Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Announcing an SBS 2008 Public Preview and Pricing!


Back in February, Microsoft announced the Essential's Family, and of course, the coming of Small Business Server 2008.  At that time we held off tell things like pricing, and when you will be able to get your hands on it. As of today, we can disclose some more of this information for you with the release of this press release.

First of all, We'd like to announce that a public preview is coming! The Public Preview should be available near the end of this month or beginning of next month.  I will post here the instant it's available, or e-mail the address on this page to be notified via e-mail.  To prepare, make sure you've got hardware ready.  Requirements can be found here.

The second and most important reason for this blog entry, is I want to alert you to the new SBS pricing.  By now, you're probably familiar with the two SBS editions.

Before telling you the new pricing, I wanted to fill in some background information:

  • Our current SBS 2003 pricing is backwards from our research.  Having a lower server price and higher CAL prices is counter intuitive to what people actually want
  • We have seen a strong desire for SQL Standard edition, instead of SQL Workgroup edition
  • There is a strong desire to separate Line of Business applications from the machine running your IT Infrastructure.
  • There is frustration with "over-buying" CALs, and having to buy 5 CALs for 1 new employee
  • Research has shown, if the server is too inexpensive there are negative perceptions
    • e.g. contains less than full versions of products
    • e.g. less capable then Windows Standard Server

Given all of these changes and mind-sets, here is the new pricing:

Windows SBS 2008 Standard Edition

  Box includes 5 CALs Additional CAL
Full Package Price $1,089 $77
Compare to Stand Alone product Cost $2,033 $106

Windows SBS 2008 Premium Edition

  Box includes 5 CALs Additional CAL
Full Package Price $1,899 $189
Compare to Stand Alone product Cost $4,031 $258

There you have it.  Some important things to note here:

  • Special notes about the Premium CAL:
    • You can mix CALs against the same server
    • You only absolutely need Premium CALs for users who will access the copy of SQL that comes with Premium.
    • If the 2nd server of Premium is used for something other than SQL, the Standard CAL will cover you.
    • SQL Standard with Premium can be installed on either the first or second server.
  • Windows SBS 2008 Standard edition is cheaper for the vast majority  of 1-75 user CAL scenarios!  How great is that deal?
  • Windows SBS 2008 Premium edition is more expensive in all cases then SBS 2003 Premium edition, because of the upgrade from SQL Workgroup edition, to SQL Standard edition, and an extra copy of Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition. You wanted it, and you got it!
  • You can now purchase CALs one at a time!

There are still minor pieces of information that still need to be locked down that we don't have answers to and are actively working on.  So please bear with us as we finalize this information.  One of the major ones is when will it be released, and the best we can do at this point is the 2nd half of this year.

Finally, we also announced rebates of up to $200 (U.S.) for solution provider partners configuring Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 for their clients who acquire the software and purchase Software Assurance within a certain time period. Terms and conditions of the rebates are available at SBSrebate.com.

Feedback/comments are welcome.


19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Extremely disappointing....I cannot bear losing ISA. Why can't MS include ISA AND Windows Server 2008 or at least give customers a choice whether they want Premium edition but don't want a second server. I certainly won't be upgrading since I'll need to buy ISA separately now.

parkesy said...

Hi Sean

Just a question about mixing CALS

you said that you don't need the premium CAL if your not accessing SQL standard, files/sharepoint/etc are fine

What if you setup Sharepoint so that it's using SQL Standard for it's database?

Thanks
Andy

Sean Daniel said...

I'm surprised we're still talking about ISA, given I've been posting it here since February. For responses on ISA, it's best you go back in time and read the following posts:

Windows SBS, welcome to the family and
Preparing your network for Windows SBS 2008

Parkesy, to answer your question, the best thing to do is ready the EULA on premium. My understanding is if a user is accessing SQL standard in *any* way, you are required to obtain Premium CALs.

However, technically there is no good reason to upgrade SharePoint to SQL Standard anymore. The Database under SharePoint v3 does not have a storage size limit (provided it's used only for SharePoint) and full-text search is also enabled. I can't think of any other reason why you'd actually want to upgrade the instance to SQL Standard. Can you?

parkesy said...

Thanks Sean

I guess full text search was my original thinking under WSS v2 but as you said not really an issue in v3

Was mainly thinking from a performance perspective i guess. Got some slightly larger customers who could potentially give Sharepoint a bit of a work out!

But in that situation i guess they'd have to expect the Premium CAL's

Thanks for answering..was just thinking out loud!

p.s your right about ISA. This shouldn't really be a conversation anymore IMHO

Anonymous said...

