Advanced Windows Small Business Server 2003 book: Chapter

 Well hello there – I am the publisher for the above title and I like to hold virtual book readings by posting up a passage or two. So here we go – its some Chapter one stuff!

What’s Not Working

Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, or so the saying goes. Given the chance to redo certain things, of course you and I and even the short-order cook at the local eatery would probably do so! I preface the following discussion with that dose of reality because, while SBS 2003 is doing very well in the marketplace, there have been and continue to be areas for possible improvement.

• What Wasn’t Working but Is Now. You might recall that, upon prod­uct release, the client access licenses (CALs) for SBS 2003 were very difficult to obtain. There was apparently a distribution snafu that con­tinued into early 2004, but this has since been resolved. Not only is it


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possible to purchase all the CALs you need—you can also read all about them in Chapter 3 of this book.

·                     Extensive Usage of Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services (WSS). No, I’m not talking turkey here (a passing reference to the WSS dynamic-link library malady of late November 2003, which is described and resolved in my introductory SBS 2003 book). Rather, I’m speak­ing about the lack of WSS excitement and acceptance as we approach the one year birthday of SBS 2003. WSS is a great component, so why aren’t more SBSers truly using it? Hopefully Chapter 7 of this book will get you fired up and turned on about WSS!

·                     BizTalk Bump in the Road. Microsoft introduced BizTalk Server 2004, an electronic data interchange (EDI) product, into SBS 2003 premium edition (see the CRN article at www.crn.com/showArticle.jhtml ?articleID=18842296&flatPage=true for details), but it seems that some­one forgot to tell the SBS community. Very few SBSers are using BizTalk.

 

 

·                     Microsoft Office Small Business Edition (SBE) 2003 and SBS. On paper, it looked simple: sell one SBS server machine, and that in turn will sell several workstations with Windows XP Professional and Office SBE 2003. Unfortunately, what works on the whiteboard doesn’t always work in the real world. Office SBE 2003 has not experienced the SBS 2003 sales boost that was anticipated. Oh sure, attempts have been made to jump-start this relationship, and I was even retained by a Microsoft vendor to create the SBS 2003 and Office SBE 2003 hands- on lab that was delivered at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Confer­ence (WWPC) in Toronto in July 2004 (the hands-on lab was well-attended, by the way!). But much more work remains to get folks excited about Office SBE 2003. Stay tuned.

·                     Customer Demand Generation. While the accountants at Microsoft are reasonably satisfied due to the success of SBS 2003, some SBSers would, quite frankly, like more clients to serve. Microsoft’s channel- focused strategy assumes that SBS consultants will serve as a virtual SBS sales force for Microsoft. Microsoft itself does little customer


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advertising that truly generates a demand for SBS consultants; many of you reading this book already know this. But let me point you to a fascinating study from Yankee Group, released in July 2004, which calls Microsoft to task for NOT DOING ENOUGH to generate demand for SBS 2003. A portion of the study is displayed in Figure 1-2.

Figure 1-2

While applauding SBS 2003 success, study author Laura DiDio from Yankee Group strongly asserts that Microsoft’s SBS demand generation efforts could be improved. The white paper also does a great job of introducing SBS 2003 from a business viewpoint.

 

 

 

 

BEST PRACTICE: Download the Yankee Group study from www.smbnation.com using the SBS and SMB Consulting Working Papers link. Read it!

Right before the publication of this book, there is an important update to share regrading customer demand generation. Microsoft Ireland and Microsoft Germany are planning to engage in customer-facing demand generation in 2005. These subsidiaries will run radio ads and print ads. Here is to being hopeful this demand generation strategy will work!


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Recasting Business Operations

My past writings on SBS and SMB consulting have emphasized how SBS can radically alter the landscape of a business after it has been properly introduced. Suddenly stick-in-the-mud reluctant owners are asking to implement network- based faxing (native to SBS 2003), the SBS 2003 mobility features, and so on. Heck, as I researched this chapter, the hot topic I bumped in to was implementing Voice over IP (VOIP) technology in small businesses running SBS!

Reader Terry Constable wanted expanded discussion on the business use of SBS 2003 mobility features and running line-of-business applications remotely. Terry writes:

I have run into situations where I have a client that wants to deploy
SBS, but also needs access to a parent corporation’s resources as well.


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One of these was a broker (transportation not investment) for a larger company and wanted SBS but also needed access to Exchange and LOB apps from parent. It ended up easy to solve with VPN, but Tony Su and others brought up security considerations, especially since the folks on the other end were an NT 4.0 environment with very lax security. Being a transportation/distribution-centric specialist, I see a lot of this kind of thing, smaller companies that act as local agents for big conglomerates; so it might be an issue that others see as well.

The other situation I’m pondering now is a small manufacturing company that is being spun off from it’s parent corporation which currently hosts their e-mail and ERP software, as well as having a sales office in the parent company’s HQ building. I am going to have to connect the sales folks at MotherCompany to SBS server at SpinoffCompany, retain the link to the MotherCompany ERP system until SpinoffCompany implements their own system (they are in no big hurry either), and work with an IT staff 800 miles away to migrate exchange data into SBS. I don’t know how that sounds to you, but it’s the most complicated job I’ve faced in my short career; especially since Spinoff Company has determined that they want a DSL line for their SBS e-mail and Internet, but are also going to retain a fraction T-1 point-to-point with MotherCompany for the ERP system. This brings up DNS and network design issues that are outside the usual design of an SBS network. I was planning to post a question about that on the Yahoo group, or e-mail Tony Su or Tom Shinder directly looking for some expert advice.

