Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Software Assurance for SBS And PAO Ending and Some Stack Configurations And How SBS 2011 Standard Can Continue To Teach Us

[EDIT] Please note that Server STD in this case is Windows Server 2012 Standard that comes with 1+2 virtualization rights.

[2012-07-14: EDIT] We updated the two cluster solution sets with the appropriate license structure for Windows Server 2012 Standard. My apologies for the initial error.

So, we now know that Microsoft will be officially releasing Windows Server 2012 next month.

Software Assurance

As a result, Software Assurance for SBS and the Premium Add-On will no longer be offered after the end of this month.

So, we have been encouraging clients that are looking for an on-premises solution that SBS 2011 Standard fits to start their Open Value Agreements by the end of the month.

The SA make-good should be about even or in their favour to some degree.

Going forward we will still have access to SBS 2011 Standard through the OEM channel and Open License for outright license purchase but no more Software Assurance.

Third Tier had a Webinar/Discussion last night about the Future of Small Business IT. Unfortunately I was not able to attend but a recording should be available sometime soon. The Webinar would be a good way to spend some time catching up on how things may be moving forward.

Our Guides and Solution Set

For now, we will be looking to build out our guides for the new solution set. We will include licensing structures as well as our usual in-depth setup guides for each component we need to deliver an on-premises solution.

Here are some solution sets we have on our plate at the moment:

  1. Simple Solution (1x Server STD, 1x Exchange, Server/Exchange CALs):
    1. VM1: DC, File Services, Folder Redirection, Fax
      1. GPOs defined for Microsoft Update (MU) via Internet
    2. VM2: Exchange/OWA/ActiveSync
  2. Simple Solution - Advanced (2x Server STD, 1x Exchange, Server/Exchange/RDS CALs)
    1. VM1: DC, File Services, Folder Redirection, Fax, Reverse Proxy
    2. VM2: Exchange/OWA/ActiveSync
      1. Reverse Proxy provides for 1 public IP for OWA/ActiveSync/WSS
    3. VM3: WSUS and SharePoint Foundation
      1. GPOs defined for all systems to pull updates from WSUS.
      2. SQL Express for WSF here.
    4. VM4: Remote Desktop Services/RemoteApp
  3. Advanced Solution - Basic 2 Node Cluster (2x Server STD/Node, 1x Exchange, Server/Exchange/RDS CALs)
    1. VM1: DC, File Services, Folder Redirection, Fax, Reverse Proxy
    2. VM2: Exchange/OWA/ActiveSync
      1. Reverse Proxy provides for 1 public IP for OWA/ActiveSync/WSS
    3. VM3: WSUS and SharePoint Foundation
      1. GPOs defined for all systems to pull updates from WSUS.
      2. SQL Express for WSF/WSUS here.
    4. VM4: Remote Desktop Services/RemoteApp
      1. RDWeb can replace RWW/RWA with some tweaking.
  4. Advanced Solution - Advanced 2 Node Cluster (4x 3x Server STD/Node, 1x Exchange, 1x SQL STD, Server/Exchange/RDS/SQL CALs)
    1. VM1: DC, File Services, Folder Redirection, Fax, Reverse Proxy
    2. VM2: Exchange/OWA/ActiveSync
      1. Reverse Proxy provides for 1 public IP for OWA/ActiveSync/WSS
    3. VM3: WSUS and SharePoint Foundation
      1. GPOs defined for all systems to pull updates from WSUS.
    4. VM4: Remote Desktop Services/RemoteApp
      1. RDWeb can replace RWW/RWA with some tweaking.
    5. VM5: SQL and SQL Services
      • NOTE: For full VM portability, that is the ability to move guests between nodes or onto 1 node for things like maintenance that node must have the correct number of either STD licenses or a Datacenter license.

The above four options are not far off from what we have been deploying all along. The catch is that we now need to delve into the bits and pieces.

SBS Can Teach Us

But, we have been doing that already haven't we? We have been ripping apart the SBS wizards for over 10 years now to see what they do and how they do it.

The SBS Development Team has given us an awesome model/template in SBS 2011 Standard for all of our networks going forward.

  • Active Directory
    • Organizational Unit Structures
    • Group Policy Configuration
    • WMI Filtering
  • Exchange
    • Receive and Send Connector Structures
    • Private and Public Mailbox Setup
    • Mailbox Migration Techniques
  • File Services
    • Folder Redirection
    • Folder Sharing
  • SharePoint
    • Site configuration for URL sets
    • Alternate port mapping
    • E-mail in and out

Obviously this list is really brief, however, we have a goldmine of knowledge in the SBS product line that should not be left untapped.

We _highly_ suggest that digging into SBS 2011 Standard and working out what the wizards do and how they do it (logs) will be a significant part of moving forward in today's ever changing IT World!

Conclusion

We are feeling pretty positive about where things are going with the changes here. We have yet to see what the prices for our solution stacks will be going forward relative to the current stacks but we are confident that the price increases to SMB will be reasonable.

Remember, take that upfront sticker price (if not doing Open Value) and divide by 36 (life of the solution in months) then divide the result by the number of users to get the total cost _per user_ per month to put everything into perspective.

UPDATE: 2012-07-14: We have changed the solution sets for the cluster setups since the total number of VMs running on a 2 node cluster must be _fully_ licensed on each node. So, 4 VMs means we need two Windows Server 2012 Standard licenses per node.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*Our original iMac was stolen (previous blog post). We now have a new MacBook Pro courtesy of Vlad Mazek, owner of OWN.

Windows Live Writer

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.thirdtier.net/2012/07/webinar-recording-future-of-small-business-it/

Philip Elder SBS MVP said...

Thanks for that!

:)

Philip

Stevo said...

Thanks for your ongoing service to the SMB partners and community through your great guides. Cheers!

Mike said...

Philip,

I'm currently testing 2 node clusters for deployment in our larger SMB client sites. The issue that keeps comming up in the traditional 2 nodes + shared storage setup like you've outlined above is how to handle domain membership for the cluster host servers. Microsoft requires that the hyper-v servers be part of a domain to enable failover clustering, but the VM running on the cluster cannot be the only DC for the host machines. In the mid-market there are plenty of spare servers around to be a secondary DC, but in the SMB market, we really need a way to have the 2 node shared storage cluster be a self contained IT solution. The work around we are considering is to use Windows server for our shared storage box, and make that the cluster DC. Obviously this comes with its own issues, but I'm curious how you guys address the issue.

Thanks for taking the time for running this blog, as an SMB IT provider for both on site and hosted solutions, I'm not getting much sleep with these changes.

Philip Elder SBS MVP said...

Mike,

With Server 2012 so close the point will become moot.

We added a Server Standard license and installed the standalone on an HP MicroServer with a pair of RAID 1 drives. Simple and inexpensive. Plus the RAC gave us out-of-band access.

Philip

Mike said...

Thanks for the reply, is the seperate dc for the cluster not a requirement in 2012? Or are you looking to just use the cluster hosts as the dcs since you'll be running full OS? My concern is that to provide 2 node failover of 2 vms I'll need 2 standard licenses per host, plus 1 for the storage server, and another for the DC.

My question is more about how you'll address this under 2012.

Thanks again.

Philip Elder SBS MVP said...

Mike,

2012 eliminates the need for a separate DC. The cluster nodes can boot on their own and establish the cluster setup without AD initially.

Philip