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  1. #1
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    Should We Use SBS 2003?

    I am completely new to servers. I don't really know all you can do and can't do with them.

    Right now our office has a server (if you can call it that), that is basically a computer that company files are stored on and that's it. It has Windows 2000 Pro on it.
    We have 15 computers linked together on a LAN and the employees all do their work on their computer then save the files to the Fileserver. Most of these computers are also running Windows 2000 Pro.

    We want to have a common contact list for all the employees using Microsoft Outlook. So I looked into that and found out that you have to have Exchange Server to do this, which runs on the Windows Server operating system. So, I began looking into Microsoft's Server packages and found Small Business Server. Which sounds like it includes everything we could ever want. After reading about the package we would like to use many more features than just the shared contacts obviously because that would kind of be a waste of money to get this package and only use it for that.

    Knowing nothing about servers, I have some questions...
    1) In a server, do all the programs that an employee uses on their own computers have to be loaded onto the server and accessed that way, or can they be on the employees actual computers?
    2) I read about Internet e-mail based on Exchange server. What is that about? We already have e-mail accounts through our domain hosted by SBC.

    I'm sorry this post does not make any sense, but I don't exactly know what I'm doing. I just need to learn the basics about servers and evaluate if this is really what we want.

    Thanks in advance

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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    The big idea of a server is all your files are centralized on one, strong, dedicated computer, with a central security system. So all your users will be able to use one username and password to not only log onto the network shares, but to log onto all the workstations (instead of each user having a separate logon to each machine). Having all the files stored centrally allows you to protect them with backup , and also to impose some structure to the office file organization.

    While a Windows server _can_ run programs (it's just a different version of Windows), it usually won't. Normal applications (Word, Excel, Photoshop) all still installed and run from the individual workstations. Some applications are designed to be run from the server (such as email or SQL database or Firewall), but most "user" apps aren't.

    If you use Exchange for email, mail will get sent directly to your SBS Server and your users will get there mailk with Outlook. Sounds like you are interested in some collaboration features, and Outlook with Exchange server is great for this. You can share all sort of things.

    Of course all this means that someone needs to manage all these server functions, and it can get complex. Even if you pay somone to set this up for you, you are still in for some research to make sure that you know enough to make sure that the computer consultants are doing what you want them to.

    Here's a page that talks about other ways to share Calendars and contacts http://www.slipstick.com/outlook/share.htm

    Well, I hope my somewhat tortured explanations made some sort of sense
    Jim

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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    There advantages and disadvantages to SBS. Some advantages are: 1.) Price - you get a lot for your money. 2.) The administrative stuff in SBS 2003 is really good. 3.) You can easily use or not use the various pieces. Some disadvantages are: 1.) The various parts such as SQL Server have some size limits (although this is usually not a problem for a small business). You'll need to upgrade to the full product if you exceed the limits. 2.) If you are going to use the full SBS product (I think it is the 'Premium' version for SBS2003) it goes against recommended security practices. You'll have Exchange, SQL server, and ISA on one machine. Most security folks would recommend have a separate server for each. Of course, they don't have to justify spending your money.

    Check out the MS propganda at: SBS 2003 home

    Joe
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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    Thanks for the information. We went ahead and ordered the product this morning.

    Follow up question...
    We need to get Symantec AntiVirus, not the norton version, correct? From what I have read, Norton AV will not work on Windows Server 2003. We have Norton SystemWorks 2003 installed on all the computers currently.
    If we get Symantec AntiVirus, what is the difference between Corporate and Small Business Editions, and what is the current version? 8.1?

    Also, how many licenses do we need to purchase? We have the server and 14 computers that will need antivirus software. The rest of the computers are running Windows 2000 Pro.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    If you have A/V software licensed on all the workstations already as long as you are up-to-date it is not necessary to relicense it. You'd need to install something to protect the server. If you want to stick with a Symantec product, then select whatever they say is compatible with Win2k3 server. The only reason you'd need to purchase and license the corporate edition is to have a central control point for software updates, virus signature updates, and reporting. Not sure what the current version is. We don't use NAV or the corporate edition so I'm not familiar with Symantec's naming, packaging, versions, etc.

    Joe
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  6. #6
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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    Antivirus software typically protects the file system. On the desktop, it check any files being written to or read from the computer and, if it recognized a virus, will block the action and try to remedy the situation. Server-based software (such as Trend Micro's ServerProtect) protects the server's file system from disk writes of malware from other sources, whether inside or outside the network (outside could be a dial-in or other remote access where your desktop AV software is not running). Depending on your environment this could be a "must have" or a "nice to have" item.

