As far as I can tell, the only compelling reasons to get SBS are Exchange and Remote Web Workplace. Less interesting but useful features are Shared Fax and Backup. Most of the other "features" of SBS are free products like WSUS and WSS, or trialware (Forefront).

I'm playing with pricing here, and it looks like I can get Windows Server 2008 Standard x2 plus Exchange Server 2010 (or 2007) for only $1500 more than SBS 2008. (I only need Exchange CALs for a portion of the devices on the network)

I've running SBS since 4.0 and have always found it...annoying. For instance, I just read that in SBS 2008 we're limited to one network connection....which sounds fine unless you have a legitimate use for a second connection, like iSCSI, etc. Crap like this drives me up the wall.

So my question to you all is, what are the actual non-configuration-wizard features of SBS that I'm going to miss if I go with standalone Windows Server and Exchange products. So far I've got:

1) Remote web workplace 2) Shard Fax 3) SBS Backup (it's sorta neat, but I hear Server 2008 will incorporate it eventually?)

What else is unique to SBS that I'm overlooking here? Again, I'm only looking for usable features...not features that limit usability or supposedly make it easier to use.


Well from what I remember, Exchange CALs are included in your SBS 2008 CALs. And if you purchase the Premium edition of SBS 2008, you get a second Windows Server license so you can use it for either an edge firewall or anything else (SQL), except Exchange, since it must stay with the "PDC" (main SBS 2008 server.)

I had this question myself, I went ahead and chose SBS 2008 over separate purchases of each "server" software. For us it ended up coming out cheaper with a bunch more little pros than cons, such as the ones you mentioned.

I could be wrong, but you can use more than one NIC, however it isn't supported.


Multiple NICs in SBS 2008 Discussion

  • Thanks for your comments. I'm considering virtualizing and if I do so I think I'm going to lose several of the smaller benefits of SBS, such as VSS backups and shared fax. The premium version of SBS is very expensive if you've no need for SQL Server...it's cheaper to just buy another Windows 2008 license. – Boden Dec 28 '09 at 18:39
  • There are no "PDC" computers in Active Directory. All copies of an Active Directory database hosted by DCs in the same AD domain are equal. The SBS Server computer must hold the two forest-wide and three domain-wide FSMO roles, as well as being a global catalog server. One of those domain-wide FSMO roles is "PDC Emulator", but that doesn't make the copy of AD on the SBS Server some kind of special "primary" copy. – Evan Anderson Dec 29 '09 at 0:18
  • Correct and I am well aware of how Active Directory works. What I meant was misunderstood, PDCs were NT days, thus the "s. My apologies for using the term too loosely. – AdminAlive Dec 30 '09 at 0:44

I think about a better approach for iSCSI. You should install on your phisical box Windows Server 2008 Enterprise R2 x64 core edition. It is almost like the full version, but it lacks GUI. What is powerful is Hyper-v total support and iSCSI, so you can configure iscsi with one or two NICs and they become Hyper-v resources. On the top of the virtual hypervisor, then you create a new VM and you may install on it SBS 2008. you wil configure it with only one NIC, but the underlying system is connected with other two NICs.

  • 1
    I forgot the funniest thing: Windows Server 2008 Enterprise x64 Core Edition IS TOTALLY FREEEEEEEE! – Mauro Zanarini Nov 7 '11 at 7:52

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