Home > New Computer, New Tech, Old Tech, Server 2012 > Typical SBS 2003 Upgrade Scenario

Typical SBS 2003 Upgrade Scenario

As SBS 2003 life is ending, or in some cases, has already ended, we need to start moving businesses off this workhorse. Today’s visit is a classic example of the scenario where we have the perfect opportunity to move the technology in the small business forward.

In this example, the office has 5 10-year-old desktop systems running XP and an SBS 2003 server also about 10 years old. It’s a basic setup, nothing fancy, but the client knows he needs to move forward. He also has some requirements for the solution.

1. He must be able to access the office remotely. He likes to travel and feels that you shouldn’t be physically tied to an office. And honestly, with today’s technologies, there is no reason to be.

2. He needs everything to be automated. This includes all backups. He doesn’t want to have to look after the technology, he wants to build his business.

3. He wants to make the changes in 3 steps. He would like to replace the SBS server, and 2 of the 5 desktops, then replace 2 of the others in a few months. The fifth system will not be replaced because it runs a proprietary piece of hardware that will cost too much to replace to be compatible with Win7/8. In April, when XP finally retires (yippee!), he’ll pull this system off the network and it will be a standalone unit. He has decided he’ll do manual backups using the tried and true sneakernet.

4. Exchange must not be used. He will continue to use his email hosting service. This is fine by me, but personally, I would rather have a root canal then deal with Exchange. At least with a root canal you can take something for the pain.

This is the perfect time to replace the SBS 2003 server with Windows Server 2012 Essentials, and the XP desktops to Windows 8.1. This new implementation is the ideal solution for him because:

1. It meets his requirements for remote access including his work desktop.

2. Windows Server 2012 Essentials will backup all the client computers to the server and we can then backup the server to an external NAS he already has. Off-site or cloud backups will have to be discussed.

3. We can easily implement this project in steps. This keeps the disruption to the office to a minimum and it’s easier on the budget.

4. Windows Server 2012 Essentials does not have the Exchange component as his SBS server did, but we could integrate with Office 365, a hosted Exchange account, or even Exchange server on premise (providing there’ll be pain relief). Using Windows Server 2012 Essentials does not restrict us to one option, and if his email needs change, we can easily accommodate the requirements.

These types of projects are very rewarding, because I know I can make the technology work for the client and now they can work on their business.

  1. 09/21/2013 at 12:40 pm

    Well written as usual Sharon, but I want you to remember that Exchange Server is only difficult to manage in small businesses… it really is an excellent platform, but should not be managed by generalists. Have fun!

    • 09/21/2013 at 12:53 pm

      I totally agree with you! If you are going to implement Exchange server then it needs to be done by someone who is an expert. Exchange is a wonderful product and it requires considerable knowledge to install, configure and maintain.

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