The official blog for Windows Server Essentials and Small Business Server support and product group communications.
[Today's post comes to us courtesy David Fabritius from Windows Server Marketing]
I'm writing today about a significant milestone for Windows Small Business Server (Windows SBS). With the new Windows Server 2012 line up, Windows Small Business Server Essentials has been renamed Windows Server 2012 Essentials. By making Essentials a full-fledged member of the Windows Server family, we are reaffirming our commitment to delivering a flexible, cloud-enabled server platform that is designed and priced for small businesses and the partners that serve them. Formalizing Essentials as a core edition of Windows Server 2012 will more clearly communicate how it fits into the Windows Server family and give it more visibility as a product.
We believe Windows Server 2012 Essentials is the most affordable and easy-to-use server solution for small businesses to date, helping customers with up to 25 users and 50 devices reduce costs and be more productive. It is an ideal first server, and can also be used as the primary server in a multi-server environment for small businesses. It helps you to protect, centralize, organize, and access your applications and information from almost anywhere by using virtually any device. Additionally, Essentials can grow with the needs of your business over time; you can purchase and convert to Windows Server 2012 Standard, removing the maximum user and device limits while retaining all your data and configuration settings as well as the unique value-add features that Essentials provides.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials has been designed to give you the flexibility to choose which applications and services run on-premises and which run in the cloud. In contrast to Windows SBS Standard, Essentials offers lower up-front acquisition and deployment costs. It allows you to take advantage of cloud-based messaging offerings while enjoying an integrated management experience by subscribing to Office 365 or a hosted Exchange service. If you prefer a fully on-premises solution, you have the option of running Exchange Server on a second server (either as a physical or virtual machine) alongside Essentials with the same integrated management experience.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials can also be used as a platform to run line-of-business applications and other on-premises workloads, as well as to provide an integrated management experience when running cloud-based applications and services, such as email, collaboration, online backup, and more.
Windows SBS 2011 Standard, which includes Exchange Server and SharePoint Foundation, will be the final such Windows SBS offering. It will remain available through the OEM channel until December 31, 2013, and will remain available in all other current channels until June 30, 2013. For additional details, please see the Windows Server 2012 Essentials FAQ. I hope to see you at the 2012 Worldwide Partner Conference starting July 8 in Toronto, Canada, where we’ll be talking more about Windows Server 2012 Essentials, and we’ll also let you know when you can try it out.
This is a HUGE screw up on Microsoft's part. They thought they heard some negative comments on removing the SBSC...this is going to be much worse! All of my customers run the Standard or Premium SBS product, either SBS 2003, 2008, or 2011. I'm in the process now of getting some SBS 2003 customers upgraded. Looks like I'll be buying multiple copies of SBS 2011 very soon to prepare for this. I wish Microsoft would realize they are killing a really great product line and many partners will start looking at other vendors now instead of Office 365. Cloud isn't the answer to everything! I like my Exchange on-prem! I liked having everything I needed all in one simple install with SBS Standard. Although they said you can add Exchange to the new Windows Server Essentials 2012, it says it needs to be on a separate box. Killing SBS Standard is just a terrible move!
Im pretty sure you can still install exchange on 2012 standard, it just will be allot more expensive compared to the all in one sbs, it will be a pretty hard sell to small businesses for sure, when sbs was already a hard sell.
My gut reaction to this announcement is similar to many of the posts, in that I think this is a bad move by Microsoft. My firm has been a big Small Business Server (SBS) shop since the second have of the 1990’s – starting with the original SBS based on Windows NT 4, followed by SBS2000, then SBS2003, then SBS2008, and now SBS2011. It’s a great fit for many of our clients, it has features they like and use, and the price is right. We run SBS on about 70% of the managed services networks that we support.
This Microsoft decision is a game-changing event for my business. It’s not the end of the world, and we will adapt and move on. Maybe someday I’ll look back and wonder why I stuck around with it for so long? But in the meantime, this decision will definitely have a deep impact my business.
On a practical note, will there be any kind of technical migration path for someone running SBS to migrate to a non-SBS environment? And on a pricing note, what about all of our clients who have 3-year Open Value licensing agreements with Software Assurance for SBS. Sort of sucks to have to continue to pay for SA for a product that is being discontinued, and sort of sucks to have to pay full price for non-SBS products (Windows Server, Exchange Server) just because the product is being discontinued.
I would strongly encourage Microsoft to listen to its loyal partners and the community and keep the SBS product line alive and thriving. Add new product lines and cloud options if you'd like to meet the needs of some, but please don’t kill the SBS product line which is a great fit for others.
