Monday, August 04, 2008

What's Different between SBS 2003 and SBS 2008?

I thought it might be worth doing a post to call out the major things that are different between Windows Small Business Server 2003, and Windows Small Business Server 2008. I thought doing this in a table format might be helpful.  In this table, I'm comparing directly with the 2003 feature set, I am not discussing added functionality or more robust/secure functionality of which is a lot of the extra effort.

In no particular order ...

Windows SBS 2003 Windows SBS 2008
x86 (32-bit) Only x64 (64-bit) Only
Setup asks technical questions and allows you to place data stores in the UI Setup doesn't ask technical questions, if you want some, look at the answer file to enter the migration path, or make modifications to setup, making it more predictable, easier and faster.
Setup asks you technical questions about your router Setup detects routers at 192.168.x.1 and 192.168.x.255 automatically
Windows Firewall disabled Windows Firewall enabled and protecting the server before setup is finished
Can deploy as Edge NAT box, or Single-NIC Deploy's as Single-NIC only, flexibility for any type of router (hardware or software) to be used in front of SBS.
DHCP can be deployed on Router or SBS server DHCP strongly recommended on SBS server, can disable using advanced console only
Post Setup called "To Do" list Post Setup called "Getting Started" List
Administrator account used, but encouraged to be renamed New Administrator account created during setup, and the built-in is disabled out of the box
Configure E-mail and Internet Connection wizard was 27 wizard pages long
  • Connect to the Internet Wizard for outbound connectivity
  • Internet Address Management Wizard for inbound connectivity, which also configures domain names with participating domain name providers
  • Add a Trusted Certificate Wizard for adding certs to the box
  • Configure a Smart Host Wizard for outbound e-mail smarthost configuration
  • Fix-My-Network wizard for continuous re-runs to reset configuration to factory defaults
User Templates Renamed to "User Roles"
Power User can log into SBS administration snap-in with limited tasks Standard User with administration links, gets additional links in Remote Web Workplace for management of Office Live, Connecting to the server, etc.
POP3 Connector was limited for SSL access, should be used for transition tool only. POP3 Connector re-written to support SSL access to mail accounts.  Continues to be a transition tool.
Remote Web Workplace was on/off for all users Remote Web Workplace can be limited to be used for certain users only (all users by default).
Business-card web-site was a white paper solution to host on the local box
  • Integration with Office Live for configuration of Business card web-site
  • Integration with Office Live for hosted SharePoint
  • Integration with Office Live for AdSense advertising
Backup was NTBackup based, support for USB disk drive and Tape Backup is based on new VSS technology, and is much quicker, but no longer supports tape.
Email Reports Daily and Instant alerts from a defined list An extensible list of alerts and daily reports
Security roll-up of the Server only, patch level of clients only. Security roll-up of the server and clients.  Including Firewall Status, AV status, Patch Status, Malware Status, Free Disk space and others!
Windows Server 2003
Exchange Server 2003
Windows SharePoint Services v2
Windows Server 2008
Exchange Server 2007 SP1
Windows SharePoint Services v3
Remote Web Workplace shows all computers to connect to Remote Web Workplace can show all computers, but defaults to a user
Self-Issued Certificate was your responsibility to distribute Handy distribution tool provided that can be taken home on a USB/Floppy drive and installed on remote computers, or windows mobile devices
Single Leaf/Root Self-issued Certificate Root Cert/Leaf Cert combination so renewing the leaf cert doesn't require redistributing the certificate package
No Anti Virus included 120 day trial versions of OneCare for the Server, and Forefront Security for Exchange included.
Folder Redirection is entire network or no one. You can choose which users have their "My Documents" redirected to the server
All files were able to be put on the server You can filter which type of documents are not allowed on the server, such as music files, etc.
Support for Windows 2000 clients and higher Support for Windows XP SP2 clients and higher
Windows Mobile access was always allowed Windows Mobile access can be enabled by user, and devices can be managed through Outlook Web Access.
Two consoles, the Administrators console, and the Power Users console Three consoles, the Administrators console, the administrators console with advanced links, and the MMC console with most native tool consoles already in it.
Single type of CAL Lower price CALs for Standard server & users that aren't using the features in Premium
CALs purchased in 5/25 packs CALs purchased in 1/5/25 packs
User needs to remember links Administrator maintained Vista Gadget for common company links

That's the list I can think of.  If I missed something, feel free to let me know and I will be sure to add it.  Itching to try out the beta? Head over to, and register to provide feedback and participate in the community over at the Small Business Server Connect site.


Guy Gregory said...

Really useful table, I'll certainly refer my colleagues to this.

How about adding the CAL differences, with 2003 only having one type and 2008 having Standard and Premium flavours?

Guy Gregory said...

...and also the fact you can now buy one-off CALS

Sean Daniel said...

Thanks Guy, I wanted to stay to the technical peices instead of the CAL peices, but you are right, I should add CALs.

Anonymous said...

"New Administrator account created during setup, and the built-in is disabled out of the box"

So how exactly do you administer the server? By using another admin account that you create? If so, does this mean that you can set the accounts to be locked in the event of too many failed logins?

Sean Daniel said...

Yep, that's correct.

In SBS 2003, the best practice documentation said to do this, and no one actually did it.... so we do it now during setup. Makes things more secure when the administrator account isn't well known.

.... and lock the account out you can. :o) but only for 10 minutes... at least that's the default policy.

Anonymous said...

Perfect! You're right, I don't know anyone who actually did it. I did (usually) rename my admin account though.

Thanks for the reply.

Anonymous said...

Any difference in faxing

Sean Daniel said...

... Very little.