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Windows Essential Server Solutions: Part II

Windows Essential Server Solutions: Part II

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OK, so this is the sequel (not SQL) to my previous post, Windows Essential Server Solutions: Part I, and this time, were taking a look at the bigger, more powerful, slightly older brother of Small Business Server 2008; Windows Essential Business Server 2008.

Windows Essential Busness Server

So, what is Windows Essential Business Server, or, (W) EBS for short?  Well, let's start with the rationale.  In the past, should a small business have grown beyond the supportable number of Small Business Server 2003, which was around 50 users, realistically, the next level up was Windows Server Standard, which, for a large number of smaller businesses, was quite an expensive jump up in costs, bearing in mind you'd then need to obtain the relevant licenses for your other functions and applications you wanted to run on top, such as Exchange, or SQL.  Taking this into account, Microsoft have decided to fill the gap between where SBS finishes (i.e. 50 users) and Server Standard typically starts (i.e. 250 users) with a new server offering; EBS, which follows in the footsteps of SBS by incorporating multiple OS's and applications into one single package, making it a great solution for up to 250 users.

So, what does EBS have in it that's worth shouting about?

"Windows Essential Business Server 2008 is an all-in-one integrated multi-server solution designed and priced specifically for midsize businesses. Windows Essential Business Server provides the essential technology needed for a highly secure and reliable infrastructure.

Powered by Windows Server 2008 technology, it combines software for management, messaging, and security features into one integrated server solution that is designed to dramatically reduce IT complexity and improve efficiency across the business, putting IT in control.

Windows Essential Business Server is an integrated and predictable platform designed to transform businesses by helping save time and money and significantly increase productivity"

But what actually made it into the 'suite' that is EBS?


As you can see, in the Standard Edition, it's a 3 server setup.  One of these is your dedicated management server.  I like this, a lot.  This is one of the areas that was a little lacking in the SBS 2008 piece I touched on a few days back.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not referring to the actual management of the SBS/EBS suite, I mean the actual management of other servers and clients within the infrastructure.  SBS 2008 doesn't really have a solution for this.  Sure, SBS 2008 provides AD, and also a patch deployment solution, in the form of WSUS 3.0 SP1, but in System Center Essentials, you're getting a lot more for your money.  If you haven't seen SCE in action before, I'd strongly suggest you take a look.  It can be purchased standalone, outside of EBS, and is aimed at managing up to 500 clients and 30 servers.  When I say manage, I mean, patch, deploy, update, configure and so on.  Basically, Essentials 2007 takes the best bits of Operations Manager and Configuration Manager, and wraps them up in a package of SMB loveliness.

You can read all about SCE 2007 on its own, here:

So, that's your management server.  You also have your messaging server, which will need to be x64, running another Domain Controller, for redundancy - makes sense, and Exchange 2007 will also be on this box, along with Forefront for Exchange, to ensure that box is locked down.  You then have your security server, again, x64, and again, another instance of Exchange, which, I'm presuming, will be clustered with the first, to ensure high availability.  You'll also have protection at the edge, with the next version of ISA.

Your final server, and this is only available with the Premium edition, is your database server.  Pretty self explanatory really!  You'd probably run your LOB app's on here too.

Again, as I mentioned in the post on SBS 2008, I'm not 100% sure where Virtualisation will fit into all of this, so I guess it's a 'watch this space' on that one too.  Just to wrap up, the key pillars of EBS 2008 are:

  • Designed and Priced for Midsize Businesses - Designed specifically for midsize businesses with a focus on your IT needs, and priced to give you substantial cost savings over standalone products.
  • Less Complexity, More Control - Tools to help proactively manage your environment, reduce your IT complexity, and help give you back control of your systems.
  • Integrated and Predictable Platform - Help increase the predictability and reliability of your systems and reduce typical errors that can occur when standalone products are deployed.

Read more on that, and have a look at some screenshots, here: and you can get all the current information on EBS 2008 here:

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

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