Just a link to another blog with partners like myself, all of them upset about the death of SBS. Many, like me, built their business about SBS. WAKE UP MICROSOFT! msmvps.com/.../microsoft-says-next-stop-is-the-cloud.aspx
What a truly horrendous decision, and to be fair a kick in the face for partners, engineers and clients who have stuck so faithfully to SBS. Here in the UK, 95% of our client base comprises of nearly all Small Business Servers. We've looked into every cloud solution we can find and have found not many that are suitable, none that work out cheaper than SBS. Most price comparison guides that compare cloud to an onsite solution all seem to have one thing in common; they take into account the cost over 3 years. What the people who actually push these solutions in the SME sector know better is that a good majority of clients don't refresh their kit or software after three years. Most do it after five, some even longer than that because of price and budgetary constraints. There is no way the majority of my clients are going to be able to afford to have an onsite Microsoft/Exchange collaboration/messaging solution as costs are going to quadruple, at least. Going from one license to rule them all with a single CAL, we suddenly have to buy two Server 2012s, Windows CALs, Exchange Server AND Exchange CALs. It truly is a move to force clients on to the cloud.
In my opinion, a lot of companies and partners are going to use this opportunity to look into different none Microsoft solutions. Quite a few of my clients are in areas with poor broadband connectivity and speed (here in the UK broadband is truly terrible). Having cloud e-mail is going to cripple some of them. Nearly all of them are still going to require a server of some sort, maybe it will be the new Mac server instead of Server 2012 that we start recommending to clients.
Shame on your Microsoft, releasing a Small Business competency and a SBS 2011 exam then pulling the product. What a true waste of time that particular qualification was.
For those VARs looking for a solution as an alternative to this please take a look
Another disappointing announcement from Microsoft.
Microsoft claim to have a partner program. The word partner says something to me - a relationship built on mutual trust and respect. I think Microsoft has little respect for its partners and I think the partners have little trust in Microsoft - so how can a relationship exist? The relationship started falling apart when Microsoft went direct bypassing its 'partners' and cutting into their revenue stream under the disguise of we would get the 'additional services' revenue. The new small business competency, or lack thereof, was the next step alienating the smaller IT shops. By killing of SBS they will be further threatening the livelihood of many SMB 'partners'.
Microsoft writes amazing software and has great products. They have however been late to a few technologies. Game consoles, phones, MP3 players, phone systems and cloud comes to mind. Some have been successful and some of those products have been killed off - I take it they were not profit making. So why kill off a great product like SBS, loved by partners, adopted by customers and possibly profitable for Microsoft as well?
So what's their game plan? Force us to sell full blown server or their cloud offering? You can only force somebody's hand if you have a better hand of cards or if you are a good bluffer - I think Microsoft fails on both. Maybe all will be revealed at WPC.
I think the partner program needs a name change to the mistress program - love us when you want and need us and drop us when we are no longer the object of desire.
Microsoft has just signed the death warrant for their largest base of evangelists and for their largest client base and potential client base. Most of my client's cannot afford the 2-3 times increase in cost for the Microsoft alternative to SBS. Most of my clients are in the legal, medical or non-profit segments of the market and cannot or simply do not want to have a public cloud solution or have restrictive bandwidth caps which make it even more expensive or impossible solution. I am a 13 year MCSE veteran so I am not scared off by the Enterprise products but I am no longer going to be pursuing any additional Microsoft certification. I will actively be pursuing alternatives to SBS for a continued on-premise solution. If my client does not have physical control over their own data on equipment which they own in a location they own and secure, they have no rights to their data.
In response to Paul Thurrott from Windows Weekly, in the US we simply don't understand the limited availability of internet access around the world, low bandwidth caps, etc. Having recently been in South Africa which is considered 1st world with respect to internet access, it's still very expensive and most people only have 1 Gb per month available. An offsite solution just simply is not effective nor affordable, let along what alternatives from Microsoft to Small Business Server cost!!
I have just worked out that what would have cost my client around $1,500 for Small Business Server 2011 Standard with an entry level server, will now cost them around $3,825 with less functionality. This means two servers as Microsoft does not support Exchange on the DC, so two licenses of Windows Server 2012 Standard with Exchange Server 2010 (or later).
Simply put, this means that I will not be installing servers in the SMB market like I have been and being forced to look outside of the Microsoft products to provide a similar service or solution to Small Business Server. That might mean that I have less work but it's certianly going to be mean less Microsoft products being used and resold!!
Huh? Do you know how many of my clients legalised and/or updated their MS Office just to be able to use Outlook with Exchange? What about redirected folders, roaming profiles, quotas and all those lovely pre-configured ("lessons" for those that thought they knew how to configure a server) features that are installed automatically with SBS Standard.