RE: Separate Premium CALs for SQL Server

If I have a web-app that all users access that hits SQL Server, will I need Premium CALs for each user? Or does it depend on how it is authenticating (i.e. if I'm using a service account, its just 1 CAL; if its Windows Auth, it's everyone)

Thanks,
Derek

Wallyb132 said...

Microsoft dropped the ball on pricing, most, if not all of my customers will not see the value in upgrading. i have surveyed about 50% of my customers so far and all of them say no way, its too expensive...

They had it right with SBS 2003, but for SBS 2008 the greed seed sprouted roots...

parkesy said...

Sorry Wally, got to call you out on this one

Did you read the post?

SBS Standard works out cheaper

Yes premium is more expensive but we're getting another server and a higher version of SQL server

Also these are RETAIL prices. OEM will be cheaper and the customers your talking to will more than likely be able to upgrade their CALs so not as expensive as your thinking

Wallyb132 said...

yes, I read the post, and simply comparing SBS 2003 to SBS 2008, the price of 2008 is 2x the cost of 2003. the only gain is forefront for exchange and onecare for servers, items my customers wont use, and likely will be removed from the final package by court order once the AV companies have an opportunity to file litigation...

Microsoft failed to learn its lesson on bundling products, it is still under the antitrust decree, which was extended for 2 years because the government felt microsoft was not capable of policing itself, this behavior confirms their fears!

Sean Daniel said...

Wally, you are correct, the base price of SBS 2008 has almost doubled in price, however, the CAL price has dropped from $99 to $77, that's a savings of $22 per employee after 5. So for the majority of combinations between 5-75 users on the system. SBS 2008 is cheaper because of the savings per person.

Sean Daniel said...

There is also a question above from Derek,

If I have a web-app that all users access that hits SQL Server, will I need Premium CALs for each user? Or does it depend on how it is authenticating (i.e. if I'm using a service account, its just 1 CAL; if its Windows Auth, it's everyone)

The SBS EULA handles this specifically, I believe there is some text that if the user is Authenticating, they will need a CAL, if the user is un-Authenticated (ie, Annonymous) they do not need a CAL.

Wallyb132 said...

out of the 22 organizations i service, the biggest one has 19 users, saving $22 a cal doesnt make up for the doubling base price, it still makes SBS 2008 nearly $300 more exspensive, and thats really a low figure, i get cals from an online retailer for $277 per 5 pack...

as i said, the greed seed sprouted its roots in 2008

Sean Daniel said...

Thanks for your feedback Wallyb123. I really believe the marketing team has made the correct decision here, a lot of research has been done around the pricing for the product, including feedback from the previous version.

Greg said...

Is there any word on "Upgrade" pricing yet? Will it be offered for those of us with SBS 2003 without SA?

Bob said...

Do you guys seriously require us to purchase a CAL if the user is "Authenticated"? Take, for instance, a simple little web forum for a product. I'm required to give $77 to Microsoft for every user...I'll be selling my product for $50. What's the solution here, beside a full LAMP stack?

Nicholas said...

I provide outsourced IT for several Real Estate groups. The largest office has 10 people. SBS 2003 was a perfect solution for each of these separately owned offices, allowing me to manage everything offsite. Echoing earlier comments – the price for SBS2008 will make it mighty difficult to sell to new business’ in this economy, especially business owners who are not technically savvy. MS might win back some of my confidence that they want to support small business owners by providing a very aggressive upgrade pricing!

Sean Daniel said...

Bob, sounds like you will need to read the EULA in depth, I'm sure there is a provision enabled for your scenario.

Nicholas, about 10-15 people is when the pricing starts to equal each other, before SBS 2008 turns out to be a cheaper solution overall. You will roughly be paying about the same.

Greg said...

Is there any word on "Upgrade" pricing yet? Will it be offered for those of us with SBS 2003 without SA?

Anonymous said...

>> Windows SBS 2008 Standard edition is cheaper for the vast majority of 1-75 user CAL scenarios!

>> So for the majority of combinations between 5-75 users on the system. SBS 2008 is cheaper because of the savings per person

That's technically correct, but misleading: "combinations" are not "customers".

The break even point is at about 23 users (5 CALs included + ($1089-$699) / $22).

a similary correct and non-misleading statement would be:
"SBS just got cheaper for 23 CALs and more"

Sean Daniel said...

To answer Greg's question about "Upgrade Pricing", we haven't defined the upgrade pricing yet, and the details will be avialable at a later date. I do not have an ETA yet.