Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Windows Essential Business Family of Servers

Today Microsoft officially announced the next version of Small Business Server and Essential Business Server and in doing so created a new umbrella name for the product line "Windows Essential Business Server Solutions". This product line will include Small Business Server 2008 (SBS) and the new Windows Essential Business Server Suite (WEBS). Now that Microsoft has made their announcement we can finally provide you with some more details.

SBS 2008 - What's Included

Standard Edition - Single server deployment. Includes Windows 2008, a new Remote Web Workplace, Exchange 2007, Sharepoint Services 3.0, Windows Mobile services, monitoring of PC's and Servers, WSUS and customizable reports, IIS, trial versions of Forefront Security for Exchange and Windows Live OneCare. It also integrates in with Microsoft's new Office Live.

Premium Edition - Two Server deployment. Includes standard edition features + another license of Windows 2008 and SQL 2008. 

SBS 2008 - What's Missing

Obviously there are going to be cool new things in the new version. The support for remote work is nothing short of amazing and the newer versions of the all of the server products provide so much better internal security and management. But what is missing from the new release? Firewall and Outlook.

Until this version of Exchange server, Outlook was included. Now if you want Outlook you'll have to purchase it with Office. Most people have office but there are occasions when you just want Outlook, like on a shop PC for internal email only. Fortunately there's a work around, Outlook Web Access. The new version almost makes the real Outlook obsolete. I don't anticipate that anyone will have to purchase Outlook, internal use of Outlook Web Access is going to work just fine.

No firewall is a bigger issue however. The reason for pulling the firewall out of SBS is that in a single server deployment you don't get exactly the same level of security that you do when the firewall is installed on it's own box. When the upgrade to the new version of SBS happens for you, we'll need to discuss how we are going to secure it. If you have software assurance on your server, this isn't an issue. As part of the assurance program you will be getting a license for the firewall. Protecting you from the winds of change is one of the reasons why we recommend software assurance. We have several ideas for firewalling your network. The solution will vary depending on your company needs.

WEBS 2008 - What Is It and What's Included

WEBS is a new suite of servers designed for companies with 25-250 employees. It's a step up from SBS. If you currently have more than 1 server, then you are a candidate for WEBS. Microsoft has built into an integrated suite what we've been building for you for years. The benefit of using an integrated suite is that it's integrated and the integration makes it easier and cheaper to maintain the network.

Standard Edition - 3 Server deployment. 3 Windows Server 2008 licenses, System Center Essentials, Exchange 2007, Forefront Security for Exchange, and ISA (firewall). Basically it looks like SBS and has it's features but runs on 3 servers so it can scale well into larger businesses.

Premium Edition - 4 Server deployment. Everything that is in the standard edition plus another license of Windows Server 2008 and SQL 2008.

WEBS 2008 - What's not Included

The kitchen sink. Seriously it's everything a business needs all rolled up into one really nice package. This market space hasn't had the opportunities that small companies have had with SBS. WEBS is going to rock their world. Any business this size that wants to ramp up their competitive power should be investing in WEBS. It's going to take their home built network and supercharge it. Am I excited about this product? You bet. We've enjoyed watching our small business clients flourish with SBS and we've been pained as we watch our medium business clients suffer from a lack of enterprise technology. WEBS is going to change all that.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Limited Availability March 18th


This is an advance notice that on March 18th we'll have limited availability while we attend training sessions all through the day.

On March 18th Harbor Computer Services will be attending the launch of Windows 2008, SQL 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 at Cobo Hall. We will all be there all day in training so we will have limited availability that day.

We will have limited cell phone access. We will have limited Internet access. We will have limited email access. In between sessions we will check voicemail and email.

It is vitally important that we take time to train ourselves. If we didn't we would soon become dinosaurs learned in the old ways but not up to date with new more secure and efficient ways of completing tasks and managing networks.  In August we invested 32 hours of training time on Windows 2008. This event will complete our training on this product. 

Thanks for your cooperation. I'll remind you when the date approaches.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Free Internet Access - No Loitering


I'm not a person that frequents malls. It was nearly 2 years since I was last in a mall. When you haven't been a while, everything there looks audacious and you get a little sensory overload. So when I saw the comfy couches and free Internet access at the AT&T store I wanted to wander in. But then...the sign. NO LOITERING. Talk about presenting an inconsistent marketing message. It reminded me that we all need to look objectively at our marketing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Another Case of "How far do you trust the Internet?"

Last week I reported on the major Internet outage that occurred in the Middle East and Africa. Here's the rest of the story, "Internet companies in the Middle East were still trying to restore connections for their customers today after an undersea cable the width of a human finger was severed, bringing down networks in the region." Two cables were cut by an anchor and a third was damaged by an unknown source.

Yesterday Blackberry users everywhere were without service for several hours. This is the second time that the Blackberry service has gone down in the last 10 months. It went down the year prior too. And don't forget that they were sued out of existence for patent infringement a couple of years back and are now no longer at the helm of their own ship. 

Google and Microsoft have created applications and file storage in the "cloud" (that's what they are calling the Internet these days). How far can we trust the Internet? When push came to shove all of the major players gave up email, text, IM, Internet search and cell phone call recorded information to the government in 2006. It violated the agreement for privacy that they have with you but they turned over your information anyway.

Call me old fashion but I like having control over my data. I like to know for sure that it's backed up. I like to know for sure that I have an email archive. I like to know that I don't have to depend on some third party that I can't get hold of, don't even really know who or where they are, to keep my data safe.

In a small way many of our clients have seen what can happen when you lose control over your data. I've been surprised at how many people lost control over their website, didn't know who hosted it, where it was or how to get hold of the person that they thought had it last. Imagine if that happened to your documents, your database or your email!

I trust the Internet to bring me information. I don't trust the Internet to hold my private, priceless information about by business.