Initial thoughts on Cougar information

Earlier this week Charles Van Heusen posted a bit of information about Cougar (SBS2008)

The first part of the post talked about stuff you probably already know about, i.e SBS2008 will be 64-bit only so no direct upgrade, etc 

The second part talks about the changes that will be made to the standard and premium versions of SBS

“The “premium edition” will include the same core products above, plus a new twist, a 2nd Windows Server 2008 Standard edition license, a flavor of SQL Server 2008, (which one has yet to be announced), as well as support for Virtualization”

While this didn’t exactly come as a suprise I’ve been trying to decide in my head if i like the two servers option or not.

In the past some people have been concerned about how many applications a single server is running and with a 4Gb limit i could in some ways understand this. But when we move to 64-bit wont this issue disappear? We’ll be able to stick as much RAM in as we like and with a coulpe of quad-core processors there would be nothing to worry about

It also changes the way i’ll be positioning SBS as a solution to clients

Most small business owners don’t really care about all the geek bits. They just want a “solution”

So at the moment when i sell SBS as a solution i always put the premium edition forward


Well if I asked the client upfront, “do you need SQL Server?” most times i’d get a straight NO

If i asked if the client would anticipate the need for a SQL Server as the company grows i’d still get a big fat NO from them. In both cases if it meant not having the expense of a second piece of “tin” it would definately be no.

But what normally happens is twelve months down the line they come running back as they want to start storing tons of documents in Sharepoint or they have a new LOB application they need and they have been told they’ll need SQL Server

That’s when i point out that when the new server went in we pushed the premium edition and how i’ve saved a load of time, money and effort with a little forward thinking

Also, very few of my SBS clients have more than one piece of server hardware. It’s hard enough getting them to buy one new server!

What i liked about SBS 2003 premium was the ability to give them pretty much everything they would need on a single piece of hardware (apart from a terminal server..but i’ve heard of some clever workarounds to implement that!) knowing that as the business grew we could simply add extra member servers to offload certain tasks

I guess i can understand the benefits of having a second server for terminal services or for virtualisation but as David Mackie says, would really want to run Virtualization, TS and SQL side-by-side

So the way i currently see it is that i’ll be disappointed to “lose” SQL as we’ve used this with great success for SharePoint.

Will there be some sort of upgrade path from standard to premium as the client’s business grows?

There is still a way to go before we get to see SBS 2008 so a lot can still change though so i’m hoping for some big annoucement to make me smile again


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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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4 thoughts on “Initial thoughts on Cougar information

  • Do you what will be the difference beetwen
    Windows Essential Business Server 2008 or SBS2008


  • At the end of the day many small businesses are only ever going to deploy one server, that was always the beauty of SBS 2003. This does give choice which I think is good. If larger companies are looking to consolidate their infrastructure using virtualisation then why not smaller businesses? It’s gotta be the way forward, if only for disaster recovery and use a second inexpensive machine to image the main server. I know of one Partner using DPM to create snapshots at regular intervals.

  • I do agree with you Vijay.
    Choice is good and the ability to have virtualisation as an option is great

    As you said though most small business will want the single server option, which means no SQL server as part of the package which i think is a shame

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