Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Windows Small Business Server 2008 Public Preview Now Available!

I know a lot of you are itching to get your hands on the Windows Small Business Server 2008 Public Preview build.  Well, it's finally available for your testing pleasure.  To obtain the download, you should point your browsers over to the Technet Eval Center.  This will allow you to download the actual ISO images of the build.  Please keep in mind the following notes about the ISOs

  • DVD1 - SBS 2008 Standard edition
  • DVD2 & DVD3 - Windows Standard 2008 server (your second server for Premium edition)
  • DVD4 - SQL Server standard edition also for premium

Also to note, this version is not supported in production, and has a 180 day time-bomb.

Finally, we are interested in your feedback, to provide feedback or participate in the newsgroup for the product, point your browser over to the SBS 2008 feedback over on Connect, register and provide feedback, suggestions, problems, and read the newsgroups to fully participate in the Public Preview.  You can file new issues, or vote on existing issues and suggestions.

Here are some neat things to try:

  • An un-attended setup via the answer file
  • Buying and automatically configuring a domain name
  • Adding client computers to the network
  • Configuring server backup, and doing a disaster recovery test (you will need an external USB drive for this)
  • Configuring an SMTP smart host, with authentication if you have it.
  • Sending reports & customizing your own server reports

To learn more about the Public Preview, our Group Program Manager Dean talks about it on the Official SBS Blog.

Make your voice heard!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Windows Small Business Server 2008 World Wide Community Survey

Like or don't like Microsoft's involvement in the community?  Now is your chance for your voice to be heard.  For the third year in a row, Kevin, our community lead has launched the Small Business Community Survey.

We do look at the survey results, and we value your feedback.  If you want to participate, simply head over to Kevin's blog and participate in the survey.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Windows SBS 2008 - Setup & Advanced Setup Interview

Becky, whom you'll be familiar with from places like SMB Summit, and other SBS events owns and manages our "Setup" feature team, responsible for ensuring all the goodies of SBS successfully install both in a manual and unattended fashion.

SBS 2008 Setup PM demo and interview

The TechNet Edge folks cornered here for a 23 minute video with a 7 minute "over the edge" at the end.  You watch the video, point your web browser over to the SBS 2008 Setup PM demo and Interview video.

If you're interested in getting the Public Preview for SBS 08, simple register to be notified here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Essential Business Server (EBS) Demo with Bjorn!

For those of you who weren't aware, SBS has a big brother now, a monster 3-server sku specific for Medium Businesses called Essential Business Server.  If you aren't aware, it's time to fix that! (details on the Essential Family web site)

Essential Business Server (EBS) demo with Bjorn

Bjorn gives you a demo of EBS over on TechNet Edge.  The specific link to the demo video is here.

If that gets you super excited, and you just can't wait to get your hands on this 3-server power-house, then you might want to jump into the EBS Public Preview!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Windows Live for Windows Mobile available

Do you have a Windows Mobile device? Interested in getting IM, Search and your Hotmail down to your phone? well, now you can, with the new Windows Live Mobile!

Point your Windows Mobile devices here: 

There is something to be weary of though:

Q: Why am I seeing duplicate contacts when I choose to save Windows Live contacts on my device?

A: Upon first time sign in to Windows Live, if you choose to save Windows Live contacts to your device’s contacts store, they will then be accessible via the Windows Mobile Contacts application and will appear alongside the contacts you have created on your device (either manually, via Microsoft Outlook, or via Exchange ActiveSync). If you did not check "Merge duplicate contacts", Windows Live contacts that have the same First Name and Last Name as contacts already on your device will appear as duplicates. If you checked "Merge duplicate contacts", a merge will take place but there will still be likelihood that some of your Windows Live contacts may not be merged correctly.

Note: Standard is the Smartphone, non-touch screen version, and Professional is the Pocket PC touch-screen version.

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

Feedback/comments are welcome.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Can't get a VPN connection?

Well, VPN is old-school connection technology.  For remote access you should be using the Remote Web Workplace, the experience is far greater, the speed is faster, and it's lighter use on your networks broadband available bandwidth.

However, there are still times when VPN is necessary.  For example, the user doesn't have a client within the network, and there is a need to use a Line of Business application of some sort.

Well, if you're having trouble getting data to flow over your VPN connection, you might think about the low-level infrastructure.  If your server network is 192.168.1.x, and your VPN client is also on a 192.168.1.x network, the traffic stays on the local network instead of sending it out to the VPN client.  Make sure these two networks are different.  This is primarily why SBS 2003 set itself up on 192.168.16.x, because this is different then most home networking routers (192.168.0.x and 192.168.1.x).

If your DHCP server is running on SBS 2003, you can change your network subnet simply by running the ChangeIP task from the Internet and Email tab in the console.  Make sure if you have a router, that you change the IP address of the router to the new subnet of choice first!  If DHCP is running on the router, you'll have a bit more configuration to do.

Good luck!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Preparing your Network for Small Business Server 2008

Well, as you know, Small Business Server 2008 is scheduled to be released at the end of this year, and it's coming with a rather big change that I wanted you to be ready for.  That change is the server will be a single-nic solution only.  Thus moving forward, you should start to think about removing the dual-nic solutions at your sites to prepare to migrate to SBS 2008, if you choose to.

Why was this decision made you ask?  Well, it comes down to customer research showing that the majority of installations are single-network card solutions with a hardware firewall router.  The second reason is OS support for a network firewall.

In Windows Server 2003, when it was originally released, the firewall included with the Operating System was called RRAS (Routing and Remote Access Service).  With the release of Windows Server 2003 SP1, (and XP SP2) the Windows Firewall was introduced to the public, leaving administrators of Medium to Enterprise networks with questions on which was the better Firewall solution to use.

With the release of Windows Server 2008, the firewall component of RRAS was removed in favor of the superior Windows Firewall.  The reasoning was that the Windows Firewall uses higher-end inspection methods than the RRAS firewall (think of Windows Firewall as closer to ISA, although clearly, not all the way there and RRAS as close to one of those consumer based routers < $50, which does port blocking only).  Clearly the Windows Firewall is the better choice.

However, due to the fact that the Windows Firewall is designed to protect the local box only, it does not protect the network (or more specifically, NAT) traffic through the box.  The NAT functions that comes with RRAS in 2008 is lower in the network stack then the firewall (where as in 2003, they were at the same level, or at least worked together).  The Windows Firewall does not protect NAT, thus if inbound traffic to port “X” not headed for the local machine, is passed through the machine without the Windows Firewall’s knowledge.  Thus, as designed, the Windows Firewall is a “host” firewall only, it does *not* protect NAT traffic.

Due to this major change in the Operating System behavior and the customer research, Windows Small Business Server 2008 will support a single network card, with the requirement of a separate firewall to protect the network.  This can be your favorite hardware or software firewall solution (or combo of course!)

Internet Security and Acceleration
I wanted to also add some information regarding Internet Security and Acceleration server (ISA). As you probably noted from the website. ISA is not longer included in the Premium offering of SBS 2008. This has been replaced with a second copy of Windows Standard Server 2008, which can be used to run ISA on the edge of your network, or a line of business application with SQL. ISA must be purchased seperately.

For those of you under Software Assurance, Microsoft will have some "make-good", announced around the time of the product, most likely in the next few months.