What is next after SBS (Small Business Server)?
- Multiple Physical Servers?
If you patched SBS 2008 to SP2 and Exchange Server to SP3, technically Microsoft ended mainstream support in 2015 for the operating system which was Windows Server 2008 (not R2). Exchange Server 2007 SP3 mainstream support ended in April of 2012.
If you patched SBS 2011 to SP1 and Exchange Server to SP3, technically Microsoft ended mainstream support in 2015.
I realize that even SBS 2008 still works and Exchange Server 2007 still works. The issue for both editions of Small Business Server is that the standards are changing for security and email but Microsoft is no longer providing updates for the SBS components that enable it to keep up.
So now the big question is what do you do as a replacement? Below I will break down the basic pros and cons of the three options.
Multiple physical servers: This involves setting up a minimum of two physical servers (one for active directory and one for exchange server).
- You can implement Windows Server 2012R2 or Windows Server 2016 and update your domain functional level.
- Because you are replacing Windows Server 2008 standard with Windows Server 2012R2 or 2016 you can now increase the RAM available to the OS as much as you like.
- You can implement Exchange Server 2016 which will resolve all of those unpatched mail related issues.
- You can dedicate as much RAM and CPU as you choose to Exchange because it will now be on a separate server and is no longer fighting SQL Server for RAM and processor.
- Because you have separate physical servers you would have more redundancy.
- You now need to purchase and support two or more physical servers.
- If you try to do this on the cheap, you will be setting up file sharing on either the only active directory server or your Exchange Server.
- If you choose to implement this the right way, you will need to purchase four or more servers.
- Because you have separate physical servers you would have more potential points of failure.
Virtualization: This involves utilizing special software or operating system to use one physical server and make it function like many.
- All of the pros above still apply except for the separate hardware redundancy.
- You only need to purchase one physical server.
- If you choose a physical server with enough room for expansion, you can grow your network just by upgrading one server and buying more Windows licenses and CALs.
- Because everything is in one physical server, there are fewer potential points of failure.
- With one physical server the hardware maintenance is significantly less.
- Once you virtualize all of your servers you can move them to new physical hardware by just powering them down and moving the virtual disk(s) to a different host server and power the servers back up. You no longer need to install the operating system fresh with new drivers and migrate your applications.
- If you have a situation that requires more resources on one of your servers in a rush, all you need to do is power the server down and update the specifications to include more RAM or additional processors and power it back up. You could even borrow resources from another virtual server if needed without disassembling any server hardware to move RAM chips or processors.
- There is one physical server so if there was a hardware issue that was not handled by the redundancies that was built into the server when purchased, all of your servers would be affected.
Cloud: This involves moving all or most of your business applications to servers that are physically located at a hosting facility accessible over the Internet.
- The upfront cost could be much less than purchasing any new physical hardware.
- Since the servers are in the cloud, you would not have the onsite maintenance responsibility of the physical servers being onsite.
- Because the servers are no longer yours, you would have the new expense of “renting” your servers every month.
- Because the servers are no longer on premise, you will be completely dependent on your connectivity to your new hosting vendor. This means that if your Internet goes down, no one would have access to anything until the Internet connection is restored.
- Even if you choose to move your applications to the cloud and your email to the cloud, you still will need some services locally onsite like DNS resolution, user logon security, file storage and data backup for the file storage. This means that you would still need a server onsite.
This is just a brief discussion of your options and their pros and cons. Suffice it to say that you will need to make a decision on this soon if you are still depending on Small Business Server to run your business. When you are ready to have that discussion, we will be here to help.
May your coffee always be leaded and your computer never infected . . .