Oh well, if I have to learn how to configure each server component I might as see what else is out there. Strange move Microsoft!!
I have cultivated numerous addon's and techniques to help businesses take their small team to the next level and to give them the features of the enterprise. In Australia, the cloud is difficult to use. We have slow internet access and a miss trust of placing our data overseas. We also face our clients not wanting us to store their files overseas. Having a real Exchange server in a real Windows Server platform has been a godsend.
We have also used many features of Exchange that can't be done via the cloud. We have used third party email tools and addin's.
It is time for my team to reskill however now we need to think about the options. Will we reskill (or at least add more skills, extend current skills) with Microsoft products or is it time to look at products other than Microsoft. I have always been loyal to Microsoft and have always had a passion for it's products but now, I am left cold.
It would be interesting to hear what others are doing about this.
I am proud to have been an SBS MVP for 5 years however, I am not proud of this news. This is the death of a great many skills that my team have learnt, which they have been proud of. This is taking technical skill out of the SMB engineers and leaving it solely with the enterprise. Many of my guys feel ashamed to look at essentials and feel it is a dumbing down of what they know (Maybe call it "Simple Server"). No skill needed.
The future ahead, using solely Microsoft, is very doubtful. It is time to find an Exchange alternative and maybe even change server platforms.
This news has floored me today. One of the worst decisions ever out of Microsoft. 90% of my clients use this product and most just refuse to use the cloud at this stage. I have setup a couple of Office 365 clients, but its far less flexible, and as others have said, you're limited by poor connections and unknown data locations/backups etc. I guess the only option here is to offer full products at a far greater expense, and hope they take it up.
I have skills in the stand alone products (not as fine tuned of course as the intricacies of SBS) so my business will do fine.
I wonder what their decision was for this, was it slow sales? I can't imagine it. Or is it them trying to push everyone the cloud.
Interesting times ahead thats for sure.
This is some horrible news, especially since we have been telling customers recently needing to purchase more CALs for their aging SBS 2003 servers to purchase them with Software Assurance since typically a new version of Small Business Server standard should have been released within their SA period and it made sense to buy cals that could be upgradable to the next version of SBS standard which would replace their sbs 2003 servers.
A small/medium sized business with 20-75 employees cannot afford hosted exchange and is obviously an added cost to need to run a 2nd server for exchange.
At least introduce a "premium" version of SBS essentials which includes the functionality of SBS standard including the license for the 2nd server to run exchange.
Hosted exchange is not bullet proof, just look at the RSS feed of management consoles and service outages that occur on a regular basis with office 365/exchange online.
Customers prefer the control of running a solution in-house since they can actually fix any problems they may have rather than needing to wait for Microsoft or another vendor to fix a problem.
Hopefully MacOS comes out with a viable solution for ActiveSync built in to the product, maybe Microsoft will change their mind if everyone starts to jump ship in the SBS market.
I’m reading everyone’s comments and is goes without saying I concur with everyone…well…except one. Our venting is good therapy to make us feel better and hopefully Microsoft is listening. Are they though? Viewing Microsoft’s server web site and the new server lines-ups, and seeing the documentation they have posted, they’re invested in this very unfortunate change. I’d be surprised if they reverse their decision. Needless to say it’s a downright move to force SMB to the cloud. Period! There is no way I’m going to present an all on-premises solution with 2012 servers to emulate SBS to my small business customers. They’ll tell me to take a leap because of the cost and Microsoft knows this because they created it. Unfortunately small businesses are aware of cloud services. I’m even asked about it as an option when I present SBS. People are “thinking” they’re supposed to go to the cloud. It’s becoming status quo. Microsoft knows this as well. I simply ask my customers where do they want their data. Their answer? Let’s put it this way…I’ve yet to implement SBS Essentials. Small businesses simply want their data where they have control over it. They also don’t like the fact when their internet services goes down, their business is dead in the water.
Every person and business regardless of size should have the option of choosing where they want their data and Microsoft should have the products to meet that requirement. They should not be dictating it when it comes to data. I believe it to be unethical. The Microsoft mentality of “we think we know what’s best for your business and you don’t” is what upsets me the most. Its arrogant and short-sighted.
For clients of 25 users or above, Zimbra mail server on Linux seems to be a great alternative.
Lower cost than Exchange online, on-premise solution, supports ActiveSync.
Free underlying OS, no OS CALs necessary.
Say goodbye to a base of loyal small business customers by forcing our hand out of an on-premise exchange solution.