Microsoft has recently released a raft of great new products, from Windows 8 on the desktop, to Windows Server 2012 in the back office, and not forgetting Windows Mobile 8 and Surface.
However, one notable product will be leaving us at the end of the year. Windows Small Business Server (SBS) Standard and Premium - formerly the 'go to' bundles for SMEs.
As we're Microsoft Gold Partners, we often get invited to Microsoft briefings. At one we recently attended it was clear that some IT companies are still approaching this change with a sense of trepidation. Products change, and SBS is no exception; just take a look at how different the service is now compared to the bundle that arrived back in October 1997. Nobody seems to miss the Shared Modem System!
It would be all too easy to jump into a technical discussion about the differences at this point, however to make it really applicable to the everyday needs of businesses, we need to view it from the perspective of our clients.
At Resolve we've been aware of the upcoming changes, and have worked to provide solutions that are a great fit for both our existing and future clients.
Less than 25 people...
You want to be able to share files, print, access your files from home and have employees share computers whilst moving their desktop and files around with them.
In this scenario, we recommend Windows Small Business Server 2012 Essentials. A product introduced in the last few years, to fit where SBS was just too much (in terms of hardware required and cost). This provides an "on-premises" file, print, remote access and Windows domain functionality solution for one low price - with no client access licences or other complexities to track.
Greater than 25 people...
SBS really came into its own in medium businesses; and it was here that it became a key product. In short, Standard provided a copy of Windows Server and Exchange. Premium added a second server, and a SQL Workgroup licence. Both on-premises. Both of these could support up to 75 users (by purchasing the relevant number of client access licences).
One Server Standard licence now allows two separate installations on one physical server. Through virtualisation, this allows us to provide our popular one-box Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services bundle for a lower licence cost.
What about email?
Whether you're an SME or a Fortune 500 company, email is key.
When installed onsite, Exchange required higher spec hardware and didn't offer the robustness required at a price that was accessible to many SMEs.
Resolve's Hosted Exchange provides Exchange 2010 functionality for a small monthly fee with no long contracts. We provide 25GB email storage, a copy of Outlook for your desktop, and we support BlackBerrys too.
What's more, it's stored in a secure datacentre across three servers, with features such as backup power, multiple internet feeds and fire suppression, ensuring your email is protected and available. The only thing you have to worry about is remembering your password (and even if you don't, our award winning support team is just a phone call away!)
We are still happy to recommend and install Exchange where appropriate, and we'll gladly talk you through the differences. We can also licence this in a variety of different ways including subscription, meaning we can determine and deliver the program that fits your needs.
But I need a database too?
No matter what your size, there's usually an application that requires a database.
Any edition of Windows Server (2008 R2/2012) supports Microsoft SQL 2012 Express, which allows databases up to 10GB (more than double the 2005 version). That might not be lots of files, but it's a huge amount of text/numeric data. We've found this covers the needs of most SMEs.
Need more? We can provide Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Standard (or higher), and advise on the right licensing plan for you.
If you have any questions about which of these might be best for your business, or if you know what you need and want to get up and running as soon as possible, give us a call on 0114 299 4050.