iTWire – The Linux answer to Windows SBS is clear:

There are times that I should just walk away from the bait.  But this line was just too much to walk away from…especially after I have just migrated my firm to SBS 2008.

I’ve spoken at length in the past about why I have no love for SBS . It’s a deliberately crippled product and it has artificial limitations. It lulls its administrators and users into a false sense of security with its watered-down terminal server environment, Remote Web Workplace

I contend that nobody actually selects SBS based on perceived feature advantages. Businesses would much rather deploy the fuller individual components, be they operating system, mail server, database server, firewall or something else.

No, actually I still did select SBS 2008 due to the feature advantages.  I don’t see that the individual components are “fuller”.  I have installed versions of the “full” products (i.e. Windows 2008) but I use them for special purpose deployments (an PDF storage server).  SBS gives me a richer experience, and a better value for my firm.  And Dude, with Premium, I HAVE a Terminal Server Environment and I can do TSremote apps on that RWW page.  Not to mention now that I have my firm logo on it, it looks cool, if I do say so myself.  That external web based access page is the big wow of the migration.

 Unwittingly they explained the reason they recommend SBS isn’t because it’s necessarily in the customer’s best interests but because they themselves do not want to know more, and they definitely don’t want to support companies that grow and exceed the limitations of SBS.

Boy if that wasn’t a case of words twisted out of context.  I am a business decision maker in my firm that choose SBS again because it’s in my firm’s best interests.  I do know more and could deploy the full products.  But why?  But my firm won’t grow more than 75 users.  And even if it did, so what?  Add a member server, dcpromo the box, add the Global catalog, migrate out/off the Active Directory.  We’re not talking rocket science here.  SBS doesn’t limit me, it empowers my firm. 

Yes, Virginia there are people that really do believe in SBS and choose it.  And others are choosing Foundation Server which in your definition of a server is even more “crippled” than SBS along with Hosted Exchange.  Others are choosing HP Datavault server to install as a peer file share or adding it to an existing network.

All of these specific purpose boxes serve to fix a business need. 

But you totally missed my point.  If I’m under 75 users.  Will always stay under 75 users.  Give me a reason … a GOOD business reason that combines the tech reasons, the purse string reasons and the value reasons to choose something other than these special purpose, value driven, business solutions.  I still made the business decision for my firm to choose SBS because it provided the proper business solution for my firms needs.

Right now a windows based file share is still the king of the hill.  Oh sure folks can look in the tea leaves and pontificate that we’ll all be in the clouds but my Line of business vendors have to build that cloud version.  We’re not there yet.  The Linux answer to SBS has to include a virtualized Windows box for solving business needs right now.


5 Responses to Yes Virginia, there are people that choose SBS

  1. Kyle Heath says:

    I agree on this, SBS is more than just the servers on one box, it is about supporting SMB with under 75 users and providing enterprise applications to those users. My clients need Outlook, they need to share calendars, they need remote working to LOB applications, they need to use Blackberry or iPhones.

    I can see where Linux dists will work but a significant number of business just have to run Windows if their LOB applications need Windows.

    SBS is a good product and I have seen less hassle for a SMB with SBS than many who have seperated the servers and then not invested in the IT staff to manage it.

  2. Mike says:

    Wow, reading his article its obvious he hasn’t touched SBS in a long time, plus is just looking for reasons to promote a possible new product that isn’t even out yet.

    Of course people like him are one of the problems I have with the Linux community. The real vocal advocates are so anti-everything else, that they don’t even like new people (n00bs) getting involved or trying to learn the stuff.

    As for SBS, I”ll keep recommending it for its value and advantages over multi-server solutions.

  3. Joe Raby says:

    “My clients need Outlook, they need to share calendars, they need remote working to LOB applications, they need to use Blackberry or iPhones.”

    And they also need something that is familiar and easy-to-use, and so do you, from a management standpoint.

    Comparing Linux costs, I’ve found Linux to be more expensive to support overall, especially considering it’s shortcomings. I had a company that WANTED a Linux server installed because they figured it would be free. *Snicker* They thought they could get it by me to recommend them a free solution from a few preferred vendors, not wanting me to discuss the legality of using a free-for-personal-use-only option for business use. So then I dug into the costs of licensing, deployment, and maintenance. Right away, the licensing and required support costs by the vendor were more expensive than SBS with a full software assurance contract. Plus, you wouldn’t get updates for the Linux software after the term unless you renewed their contract, something that Windows customers take for granted, which I think is one of the major reasons why businesses don’t opt for Linux solutions. Linux advocates will talk up and down all day about the evil “vendor lock-in” of the Microsoft stack, but at the end of the day, it’s commercial Linux vendors that have you really locked in to a support contract, just to get basic updates for the product. I can license SBS outright, and get standard updates for 5 years, and security updates for another 5, and I don’t need a support contract for that. I haven’t found any commercial Linux vendors that offer that. Even Ubuntu doesn’t cater to the small business. Take a look here to see what I mean:

    No small business support. You jump from individuals, right to medium-sized enterprises. SRSLYWTF!

  4. Vlad Mazek says:

    This blog post made me smile…

    Things have been going so well at ExchangeDefender and I’ve been so busy with the company that I haven’t had the time to get under Susan’s skin or call her “Just a CPA” in a while.

    Thankfully, others are there to pick up my slack. 🙂


  5. Dean says:


    Is it just me or is it time for the PDF format to go away. There are so many problems with it. If you want precise accurate PDF functionality you have to go with Adobe’s overpriced over bloated creation software. Otherwise you pick another vendors solution but then find out that there is that ONE critical thing that it doesn’t do. Then there is the problem of sending PDF’s to people and finding out that for some reason they can’t do something with the file. Then there are the version specific feature problems. PDF was a good idea that went bad.