

Space is limited. As of Tuesday 5/26, we already have 165 registered. Click here to register and for more information.

Hope to see you there!

Introduction to Windows Server 2008 Foundation

I previously blogged on April 1st about the new entry level Windows Server that Microsoft just released — Windows Server 2008 Foundation (WSF). Microsoft has now published a new paper called Introduction to Windows Server 2008 Foundation.

WSF is NOT intended to be a “baby” version of SBS. Rather, it is a Windows 2008 Server limited to 15 users. It’s designed to be sold into an existing very small business that is currently running a peer-to-peer (workgroup) network. There’s no Exchange on it.

Enjoy!

SBS, WHS and Backup Software

One of my mottos has always been: “You cannot have enough backup!”. So, I am always investigating and testing backup software. When Microsoft first releasd Windows Home Server (WHS), I knew that this was a product I would be testing. Well, tonight, it saved my bacon!

My own SBS 2003 server that has been running for years experienced a serious hard drive failure. Fortunately I do use Raid-5 disk configuration. So I shut down the server, replaced the drive, fired up the server to rebuild the Raid, and then rebooted. But apparently something else was amiss, as Windows would not boot up properly, reporting a failure or corruption with Active Directory. After trying a couple of other options unsuccessfully, I decided to see if WHS would get me back online.

Yes, I use WHS as my backup software of choice for backing up my SBS 2003 server! (P.S. The WHS Team has an informative article here).

So, I pulled out my WHS Restore CD and booted my server off the CD. However, it did not load a driver for my NIC card. No problem, as I knew the drill: go to another workstation, fire up the WHS Console, view the backup directory for the computer in question (my SBS server), and copy the contents of the WHS Drivers for Recovery folder to a USB thumb drive, and rename the folder to DRIVERS. I then took the thumb drive back to the server, where the WHS restore screen has a convenient button to install additional drivers. An hour later my server was back online and operational!

Lessons learned? There are lots of vendors offering backup software solutions for the Windows marketplace. I have used Acronis, ShadowProtect, and others. These are all good products. But WHS is a real winner for me, and for many of my small business customers. I have WHS installed and backing up both SBS 2003 and SBS 2008 servers, plus serveral peer-to-peer networks. It just works! It has even recovered a Windows 7 Beta laptop for me!

Now, someone may say that offsite (or remote online) backups are required, and I would not argue that point at all. Remember: I believe in multiple levels of backup solutions. But for the small business and home environments, WHS is an excellent backup software solution.

Cheers!