Next steps after SBS2008 ??

psikey

Distinguished Member
I'm no IT expert but know enough to keep our system running at work most of the time (do have an external IT company for support as needed).

About 3-4 years ago we went from simple peer-to-peer connection when less than 10 people to an SBS2008 system designed to offer all the 'bits' we would need for an expanding company but have now reached the 75 user limit.

As I understand it the SBS product line is basically Server 2008, Exchange, Sharepoint and a cut-down SQL module all packaged into an integrated package.

We use a Single HP QUAD core 2GHz Xeon with 12GB RAM and 2 x 250GB RAID1 drives for OS and 2 x 1.5TB RAID1 drives for data storage (shares, user Shares, Exchange Database etc.). Only other software is AVG 2011 and Blackberry Enterprise Server (the free one) and we backup to a pair of external USB drives (rotating to fireproof safe) with Acronis Backup 10. All website creation and hosting is done by an outside company.

I do have an enquiry in with our IT support company who are looking into this for me including VirtualMachine route, but was hoping friendly, knowledgeable AVForums members could give me their opinion.

If I go the Windows route what actual packages would I need as there looks to be many variations? We do also already have a Single license of Server 2008 Standard and a 5 CAL license of SQL Server 2008 standard.

In summary, what software would we need to handle around 100 users and would the existing single server be 'man' enough for this?

I'd also be interested to know if a Linux alternative would be an option working with Office 2007 client PC's for the exchange & sharepoint functions. I know very little of Linux (my QNAP NAS) but have downloaded ClearOS and installed on a HP Microserver to have a play.

We also have a spare G5 HP Proliant Server I can use to play about with which we keep in storage at another location in case of Disaster with a Acronis backup.

90% of employees operate from the head-office site but we do have remote workers (some in another country) but they just use VPN connection or Outlook Web Access as needed (normally less than 10 connected).
 
Last edited:

maf1970

Well-known Member
Alright, from your initial post I see that you have SBS 2008 and make full use of it. (Exchange,Sharepoint and SQL Server). You also have AVG 2011(Hope it is licenced correctly) and the Blackberry Enterprise Server(Free Version).
Would I be right in saying it was the Premium version of SBS 2008 you bought originally ?

Other assumptions I'm making is that your connected user limit has exceeded 75 all the time or does so very regularly. You also dont mention if your desktops all run the same OS.
You are inreality asking 3 questions -
1. What is the logical Windows upgrade path ?
2. What about Virtual Machines / Virtualization ?
3. What about alternatives to Windows ? e.g. Linux.

For the purposes of this thread I will stick to question 1.

The SBS suite of products is a wholly seperate line by MS. As far as I know the licencing for SBS products is not transferable to standard,Enterprise or DataCenter products. Also by virtue of its nature SBS limits the number of servers you can have. In a standard environment you would not put all your eggs in one basket.
So minimum reqs would be :-

1x Windows Server 2008 Standard R2(10 CALs) + 90 CALs to cover all users.
1x Windows Exchange Server 2010
1x Windows Sharepoint Server 2010
1x Windows SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard.
There may be other licences required depending on what you do.

However,any IT Support person worth their salt would not have all this running on one server.(SBS aside). If I did this I would have :-

1 server running Server 2008 Standard R2 as Domain Controller( Authorization and access rights)
1 server running Exchange 2010
1 server running Sharepoint Server 2010
1 server running File & print plus other services.

As you can see the setup above would need alot more hardware. Thisw where answering your question completely becomes very difficult indeed as each Support company could offer a different config option and claim their way is the best. At the end of the day your budget will dictate what is feasible and this is all without even considering questions 2 & 3.
 

avinitski

Novice Member
dedicated servers is definitely the way to go, especially if you use an SQL heavy application in your business, SQL will always perform better, like most apps i suppose, benefit from being on a machine on its own, defo keep it away from Exchange.

slightly off topic but ive always wondered why Microsoft recommend SQL and Exchange be separate but they bundle them together with SBS Premium.
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
Thanks, looks like a big step then. Clients are win7 and few XP still.

Full 70 user license of AVG Business.

Do you not need CALS for Exchange, Sharepoint, SQL etc? Just the 100 for Server 2008?

SQL is for Sage Accounts but that runs on its own Server.
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
Also can someone give me an idiots guide to VMWare. Isn't that about running virtual servers on less hardware?
 

SeanT

Distinguished Member
How much is it going to grow? What do you use other than file and email? Neither of these are worth paying Microsoft tax for any more if you have the expertise (or can learn). VMWare is great, bit of a learning curve, but good for running servers for a long time with minimal maintenance / downtime and for replacing / upgrading hardware seamlessly (as long as you use the paid stuff). Email probably belongs in the cloud with the rest of the messaging garbage now anyway.
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
We were only under 10 people 5 year ago and now up to 73 at last count. Boss has said to plan for 100-150 In future.

Considering the limited hardware and low cost OS we use, we actually make full use of it I'd say:

The Main SBS Server does:

Domain server. All printers are Network printers (4 x multifunction printer/scanner, 1 x A3, 1 x A0) with scan to network Share.

Exchange handling all email/calendar/contacts/notes with shared Calendars with sync to around 25 Blackberry Bolds using BES Server software and also use web OWA for Internet access.

Then we use usual shares with various access levels with each users having there own personal area for files/data etc.

Make full use of Sharepoint with with built-in intranet facility for the Calendars/News/Controlled Documents again with user level access.

Also use the Fax service.

The other server for accounts is using Server 2008 with a 5 user licence of SQL 2008 to run Sage 200. Also running ACT2011 on it.

Have two copies of Acronis backup software for each server and 70 user AVG with SBS monitoring each PC.
 

maf1970

Well-known Member
Hardware virtualization or platform virtualization refers to the creation of a virtual machine that acts like a real computer with an operating system. Software executed on these virtual machines is separated from the underlying hardware resources. For example, a computer that is running Microsoft Windows may host a virtual machine that looks like a computer with Ubuntu Linux operating system; Ubuntu-based software can be run on the virtual machine.

In hardware virtualization, the host machine is the actual machine on which the virtualization takes place, and the guest machine is the virtual machine. The words host and guest are used to distinguish the software that runs on the actual machine from the software that runs on the virtual machine. The software or firmware that creates a virtual machine on the host hardware is called a hypervisor or Virtual Machine Monitor.

Different types of hardware virtualization include:

Full virtualization: Almost complete simulation of the actual hardware to allow software, which typically consists of a guest operating system, to run unmodified
Partial virtualization: Some but not all of them target environment is simulated. Some guest programs, therefore, may need modifications to run in this virtual environment.
Paravirtualization: A hardware environment is not simulated; however, the guest programs are executed in their own isolated domains, as if they are running on a separate system. Guest programs need to be specifically modified to run in this environment.

Hardware-assisted virtualization is a way of improving the efficiency of hardware virtualization. It involves employing specially-designed CPUs and hardware components that help improve the performance of a guest environment.

Hardware virtualization is not the same as hardware emulation: in hardware emulation, a piece of hardware imitates another, while in hardware virtualization, a hypervisor (a piece of software) imitates a particular piece of computer hardware or the whole computer altogether. Furthermore, a hypervisor is not the same as an emulator; both are computer programs that imitate hardware, but their domain of use in language differs.
 

maf1970

Well-known Member
You don't need to do anything with the Accounts server. As you have Sage you probably have a maintenance contract with the company who supplied it and they should keep you right.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Large Screen HDR TV or Projector For Home Cinema + Best of the Month
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom