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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

Windows Essential Server Solutions: Part I

Windows Essential Server Solutions: Part I

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I stumbled on this site pretty much by accident ( - I was looking around for information about our next generation Small Business Server, and didn't realise so much information about it had been released!  Well, in fact, SBS 2008 as it's being named, is just one part of a larger 'umbrella' brand; namely Windows Essential Server Solutions.  WESS as I will refer to it as, encompasses not only Small Business Server 2008, but also the new Windows Essentials Business Server, designed for the mid-market.  Are you curious as to where the 2 sit, side by side?  Well, I think this graphic sums it up nicely:


As you can see, anything from 5 to 50 users can harness the power of SBS, but anything above 50, and realistically, you are looking at the Windows Essentials Business Server.  You can compare where the two fit together in more detail, here  In Part I of this 2 part series, I'm going to focus on Small Business Server 2008, and the key changes/improvements over SBS 2003. 


So, what's the new SBS all about?  Well, I'll be honest, I'm writing this before I've had chance to get my hands on any builds, so I'll no doubt adapt my views after this point, but, hey-ho, I'll carry on anyway!  For those of you not familiar, the aim of SBS has always been to provide, almost like an office in a box.  Rather than providing people with just the Windows Server platform, and asking them to bolt on their mail servers, firewall, security etc on top, SBS typically shipped with all that cool stuff built in, and made it easy (although timely) to install and configure.  Once complete, you were left with a network infrastructure, with a mail system (Exchange), a database system, (SQL 2005 Workgroup Edition), separate firewall (ISA 2004), an Intranet (SharePoint Services) and more.  All in all, this was a great solution for the smaller businesses, and gave them a great solution on which to base their business and drive forward.  The concept for SBS 2008 is effectively the same - bring together a number of established technologies and create a solution in a box for the small business world out there.  So, what's in there?

SBS Standard and Premium Editions

I'd say that sums it up nicely.  Well, kind of.  Firstly, the great thing is, SBS2008 is built on Server 2008 technology, which means you get to take advantage of the re-written networking and SMB stack, for optimal file and data transfers, self-healing NTFS, improved Server Manager, PowerShell support, modular IIS7 Web Server, reduced patching, and more.  On top of that, you receive the new Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, for your intranet, along with Exchange 2007, Forefront Security for Exchange (1 year trial), OneCare Security (1 year trial) for the Server itself, and strong integration with the Office Live platform, for providing a web presence for your business.  So, all that's in the Standard edition.  Now, important point here.  The Core Server, I.e the one on the left, has to be x64.  I know.  I'm sorry.  Trust me, it'll be worth it, and besides, it's Exchange that's driving that change!  The 2nd Server shown above, is available with the Premium version of SBS 2008.  Now, this server can be x64 or x86.  So, before you throw away that x86 box because you can't install the Core Server on there, you can install the 2nd copy of Windows Server 2008 on there, and then SQL 2008 Standard, and run your LOB app's on there.  So, to summarise.  Standard = 1 server and 1 server only, providing security, intranet, updates, mail and Office Live integration.  Premium = 2 servers.  1st one as in Standard, 2nd is for your LOB App's.

Interestingly enough, both of the servers (should you choose x64 for both) will support Hyper-V, the next generation Hypervisor based virtualisation, built into Windows Server 2008.  Now, if I were to buy a license of Windows Server 2008 Standard on it's own, and install the x64 version on a box, and enable Hyper-V, the licensing of Server Standard in 2008 allows me to run one instance of Server Standard 2008 (or downgraded, I.e. 2003, 2000) in a virtual machine, for free.  Now I'm not sure how this license would apply to SBS 2008 - something I'm sure will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

So, I've talked about what's in SBS 2008, but what are the key pillars?  What is it aiming to provide? Well, it centred around 3 key areas:

  • Affordable, Integrated Solution - Windows Small Business Server 2008 is designed for small businesses. It is designed to work with existing technology, build on Microsoft best practices, and delivers a comprehensive network at an affordable price
  • Protect Your Business Data - Windows Small Business Server 2008 helps protect your vital business information from loss, by automatically backing up the computers and servers in your network and helping enable you to recover accidentally deleted files
  • Grow Your Business Capacity - Windows Small Business Server 2008 gives you highly secure access to business contacts, calendars, e-mail, files, and other important desktop resources from any Internet-connected computer, virtually anywhere at any time, so you can be productive while you’re away from the office or on the road

Read more on that, here:

So, hopefully that's whetted the appetite as to what's coming in SBS 2008, and there are already testimonials online from those on the early adopter programs (

Don't forget to get in touch if you have any questions.

  • PingBack from

  • OK, so this is the sequel (not SQL) to my previous post, Windows Essential Server Solutions: Part I ,

  • I blogged about the 2 suites within the Windows Essential Server Solutions brand, a few months ago –

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