Microsoft Small Business Server 2008

With Microsoft Small Business Server 2008, Microsoft has added big business functionality to an affordable SME tool.

Microsoft Small Business Server 2008
  • Microsoft Small Business Server 2008
  • Microsoft Small Business Server 2008
  • Microsoft Small Business Server 2008
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Most affordable SBS yet

Cons

  • Purchase price not as low as Linux

Bottom Line

With the release of Small Business Server 2008, Microsoft shows signs of understanding that small businesses have a wider range of server options than ever before. For most small companies, SBS 2008 will provide the basic functions necessary for the business in a package that is easy to set up and administer, and that integrates readily with Microsoft Windows Vista and XP clients. The purchase price won't be as low as Linux, but the polish and ease of use are both high, and the single-user CAL makes SBS 2008 the most affordable SBS yet. Microsoft has been listening — and this time, it shows.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    TBA (AUD)

Users and licences

Adding users is another Getting Started Task, and the wizard simplifies things considerably. Entering information once populates a variety of tables, including the Active Directory entry for the employee. After users are created, you can add computers to support the users -- a Web-based enrollment checks the client machines to see whether they have the services and capabilities to be part of the SBS network. Assuming everything checks out, the machine is added to the AD roster, and you're ready for licensing. Adding the client machine to the AD roster does more than just enable network access, though; with SBS, malware protection and a variety of monitoring and reporting functions are extended to clients through the server operating system.

Microsoft SBS Client Access Licenses (CALs) can be assigned to users or machines, a nice option if you're running multiple shifts or have users with intermittent access requirements. CALs are available in 20-packs, 5-packs, or, in a hat-tip to the realities of small-business life, single-CAL packs.

In addition, SBS comes with five "temporary CALs" that you can borrow against to get a new user up and running immediately. The idea is that you set up a new employee with a temporary CAL and then buy the regular licence, returning the temporary CAL to the pool. This way, you don't have to wait until you've had a chance to buy a CAL before you can bring on a new user, and you don't have to buy more CALs than you need. In many ways, the new licensing scheme may be the most important change to the product.

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