we are going to get a SBS 2008 server (Standard) to handle file sharing, exchange etc in my company. We will most likely also use Sharepoint services on the server.

The SBS is presented as an affordable all-in-one solution for small businesses.

However, I am concerned that the SBS 2008 Standard will be so limited that we later will be faced with upgrade costs (hardware, CALs, premium OS etc) that will break the initial budget.

I am reading up on the features of e.g. the different editions of SBS, and the differences between WSS and MOSS, but even if is easy to list the differences, I find it difficult to determine what is "enterprise" features, and if we will need them or not.

E.g. search inside Office Documents. Not provided out of the box? It is something that could be handy in a smaller organization as well, isn't it? ;-)

So if you could help me with links/refernces to information on the differences and different usage scenarios, I'd really appreciate that!


Well it is hard to provide a good response without more details.

In general SBS is indeed a good deal fro SME. If your business will be on Microsoft stack this is the best entry deal you could get. The usual bottleneck on SBS server is RAM. So if you plan to run Exhcange, ISA, Antivirus(!) and SharePoint/CRM/some other web app plan for at least 8 GB RAM to stat with (SBS 2008 requires 4GB RAM as a minimum just to install. 8GB with room for expansion would be a better starting point.). The performance will depend on number of users you have in your domain.

Premium has one advantage over Standard and that is SQL Server. However Premium requires additional hardware (server). With premium license you will get additional Windows Server for this second server.

If this is your first server I think you should go for SBS Standard.

When it comes to SharePoint the most important features (collaboration set) are available as part of WSS. In your case I would recommend starting with WSS, there is no need for complicating with MOSS if you do not have a particular business need you are trying to solve. Check this article for basic difference on WSS / MOSS.

When it comes to Search. Yes, basic WSS can search document content. It cannot crawl documents on your file share. In case you need this functionality you can install Microsoft Search Server Express (also free).

  • SBS 2008 requires 4GB RAM as a minimum just to install. 8GB with room for expansion would be a better starting point. – JS. Sep 28 '09 at 18:30
  • Yup, you are so right, I was thinking about 2003. – Toni Frankola Sep 28 '09 at 22:05
  • As someone who runs SBS 2008 on a server with 4gb, I can seriously recommend 8gb. On the other hand we run several 2008 Standard servers as well and they're happy on 2gb. – Mark Henderson Sep 28 '09 at 23:10
  • Thank for the advice! I think that I will go for basic SBS/WSS for now. The linked article was very helpful, however, I am left wondering, is it not possible to integrate SP with other business applications unless upgrading to the most expensive server? "Business Data Catalog" and all that. I have lots of ideas involving web services and custom web parts already...admittedly I do not know much about the internals of sharepoint. – grojo Oct 2 '09 at 18:27
  • This is bit limiting in WSS but there are some options. You could use Data View Web Part, check these posts by Laura Rogers spinsiders.com/laurar/tag/data-view. There are some open source at codeplex.com You can also choose to go for 3rd party products. In that case go for lightningtools.com or store.bamboosolutions.com/default.aspx – Toni Frankola Oct 2 '09 at 19:47

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