Dear Greg:

When I asked you and others to look at the SBS R2 webcast I wanted you to look at it from a “new client” viewpoint.  When you say that “how can I sell this to my existing clients?” you are right.  This will be a hard sell.

But I think all of the “Gregs” out there are missing the point on this release.  Regardless of how we feel about it, listen to the webcast again… hear how the emphasis is on new clients?

Can you answer one more thing for me?  Why is it that even to this day there is evidence that we have SBS 2003 boxes that don’t have Service pack 1 on them?

I know I’m in the serious minority of how much a PatchAholic wacko I am, but you know what…. I shouldn’t be.

That’s what R2 is all about.  And yeah while some of the more talented in SBSland can roll out WSUS in nothing flat, it’s pretty obvious to me that many of you guys and gals out here have not installed it, have not even tried it, and are not using it.

Now granted WSUS can’t put SBS 2003 sp1 on that box, but if you haven’t begun the process of getting a Patching process in place, then when that new client of yours shows up on that doorstep with a R2 box in tow, and you’ll look at that WSUS going…. okay what the heck is this patching thing about anyway….needless to say you’ll be starting off on the wrong foot.

Yeah, the first thing you should understand about me is that I will throw on a patch or a hotfix to a server or workstation without blinking an eye, but it will take me longer to roll out a Service Pack.  I’ll wait, and I’ll see, and I’ll test on a test box, but I roll it out.

Right now the word on ISA 2004 sp2 is that we’re seeing some issues with websites and downloads, and yeah if you must have it installed, the best advice is to delete the cache, install SP2, then disable the compression filter.  (Obviously not a biggie for us down here anyway).  Due to the time of the year at my office…. I have not installed it.  But the best advice I can give on patching in general is ….

  • Get a test program in place
  • Learn how to google for issues (hint put the KB article in the Google Groups box and chances are you’ll hit someone talking about an issue)
  • Install it on your machine…and then let it bake before rolling it out to others. Yes, Microsoft tests these…but the cannot test them with every line of business stuff you have.
  • You don’t have to be first. I still remember the day that Windows 2003 sp1 came out and someone downloaded it and installed it during the lunch hour.  I mean come on….

Service packs are a big change management.

So yeah Greg… don’t look at this as something you’ll necessarily need to get for your existing clients unless they are looking to get the SQL 2005.  Instead I’d be looking at those clients who could benefit from a member server running Windows 2003 R2 for your existing client base.  Or looking to upgrade folks from Standard to Premium (which of course is ONLY one cdrom, you do NOT need to start over and install the entire Premium cdrom set, all you need is the ONE premium disk and you install the SQL…like for example for CRM 3.0

But don’t blow this release completely off.  Because for the PatchAholic that I am, this is a milestone for us.  Be proud that SBS showcases how far patching has come in Microsoft.  Realize how this means a lot of work has gone on under the hood.


2 Responses to Dear Greg (and anyone else)

  1. Greg says:


    I can appreciate the new client perspective. This is no different than when Windows 2000 and Windows XP had an overlap in the marketplace. If you had Windows 2000, you could purchase the upgrade software to get to Windows XP. If bought a new computer it would come with Windows XP, not Windows 2000. In the end, I’m not going to have a choice to R2 or not R2!

    However, my problem with R2 is that there doesn’t seem to be any real benefit. So it includes an MMC for WSUS that’s part of Server Management. I agree that is a nice thing to see everything in one view. SQL 2005 WGE is nice, but only a small minority of SBS installs is Premium anyway.

    The slide in the presentation that SQL 2000 does not include any reporting capabilities is wrong. Anyone with SQL 2000 Standard can download, for FREE, Reporting Services and Analysis Services. These two things are terrific; they use COTS software already on the majority of desktops in the world (Microsoft Office), and they are FREE. Reporting Services is the thing that will be the downfall of Crystal Reports.

    I guess the thing that gets me most is the fact that this is not a free upgrade – only if I’ve got Software Assurance – don’t get me started about the even smaller minority that have SA on their SBS installs.

    Susan, having WSUS part of the installation is terrific. Anything to make servers and workstations in SMBs more secure, the better.

    When you boil it all down and look at the real benefits, the only thing left is SQL 2005 WGE. Since SBS R2 does not include all of the updates that Windows R2 has, SQL WGE is the only “new” thing that I can’t already download and install on my own and for free. However, the people that could actually take advantage of a SQL 2005 version upgrade are few and far between as they have to be on SBS 2003 Premium. And, to your point that this is more for new clients, most Partners out there don’t sell/install Premium technologies.

    Why make ISA 2004 free with SP1 yet charge for SQL 2005 WGE in R2? ISA 2004 received a higher evaluation by Common Criteria than even the Cisco PIX.

    Susan, thank you for entertaining this discussion. I really hope that others will chime in on how they feel about the R2 release. Thank you for all that you do for the community and for keeping us on our toes!



  2. bradley says:

    For one ISA was delayed…we were supposed to get it with SBS 2003 but ISA slid into 2004.

    Secondly, take this time to do value add ons to your existing clients.

    Look at their business processes. Make them more effecient. Get them to use Sharepoint.

    Take this time of a solid release of SBS for your existing clients to build on that SBS box.

    Get yourself to managed networks….to more Sharepoint.