On November 12, 2008, Microsoft will release their new Small Business Server (SBS) as well as their new Essential Business Server (EBS) editions. Both are targeted for the Small/Medium Business segments, but they are quite a bit different in what they do and their functionality.
Personally, I’ve never really been a fan of SBS, but it has its niche and I can’t take it away from the little devil. As with previous releases, there are two flavours of SBS – Standard and Premium, but the catch is Standard must now run on an x64 platform. Premium is the database version, which interestingly enough, for the first year will be licensable for both SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008, and can run on either x86 or x64 architectures. After approximately one year from the RTM date of SQL 2008 (August 7, 2008), SBS Premium will only be of the SQL 2008 flavour, but still supports x86 and x64 editions.
Below is Microsoft’s interpretation of the two servers and their respective roles/application sets (click on the photo to get a larger rendition).
SBS is said to support up to 50 desktops and can account for 20-100 (ish) employees with a maximum of 75 concurrent connections as its limit – no going over that…For larger implementations or for those which require just that little extra – along comes EBS…
EBS is the newest addition to the Microsoft family and tries to fit in where SBS leaves off and just before you need to buy loads of Windows 2008 Servers’ to make your infrastructure “work”. EBS Standard is comprised of three servers – all requiring x64 architectures – and all taking advantage of Microsoft’s newest technologies and in-built features of Windows Server 2008. This means according to the numbers – 15 functionalities all packed in to three little servers – what a bunch of work horses!
Server one is for AD and System Monitoring – atply named “Management Server”. Server two is for Exchange – suitably named “Messaging Server” and the third server is for the new Forefront and the latest flavour of ISA and therefore named “Security Server”.
The EBS infrastructure is meant to cater for up to 300 devices so fits in perfect for the smaller business which needs all of the tool set similar to that of a large corporate. The fourth server, should you wish to go to EBS Premium is the Database server. It runs SQL 2008 and can run on either an x64 or an x86 architecture as SQL 2008 supports both.
Below is the depection of EBS (again click on it for a bigger picture)
On the licensing side, I’ve noticed the EBS Management Server, which has System Centre Essentials (SCE), comes with 12 Server Management Licenses (SMLs) in the Standard Edition and 15 in the Premium edition, allowing you to have up to 15 managed servers in your SCE environment.
One of the other main “selling points” or features of EBS is that it is packed with over 1000 pages of best practices and documentation to ensure you get the most out of your implementation. That alongside the customised consoles developed solely for the management of this by lay people is what Microsoft hopes will make this baby sell as good as tickets to Titanic and Batman’s Dark Night.
All I can say is I can’t wait to see what EBS has to offer and if it fits the market which I currently work in…
(note that the SBS url is actually part of a deeper path of EBS…)