SBS 2003 and ISA “Futurama” [Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book excerpt]

Hello there this Saturday! I am Harry Brelsford, author of the Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book (SBS 2003) and madly working on my SBS 2008 book! I hold a daily virtual book reading by posting up passages – today is no exception and I look FORWARD in the SBS 2003 time frame.


Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation

Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP

PS – did u know I host a technology conference in the New York City area each spring? Save the date for March 6-8, 2009 and watch “voice meet data” in the SMB space!

PPS – my SBS 2008 book will be out in mid-November 2008!

PPPS – my Microsoft Response Point Primer book is here NOW!


This section of the chapter looks forward to ISA Server 2004, the next release of ISA Server from Microsoft. It’s also a teaser for how you and I might meet again in my advanced SBS 2003 book down the road when I’ll profile SBS 2003 in-depth.

First, as of this writing, it is not known when ISA Server 2004 will ship and how it will be offered to the SBS 2003 community. I give Microsoft credit for marching ahead with SBS 2003 and releasing it October 9, 2003, instead of waiting for ISA Server 2004. Why? Because based on the research I’ve done, ISA Server 2004 will likely benefit the enterprise sites with 5,000 users in its standalone product version versus greatly helping the ten-user SBS 2003 network. That’s not to say SBSers won’t be appreciative of ISA Server 2004 because they will. I’m just predicting that you’ll find the delta changes to be smaller than you might have anticipated. Moving SBS 2003 forward with ISA Server 2000 was a good thing.

Second, exactly what is ISA Server 2004? According to, ISA Server 2004 is a generational improvement to the ISA Server 2000 product. It’ll incorporate improvements such as signature blocking and, borrowing from SBS-like thinking, have a simpler setup and configuration process. The public beta is anticipated in early 2004 (this book was written in the second part of 2003).

Third, what’s my prediction on how it will integrate with SBS 2003 technically and from a marketing perspective? Clearly the setup process you saw for ISA Server 2000 in SBS 2003 premium edition is most likely how the setup process will work for ISA Server 2004. That is unless the SBS development team looks for a way to use the ISA Server 2004 release as a chance to refresh the SBS 2003 product with a new setup process (this could be accomplished with a simple wizard that accompanies ISA Server 2004 when shipped to registered SBS 2003 owners). The marketing side is in some ways more complex. Will Microsoft just give ISA Server 2004 to existing SBS 2003 premium edition owners? Will a discount be given on the purchase price? Will Microsoft not even emphasize ISA Server 2004 with the SBS 2003 premium edition product? Stand by!


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