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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Mar 2014
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    Lightbulb Replacing a Windows 2003 Small Business Server

    Hi All,

    I've been banging my head against the wall for over a week, trying to determine the best deployment scenario for a client who is looking to replace an old server running SBS 2003 with one or more new servers. I'd appreciate any advice or suggestions on the best way to proceed.

    First, their current situation:

    - SERVER1 running Windows 2003 Small Business Server. Roles in use:
    - Active Directory
    - File and Print Server
    - Exchange (7 users)
    - Symantec Mail Security for Exchange
    - Symantec Endpoint Protection (distribution server and client)
    - SQL Server 2005 and a relatively lightweight industry-specific application that supports all current versions of Microsoft SQL, including express editions.
    - SERVER2 running Windows Server 2008 R2, exclusively used as a Remote Desktop Server for 7 users. Runs all client applications for all users.

    They want to replace the SBS (SERVER1), however Microsoft no longer has a Small Business Server edition that includes Exchange. From speaking with Microsoft licensing, they have three recommended options:
    1) Replace it with a Windows Essentials server, and migrate all users to a paid Office 365 plan. I have been pushing this, but the customer is resistant to this scenario. They have always hosted their own email, and like the flexibility of having as many accounts as they need at a given point in time, as well as managing their own backups and restores.
    2) Buy Standard licenses for Windows Server and Exchange, including CALs, and install HyperV, with Exchange in a virtualized environment, while running the domain controller on the host operating system. This solution smells like trouble to me for a variety of reasons.
    3) Buy two separate physical servers, each with Windows Server Standard licenses and CALs, plus Exchange Standard and CALs. Setup one for AD/File & Print/SQL and other services, and one for a dedicated Exchange server. Most expensive solution (up front at least).

    Any better suggestions than the above? I've thought about re-purposing their old server for one of these roles, or trying to mix/match Windows Server Essentials with Windows Server Standard and Exchange Standard, or even ask the Remote Desktop server to take on more roles, but am hesitant.

    Any advice or suggestions? Much appreciated!

  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Thanked 1,125 Times in 1,048 Posts
    I would go for option 3 as a standard AD configuration, but cost is always an issue.
    Assuming the 2008R2 box is up to it you could make it a DC/GC, F&P server and load SQL - SQL is the only really hungry service, but you don't have a lot of users so it'll be fine. Then replace the 2003 box with another DC/GC and run Exchange, Mail security and SEP. This breaks the loads up and makes recovery easier, plus it gives you 2 DCs in case one fails - always a good idea as AD recovery is never pleasant.
    I'd use SQL express rather than buy another SQL license.

    cheers, Paul

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