Microsoft discontinues SBS (Small Business Server) and offers Server 2012

Microsoft is discontinuing their SBS, short for Small Business Server, and offers Server 2012 as a replacement.

Microsoft’s Small Business Server is a suite of Microsoft Server products and programs that are very useful.  SBS budled these products at an incredible value.  Servers are a core component to most businesses which are usually “out of sight, out of mind.”

If your company runs Microsoft SBS 2008 or an older solution, there is still a migration path for you.  Before announcing the end of SBS, they also announced Microsoft Windows Server 2012, which will be the replacement for SBS.

In the past, Microsoft has offered a wider selection of options.  With Windows Server 2012, the options have been narrowed down to just four.  Two of these options will be best for the majority of small businesses.

Foundation – Foundation is the most basic version of Windows Server 2012, with support for common activities like file and printer sharing. It won’t however support virtual environments, meaning, in other words, you will have to stick with physical servers instead of being able to run different servers on one physical machine.

The downside with Foundation is that it will only be available on new servers created by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). If you want to utilize this version, you’re going to have to buy a new server. If you’re looking to centralize basic office functions, or connect the office internally, and don’t currently have any servers, this might be a good option for you.

Essentials – If you currently use SBS, or another retired Microsoft product, you’re best bet is Essentials. At a cost of around USD $425, it’s a low cost upgrade aimed specifically at businesses with 25 or fewer users. An upgrade to Essentials brings about the ability to easily connect and manage Microsoft’s cloud based solutions such as Office 365 and the cloud version of Sharepoint, as well as others.

The downside to this is if you have more than 25 users in your company you’ll either need to pay for two different servers or pick another version. Aside from this, Essentials, like Foundation, doesn’t support a fully virtualized server environment. Essentials will be a good upgrade for companies that use cloud services and are looking for a server solution without the need for a virtual solution.

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