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I work with a company that has an old server that uses Windows 2000. They really only use this thing as a file server / "always-on" computer. They use quickbooks enterprise, quickbooks POS, UPS, and backup software on this server. In addition, they also use it as a print manager. They don't use active directory, email (they use web hosting provider), webservers, sqlserver, or any of the server technologies. The programs such as quickbooks and ups that always have to be running are installed on this computer.

There is some software that needs to be updated, but doesn't run on Windows Server 2000, so they have to do something in the near future. I know that they need a windows based software because of compatibility issues with the programs currently used, and they need the server to handle the connections.

All in all there are 10 client computers on the network with various versions of windows installed (xp, vista and 7). At the end of the day, they really just want things to just work. They really aren't needing (or wanting) anything extra other than the updates for their software.

I'm looking for a server that has basic functions as listed above, can handle the connections well, serve as a print manager fairly well, and have some longevity in the life of the server software in one box. I don't have a lot of networking technology downstream of the OSI model, so it's confusing to me why they even have a server. Can someone tell me if it's overkill for these guys to have a server? Why wouldn't someone want to just set up a workgroup with a dedicated computer with windows 7 pro installed on it to act as a server?

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Server 2008 isn't an overkill. Its actually not even a huge cost difference with the introduction of the Foundation series from Microsoft. You should verify the pricing but I believe you should be able to get the Windows 2008 Foundation server pretty inexpensively.

As for being a technology overkill, its really important to have a good foundation to build things on. Basically your entire business is going to have to rely on this box. If its not stable and available when you need it then you might as well not have it. Also, being able to grow your network infrastructure and add services into your "server" is a huge bonus, one you wont get with a desktop OS and hardware.

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OH! Great! Thanks! I think this is exactly what we were looking for. Am I correct in thinking that this has 15 seats when you purchase this edition? I won't need to buy more CALs since we only have 10 computers? –  polyhedron Mar 1 '11 at 20:26
    
I believe that is the case, but you should really verify with Microsoft and whoever you're purchasing your licenses from. –  ErnieTheGeek Mar 1 '11 at 21:15

NOTE: I voted to move this question to a more appropriate site, but here's my answer which I would post once it was moved there!

You start out saying they have Windows 2008, but later mention new software that can't run on Windows 2000; I assume you meant that they have Windows 2000 now?

No one here can really tell you that it is overkill for them to have a server OS, because we are likely not aware of everything. But depending on what software is running on it, we might be able to tell you that it is not overkill, and is required... but you don't name any of the software they are running on it, so we don't know.

Very generally speaking, though; I think they are at a size where a true 'server' is probably a good thing. They are at least at a size where I would be asking why they do/do not have a server.

Have you asked them that question? "Why do you have a server?" The answer might be simple, "software XYZ requires it", or it might give you more information to share to get suggestions.

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Well, no software that they have requires it. I think someone just talked them into it in the past. They have downsized a bit recently. They had close to 20 computers in the past. Also, currently they have 2000 not 2008. Currently, they run Quickbooks Enterprise, Quickbooks POS, and UPS worldship on their server, acting as the "server" for all clients. –  polyhedron Mar 1 '11 at 16:50

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