So what’s next?

On September 7, 2018, in news, by susan

By now you’ve probably seen the announcement that for all purposes the Essentials server sku is dead.  The 2019 version is not the same as the 2016 version.

To be crystal clear it does not have remote web access nor client workstation backup.  Thereby getting rid of pretty much the only two reasons that anyone deployed it anymore.

I wanted to make one other thing clear.  The statement was made that

Furthermore, we recently collaborated with the MVP community and other influencers to listen and get a deeper understanding of the transition that our small business customers are going through.

To be clear we asked Microsoft to fix the issues with the Essentials 2016 server.  We asked them to have it support AD connect.  We asked them to allow it to be a workgroup not just demand that small businesses have a domain.  We asked them to still include remote web access in the 2019 version.  We wanted client workstation backup.

The only feedback that was taken was that this new sku fully supports AD connect.  The rest of our suggestions and feedback from the MVP community were certainly not “collaborated” on and in my personal opinion, the resulting Essentials 2019 does not demonstrate an understanding of what small businesses need in this era of transition.  Many of us are not fully cloud based and still need options such as workgroup servers as well as domain controllers as our options.  While yes, we can stand up standard windows server, once upon a time it was acknowledged and embraced that small businesses not only needed packaged solutions, they didn’t have enterprise budgets, nor did they have the ability as large enterprises do to bargain with large companies and negotiate pricing.  We get the manufacturer’s retail price tag, and we often get the Windows 10 releases faster than Enterprises do because we don’t have the Enterprise sku in order to defer such patching cadence.

If your customers rely on remote access you will need to investigate other options such as third party solutions or standing up another server with the RdGateway role.   You can also consider solutions like LogMeIn (not cheap these days), or Splashtop or Screenconnect or other solutions.  If you rely on client workstation backup, you’ll need to look at other solutions such as Macrium reflect to a NAS, Veeam backup to a windows server or other solutions.

Also in my personal opinion it also means that technology is going to be more expensive for small businesses to consume.  It’s all subscription models now and the wizards of old are gone.  Cloud solutions often need multi-factor security in the mix and this isn’t as easy (in my opinion) to deploy as it should be.  That’s probably a good thing for consultants, but it also means that you need to be thinking about what solutions you can be putting together yourself to assist your clients, because the pre-packaged solutions and wizards from Microsoft are no longer available.

As Robert put it…..

With the release of Server 2019 Essentials, the end of an era has been reached. Gone are the wizards and tools designed for the small business owner.

Gone is the Remote Web Access feature.

Gone is the Essentials Connector.

Gone is Client PC Backup.

Gone is Office 365 Integration.

Gone, is the Dashboard.

Gone, indeed, is the Essentials Role.

All that remains of Essentials, is the name Essentials and the licensing limits of the Essentials SKU, of 25 client access licenses.

What we are presented with, is now more in line with Windows foundation server from several years ago.

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2 Responses to So what’s next?

  1. Charles Prooth says:

    Just another example of us and small businesses getting screwed by Microsoft.

  2. Daniel says:

    Microsoft *completely* lost touch with small business.

    In addition to that,

    – Office 365 offers only user-licenses, with completely screws small business with many part-time or honorary employees. Device licenses cost a fortune.

    – Azure AD Basic and Premium licenses are prohibitively expensive.

    – Scan-to-mail has to be licensed to be working correctly as small companies rarely have static IP addresses (at least in my region). That should be FOR FREE as all receipients are licensed already.

    – Windows Hello is enabled by default, which makes Office 365 domain join cumbersome, as bypassing it in the install routine is a pain in the ass. But Microsoft apparently thinks that they get additional Azure AD Premium sales that way.

    I’m now heavily investing in Linux, Postfix, NextCloud and LibreOffice which is completely open-source and offers about the same capabilities as Office 365 does for free. And you can even prevent users from sharing or re-sharing data. Unless SharePoint. A massive monster of a server system, where you can’t even disable sharing for a subset of your users.

    Oh, and ALL the data remains in your customers hands only.

    So far acceptance has been great and I will happily continue this road as Microsoft made it clear that they completely lost touch with SMBs.