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This case scenario started me wondering about the limitations of Small Business Server:

I have a client who came to us initially regading building them an intranet for managing staff training and document sharing etc. but as they use two other software packages (one for POS & one for inventory [they are not linked >< ]) I have advised them to start with looking at their overall I.T. infrastructure.

Bear in mind they don't have a dedicated I.T. staff member and their overall turnover I would guesstimate at a conservative AU $16M /year between 8 stores.

Infrastructure overview (as I understand it):

  • One server ( I don't know the specs) hosted at main office running Small Business Server.
  • Only one of the stores currently connecting via VPN to that server and the Inventory software running on it.
  • Seven other existing stores to eventually connect to the server.
  • Currently several hundred employees
  • Company wants to double to sixteen stores within next 3 years.
  • Probably ~20 (two/three per store) POS machines sending data to the server.
  • Probably ~8-10 Desktop machines connecting to the server for Inventory/Backend

I found some links but would like to hear some real world experiences

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/sbs/default.mspx
http://www.sbslinks.com/Us_v_them.htm
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/platform-small-business-server-2003,1151.html

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4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

You can't create a trust relation with an SBS server domain and another, existing domain.

We migrated from SBS2003 to individual Server 2003 and Exchange 2003 servers for this reason. We found that the migration path is weakly supported by MS, and I was worried to death that it wouldn't work. We invested in a pack from www.sbsmigration.com to help us through it, but ended up not needing it.

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There are basically two reasons not to run SBS.

  1. You need more than 75 licenses (total of user + device CALs).
  2. You need to run a line-of-business application that explicitly doesn't support SBS (these are quite rare, so its unlikely to be a problem).

Aside from that, I cannot think of any compelling reason not to run SBS. There is a restriction of a single domain in a single forest, but there should really not be any need for more than that in a small business.

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SBS2008 (and SBS2003) is limited to 75 users (or desktops, depending on whether you opt for per user or per device licesning) in total. Beyond that you are looking at Winidows Essentials Server.

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Every time I've chosen SBS I've regretted it later. Part of my rationale was always "oh, but in the future we'll have the budget and time to replace it". This is almost never the case. SBS is very difficult to replace, as it can not be merged in to the network you build to replace it with. There is no attractive gradual migration path off of it. I've stopped mentioning it as a possibility. When asked, I explain its shortcomings and say its not for us.

That said, until its no longer enough, it tends to do a fairly good job assuming you don't want to run anything heavy duty on it. For an app the size of what you are describing, sounds like it will hit the SQL Server. I'd switch off the Exchange if that's the case just to give your line of business app more headroom.

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