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Microsoft Small Business Server 2008
With Microsoft Small Business Server 2008, Microsoft has added big business functionality to an affordable SME tool.
- Most affordable SBS yet
- Purchase price not as low as Linux
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.
Mobility and management
One of the other realities Microsoft has recognised is that small-business employees are far more mobile today than in the past. Remote Web Workplace is a standard SBS feature, and it's established through one of the basic wizards. Microsoft has also included services for supporting Windows Mobile devices as clients to SBS applications.
Of course, setting up SBS is one thing, and ongoing management is something else entirely. Management and administration of SBS follow the path established by setup, via Vista-like interfaces and functional tabs for working through the various admin stations. One of the points at which the two-tiered structure becomes evident is in the reports tab. There are a variety of reports available, with security status, client and system status (including licence availability), backup status, and others pre-configured. You can set up different levels of detail in the reports and arrange to have them automatically emailed to various distribution lists.
It's easy to imagine a situation in which summary reports go to the small-business owner (or IT generalist), with much more detailed reports going to an IT consultant who may be called in to remedy more complex problems.
Everyone gets the information they need, and no one gets info they can't use. Note, too, that the reports generated cover the entire small business network, not just the server. Security, usage, and update version reports cover all the client machines in the small business network, not just the server.
So why would you choose Small Business Server 2008 over a standard installation of Windows Server for your small business? Licensing alone could be enough of a reason, since the CALs are priced for small businesses and available in single quantities. The first-tier user interface is another reason, since it promises to cut administrative costs and make it possible to keep more setup and management functions in-house.
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