    File system protection software typically cannot handle data writes that are internal to a database file, whether it's SQL Server or Exchange on the server or Outlook's PST file on the desktop. These programs do not use Windows in the same way, so the real-time AV scan is not triggered. (When you attempt to open an attachment, Outlook makes a copy in a temp folder, so normal AV software will detect bad attachments that already are in your mailbox.) To protect your e-mail, your desktop software has the option of scanning messages as they arrive at the mailbox. There is similar server-based software (for example, Trend Micro's ScanMail for Exchange) that protects your central mail store against the arrival of unwanted attachments or messages.

    As a supplement to or substitute for mail-server-based AV software, you can buy "gateway" AV software that checks packets coming into and out of the company's network (e.g., Trend Micro's InterScan VirusWall for Small and Medium Business). If the packets are encrypted (e.g., remote users using Virtual Private Networking) this won't help, but in the ordinary case of checking mail or web surfing, it can be very effective (and cost-effective, compared with mail-server-specific software). However, it typically demands an additional computer. Or, in the case of AV integrated with a firewall, a new firewall appliance.

    Whether you buy Symantec, Trend Micro, or another company, there usually are two schools of thought: suites from a single vendor are the best value and the simplest to support; buying the best products from different vendors gives you more protection, because no one company is always the first to detect the latest threat. For best results, compare each vendor's "small and medium business" product lines (e.g., Trend Micro's).

    See, it's easy! <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>

    Disclosure: I do legal work for Trend Micro, and we use its centrally managed desktop protection product, OfficeScan.

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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    I use Symantec Anti-virus Corporate Edition, whcih include several products. Important for you is that it includes an anti-virus program specifically for the Exchange database. A regular file-based AV scanner that tries to repair a "virus" that it finds in the Exchange DB will cause great damage to the Exchagne store.

    The desktop product is also pretty neet in that it has centralized management features. We can automatically install and configure the AV clients on users' workstations, monitor their "virus status" and run AV scans at will (even running a full virus scan on all machines at the same time). It's a bit more expensive than the regular desktop program , but only a bit and you get a lot of features. Even for an office your size, you should seriously consider this type of advanced protection. When thinking about how much to spend, think about how much loss an office wide virus outbreak would cost your operation, and also how much extra time it will take you to manage all the individual home user products that don't offer any centralized control program.

    Symantec keeps changing the name and compositions of their products and prodcut suites, so it's prety confusing, But in my case, you buy a license for easch computer (workstation and server are the same), which gives you a maintenance license that lasts for the next year. This gives you the right to free upgrades and virus "signature" files. After a year, there is a renewal fee.

    I only know about Symantec's way of doing things. The other big AV companies supposedly make comparable products that are worth a look too.

    Jim

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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    As of right now, I am planning on using this product from Trend Micro. How long are we able to get updates from Trend Micro? How much will it cost once we need to renew our licenses to get more updates (if necessary)?

    Are there any products that will install on the server alone and not have to buy extra licenses, since we will still be using NSW 2003 for all the PCs?

  9. #9
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    You probably get one year of updates. That particular suite is new, so I'm not sure if you can find out the "annual maintenance" price yet, but you could check with Trend Micro. (Looking at various package on Provantage, it seems the annual maintenance usually runs about 40-50% of the new purchase price.)

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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    You should ask for pricing and licencing information from you your software vendor, not from a web forum.

    Jim

  11. #11
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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    Another question...

    Right now our internet is such that we have DSL>router>everyone's computers.
    Should I route the internet through the server we're setting up?

    We are getting a firewall for the server. With the current configuration will it do much good at all? If we route it through the server, how much good will a firewall installed solely on the server do, or does firewall software need to be on each workstation?

    Another question. How much will routing the connection through the server slow down internet browsing/downloading for the workstations, we're using 10/100 NICs.

    Thanks

  12. #12
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    > We are getting a firewall for the server.

    What exactly is this? Most small business firewalls are small, stand-alone "appliances" that you hook up to your router, and you then hook the rest of your machines into the firewall appliance.

    > ...does firewall software need to be on each workstation?

    There are advantages to that, particularly for mobile users or people who do a lot of downloading (approved downloading, of course). But it isn't that common yet because it can be a hassle to support.

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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    With SBS 2003 Premium you get ISA. That'll be the firewall and proxy server.

    Joe
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  14. #14
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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    I'm sure Microsoft wouldn't bundle all of these products if they couldn't be used together on the same server for their intended purpose. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> I guess one just needs a very beefy server.

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    Re: Should We Use SBS 2003?

    Yeah, you need a fairly substantial machine to run them all effectively. Plus, as I noted earlier, it is really counter to most accepted best security practices to have all those servers (Exchange, ISA, SQL) on one machine.

    Joe
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