Wednesday 1 August 2012

A little SBS History Lesson. What SBS Has Been, Is, and Always Will Be

This post is my reply to John773 on the Spiceworks Forum.


John773: . . . The roadmap is about options, and SBS was synonymous with limits.


Yeah, there were limits, but to the small business those limits were relatively _unseen_.

What small business did see was a server setup that gave them complete agility. They could be mobile, they could be in-house, they could be both. They could use any device they could throw at SBS to gain access to their e-mail, calendars, and so much more at that time.

SBS was _the_ platform to build a small business on. Period.

To folks out in the Enterprise and SME Space the "limits" of SBS could indeed be seen as such.

But realistically, to the small business owner the exact OPPOSITE was the case. SBS enabled them.

In 2003 with the release of the Remote Web Workplace we garnered attention from Enterprise because RWW was a Killer App. And it was. Now the business owner could have their cake and eat it too.

ISA for SBS 2003 Premium RTM/R2 was the cat's meow for dealing with many of the outlying threats of the day. All of our clients ran Premium with ISA providing needed edge protection.

Yeah, by 2008 that platform was indeed long in the tooth, but SBS 2008 gave us everything we already had plus access to our newly deployed RemoteApps via RemoteDesktop Gateway that was built-in to SBS 2008.

For 2008 RD Gateway was the killer app tied into the ability to deliver LoBs via RemoteApp.

Business owners liked the simplicity of one shortcut to open their bookkeeping anywhere or via link in the RWW portal. They liked RemoteApp for keeping data in-house while users were out and about.

For 2011 we gained the Folder Share feature in the newly branded Remote Web Access portal. We still had all of the goodness of the previous generations plus we could now download and upload files as required.

Now, here we are in 2012 and change is afoot.

What does that mean?

Well, it means that we can get Remote Web Access on a number of different platforms now (BBbyGramps for one).

We can virtualize the DC (Windows Server 2012 Essentials or Standard) and Exchange on two VMs to give us our 1 box solution but keeping things discrete.

No more BESx (if they are still around a few years down the road ;) ) blowing up the _entire_ platform! Or any other LoB running interference or hogging memory on the one box setup for that matter.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: It means _nothing changes_ for our clients!

We still provide the best IT solution that we can to enable them and their businesses! This whole situation is about our clients. That is why we do what we do. So, any Microsoft stack solution will need to address all of the features that our small business clients have been used to on the SBS platform but also incorporate some of the new ones like DirectAccess.

Enabling a small business was what SBS was all about and it hit a home run consistently for _ten years_ running! How many products can we look at in recent years can say that they have had a 10-15 year run of success?

In conclusion, in today's IT world I do in fact agree with you. SBS 2011 is limiting. There are just too many opportunities for customizing a stack based solution for our small business clients that were not there even three years ago.

However, historically I flat out disagree with you. From the moment SBS 2003 began to be deployed right through to the moment the last SBS 2011 Standard server is retired SBS will have more than met the small business owner's business needs built on IT Solutions.


Small Business Server met a specific need and met it very well. :)

Philip Elder
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


Anonymous said...

What are your thoughts about the loss of Remote Web Workplace? Do you think we'll see Microsoft bolting a similarly easy web interface into the RD Gateway Role? I didn't notice anything in the Server 2012 RC but I've not had a chance to play properly. I'm guessing they won't be doing anything about it considering the amount of information it pulled together from different places.

Like you've mentioned before, RWW was the envy of others when SBS2003 came out and there still isn't an easy software solution that I'm aware of.

It's a shame that the only easy to use solutions that springs to mind are hardware based SSL-VPN's with built-in RDP Clients but they have their own fair share of problems.

It's fairly easy to set up RD Gateway but the RWW interface was always nice and straightforward.

I know they're pushing Cloud integration and Office 365 but I'm just not sold on it and won't be until the day all office internet connections come with an SLA.

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


Windows Server 2012 Essentials will be the go-to for RWA, RDGateway, and URL proxy services to an internal Exchange and/or SharePoint site.

The other alternative is a Backup Box by Gramps. It provides all of the same features that we are used to in SBS 2011 Standard/Essentials.

Thanks for your comment,