Saturday 23 August 2008

SBS 2008 test network setup = business opportunity juices flowing

We have two SBS 2008 setups that we are working with right now:
  1. The Springer Spaniels Limited SBS 2008 setup that is being used for Harry Brelsford and my upcoming SBS 2008 Blueprint book.
  2. The MPECS Inc. tear it apart and put it back together a hundred times network.
Both setups run behind our ISA 2004 SP3 SBS integrated setup.

In preparation for migrating to SBS 2008, we are getting ready to accomplish a Swing migration of our internal domain to a new hardware set without ISA though. We will be putting ISA on its own 1U in our rack setup to facilitate the upcoming migration to SBS 2008 RTM.

To have a true test environment for SBS 2008, we wanted both of our SBS 2008 boxes (both are on actual hardware at this point) exposed to the Internet as any production SBS 2008 box would be.

We have multiple static IPs bound to ISA's Internet adapter, so setting up the publishing on that side is fairly straight forward.

But, to keep the SBS 2008 environments separate, we have a couple of D-Link DI-604 consumer routers providing the required barrier between our internal network and the test beds. ISA is then setup to allow communication from the routers to the Internet only.

One of the things that we have learned as a result of messing around with this particular setup, and have mentioned before, is that we can have a client in another country buy a box, unpack it, and get it all ready to go.

We would send a small package containing a USB Flash drive with the SBS Answer File and whatever third party firewall appliance they have chosen already configured to allow our IP to TS into the SBS 2008 box.

A simple coaching on the phone, via MSN, online VOIP, or whatever method gets the SBS install up and running within minutes. A couple of hours later, we are into the box via RDP, running those wizards, and once the Remote Web Workplace is live, we kill the TS forward on the firewall appliance until needed.

Think about the business opportunities this methodology affords. It is one step closer to infrastructure management with the appropriate monthly fees ... post SBS 2008 install. :)

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

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