SBS2003 R2 SQL 2000 and SQL 2005 Downgrade Rights

SBS 2003 R2 is in beta now and the Premium Edition contains SQL 2005 Workgroup Edition which is nice.  It will give forward looking customers the chance to get all the great features of SQL 2005… that is once their application vendor supports it.  What do they do in the meantime if they need SQL 2000 then?  Well – based on the information on the MS website, they can do one of two things…

Option 1  suggests that they downgrade their SQL to SQL 2000 Standard Edition (I guess they have not figured out fulfilment just yet)

Q. What do I do if I want to upgrade to SBS 2003 Premium R2, but need to keep SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition until my application is certified or tested on SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition? 
A. We understand that customers and partners will require time to test their applications on the new SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition before installing it and need to keep the business running in the interim. To facilitate this, you may install SBS 2003 R2 and remain on SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition, moving to SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition once the application has been tested and is ready to be in a production environment. We highly recommend customers work closely with their IT solution provider or consultant as well as the line-of- business (LOB) application provider to work through this situation.

Option 2 suggests that they work with their application vendor to figure out WHEN to upgrade – this does not sound like the above.

Q. I want to upgrade to SBS 2003 R2 Premium Edition, but I need to keep SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition until my application is certified or tested on SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition. What do I do?
A. You should talk with your IT solution provider, system consultant, and the line-of-business (LOB) application provider to help you determine when the time is right to upgrade.

I can only hope that Microsoft have really thought out how best to handle this as despite their (Microsofts) desire to have the entire world use SQL 2005, reality is that many application vendors are only just now thinking about testing their apps on SQL 2005.  There will be at least 12 months more before application vendors have tested their apps on SQL 2005 and certified them for it.  So – Microsoft – which is it – which path will you take that shows that you understand the need of the Small Business Owner that you so desperately want to adopt SBS as their First Server and their Right Server?

Patching – needs to be even simpler please Microsoft

Today we had an interesting issue on a client site – the client runs SBS 2003 – they sent out an email blast to 60 of THEIR customers but they mistakenly put everyone in the cc line instead of the bcc line.  What then happened was a deluge of emails that bounced back to them and continues even now.  Our IT team immediately checked out our clients SBS server and could not see a problem, until we realised that the mail was coming from one of their customers servers.  We investigated and the based ont he MX records, it gave us the impression that the clients customer was using the POP3 connector.  So we figured it was linked back to the now infamouse POP3 connector patch I then spoke with the IT Guy that was looking after the clients customer – his response was “They should be right as they have automatic updates turned on”.  His belief was that the customers server was fine with just Automatic Updates turned on.  Depending on the media you installed SBS from, you may find that your not covered.  Automatic Updates in the original pre SP1 versions of SBS 2003 just ensure that the Operating system is patched – it does not take into account all the other components of SBS such as Exchange Server, the POP3 connector or ISA server.  The issue we have here is that Microsoft fail to understand that this issue exists and they fail to do anything about resolving it for older software.  That my friends is bad.  Sure, in the next version of SBS 2003 – SBS 2003 R2 (or SBS Version that shalt not be named) it’s all sorted with the total integration like never before of WSUS, but Microsoft need to make it much more clear to the IT Pro’s out there just what is and is NOT patched by Windows Update, Automatic Updates and Microsoft Update.  The way that we can handle it on our SBS servers is to visit the Microsoft Update site and use Microsoft Updates once, this will “flip the bits” that will ensure that future Automatic Updates will include the additional Exchange, SBS and ISA component.  Had the IT Guy done this then we would not have this problem right now.  Fingers crossed that he deals with this quickly now.

Update – just recieved email that he’s applied the MS POP3 patch very quickly (in fact within an hour of being told) so things should settle down quickly now.