Now that windows server 2003 is officially at end of life no longer supported as of 14th July 2015, AJR take a look at the Best Windows Server Platform for Small Business? For quite some time, many small businesses have relied on the Microsoft suite of Small Business Servers (SBS) to build their IT infrastructure and run their businesses. Introduced in 1997 as BackOffice Small Business Server 4.0, SBS have matured into a tightly integrated platform, including the most important services a small company needs: file and printer functions, email, calendar and contact sharing, and document collaboration.
The latest edition, Windows SBS 2011, had two versions: Essentials and Standard. The standard SBS 2011 includes Windows Server 2008 R2, Exchange 2010 SP1, SharePoint Foundation 2010, and SQL Server 2008 R2 Express. It has a support capacity of up to 75 users. All core services, file and print, email, collaboration, and remote access, run on a single server, with the potential of being extended to additional physical or virtual servers with the Premium Add-on Kit, which is made up of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V R2.
With Microsoft’s decision to discontinue this product back in July of 2012 and if you’re currently running an existing version of Small Business Server, you are certainly wondering about the next upgrade option. Well, here they are:
- Windows Server 2012 Essentials with an Office 365 Subscription
- Windows Server 2012 Standard with an Office 365 Subscription
- Windows Server 2012 Standard with Exchange Server 2010
With the first two options, you get a local server that handles files, printing, and remote access with email service hosted on the cloud. Basically, the difference between Essentials and Standard is a pre-configured limited set of features and roles limited to 25 users that you get with Essentials. With the Standard edition you get a full-featured server product that is supported for virtualization and more users.
The third option is obviously the most flexible and robust of all three. It is geared towards businesses that need to keep an in-house IT infrastructure and which require the added functionalities provided through the Exchange server.
In summary, the three options provide the following common functionalities:
- File and print sharing
- Automated Backup capabilities
- Identity Protection through Active Directory integration
- Constant remote access to files and applications
- A simplified management wrapper using a pre-configured console for day-to-day management.
The Standard edition offers support for more features and more users.
The Standard + Exchange option offers an in-house Exchange Server solution.