You’ve more than likely heard that Microsoft are ending development of EBS with immediate effect. If you browse to the website you’ll see this
(eventually…I got this and the regular product page randomly on each page load)
There is also an an announcement on the official SBS blog
This didn’t exactly come as a massive surprise. If you work in the SME market hands up who sold lots of EBS?
When the product was initially announced it sounded like an interesting proposition but I had a few problems making it “fit”
Comparisons to SBS are bound to happen so that’s where I’ll start!
SBS works because it fits really well into a couple of scenarios that met a need for small businesses
New company, first network, first server
Obvious really. New company, buying infrastructure to get started. Decides to do it right from the offset and goes for SBS
Existing company, existing network, first server
A company that’s grown and needs to go from that peer to peer network to their first server
Existing Company, existing network, replacement server
You know the type. They’re using a “beefed up" PC as a central storage area for their files or they have been sold sold a more expensive "big daddy” Windows Server for sharing files and have no other functionality
As a side note Windows Foundation with some hosted services thrown in could easily swap out for SBS depending on the size of the company
So where in comparisons does EBS fit?
That was my problem.
Business that were generally large enough to look at EBS don’t really fit any of the above
New companies generally don’t start out needing to support 50+ users straight away
Existing companies that have grown to that size do so for a reason and they’ve usually made their IT mistakes and got something in that fits well. Usually “big daddy” Windows server but they pay enterprise prices because there isn’t a product specifically for them. Hence the introduction of EBS!
Since most existing companies like this generally have decent enough networks running it’s difficult to justify ripping the whole thing out and starting again.
So the other scenario I see is the businesses reaching the upper limits of SBS
I actually have this exact scenario going on at the moment with one of my clients and have agonised over EBS vs the regular server products
One of the issues I had was with the “Security Server”
The client in question had already made investments in protecting themselves at the gateway with a dedicated hardware firewall so had no need for Forefront Threat Management Gateway and were already covered by a message hygiene solution so no need for the Exchange Edge role so what exactly were they going to use this server for?
If you are doing it the traditional way then it’s a whole physical server you just don’t need. Obviously you could virtualise it but it’s 🙂