I don’t know if either of these situations interests you, but I thought they are definitely advanced setups; which is good because it is forcing me to learn new and interesting things. Looking forward to seeing the new book, I’m in the midst of doing a re-read on SBS 2003 Best Practices for a couple of my weaknesses and anything I missed the first time around. I won’t be able to make SMB Nation this year, but I hope to make the Miami workshop with a little luck.

Keep up the great work!

Terry Constable

Constable Consulting Portsmouth, VA

 

 

 

Visit www.smbnation.com for additional SMB and SBS book, newsletter and conference resources.

 

 


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Gotcha covered, Terry, and thanks for surfacing your real world SBS planning concern.

Going Canadian, Eh?

In late 2004, Microsoft Canada created a technical assessment form for use by its small business partners with a twist: financial incentive. If you, the budding Canadian SBSer, completed the technology assessment form as part of your SBS business planning process with a new customer, you were eligible to receive a rebate from Microsoft Canada. Nothing talks like money, eh?

Technical

As a reader with the qualifications to ply an advanced book, you already know many of the technical issues involved with SBS 2003 planning, such as product limitations like the lack of trust relationships between multiple domains. And you’re likely well versed in the technical planning basics such as conducting a site survey (the number of wall jacks, desk placement, etc.), highlighted in my introductory SBS book. So what new technical planning issues may be on the SBS 2003 horizon? Read on.

 

 

 

Security

Top of the list is ongoing security planning—that is, before, during, and after an SBS 2003 deployment! That’s what Susan Bradley, Beatrice Mulzer and Dr. Thomas Shinder have taken on in the security section later in this book. What I want to do right here and right now is show you the current TS2 slide that summarizes the TS2 lengthy and excellent security seminar (Figure 1-11).

Notes:


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Figure 1-11

TS2’s take on SBS-related security.

 

 

 

In Figure 1-11, six key security areas have been identified that apply to all small businesses running SBS 2003. While some are obvious areas of concern, you might have missed one or two of these points save for this illustration. In particular, note the point about data protection. A reader, Brian Kruse, specifically asked that this area be addressed in this book. I think Brian will be pleased with the treatment afforded to the subject of backups in Jeff Middleton’s disaster recovery chapter, Chapter 15.

Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2

One issue coming quickly to the forefront as of this writing is how the Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) release will play in SBS 2003 environments. There is at least one known potential issue involved with this release, concerning the use of the Windows XP personal firewall behind the SBS 2003 server. This issue concerns the personal firewall contained in Windows XP SP2. There are two schools of thought on its proper role on a client computer joined to an SBS 2003 network. On the one hand, it would appear that you might not need the firewall on such a client computer that is networked and sits behind either the RRAS or ISA Server firewall that is native to SBS 2003. But on the other hand, the alternative is to use the personal firewall for even greater protection. Susan


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Bradley, a proponent of this second method, revisits this discussion in Chapter 11, which she kindly wrote for this book.

I’ll admit, when asked by Harpert Bramervaer, an enthusiastic SBSer from the Netherlands about this issue, I originally suggested the first alternative of not using the Windows XP SP2 personal firewall for a client computer on the SBS 2003 network. My gut reaction was that SBS 2003 provided sufficient protection from external threats. However, in discussing this with Brad Walton, a small business field representative in Microsoft’s Dallas office, I was corrected! What if the threat originated internally on the SBS LAN and wasn’t subject to the firewall protection offered by SBS 2003? What resulted was one humble Harry who needed to revise his answer for Harpert in Holland! So while there are two alternatives with respect to the personal firewall configuration, I’d like to side with Susan and suggest you indeed invoke the personal firewall. See her chapter for more good stuff on this topic!

To obtain the most current SBS 2003 technical news, such as the latest on the XP SP2 matter, visit the Microsoft TechNet site at www.microsoft.com/technet and search for common terms like “Small Business Server.”

 

 

Small Business Server 2003 Service Pack 1

Imagine it’s the Fall of 2004 and you are on the SBS development team in Building 43 at Microsoft’s Redmond campus. You’re working madly to bring together the components needed to get SP1 for SBS 2003 out the door. Your biggest challenge is to make sure you’ve incorporated all the separately released fixes for the underlying Windows Server 2003 operating system and the numerous applications included in SBS 2003. Then, after all that, you’re making final decisions about what additional functionality, such as Microsoft ISA Server 2004, should be released as part of SP1. Congratulations. You’re living in the “here and now” as SBS 2003 SP1 is being developed and this chapter is being written. Please visit www.smbnation.com for book errata and newsletter articles that will expand on SBS 2003 SP1 well after this book goes to print.

Microsoft CRM 1.2

As I alluded to earlier in the chapter, CRM 1.2 is hot! Show me a happy SBS user successfully running their business on SBS 2003, and I can likely show you a CRM 1.2 candidate. Scott Colson, who I mentioned earlier, says the fact of the matter is that the infrastructure deployment (SBS 2003) is the easy part


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in a combo SBS 2003 \CRM 1.2 scenario. A CRM implementation, clearly more complex than an SBS 2003 deployment, requires the business owner to sit down and start to draw out meaningful relationships between customers and opportunities. For more information on SBS 2003 and CRM 1.2, visit the following link for back issues of my SBS 2003 newsletter: http://www.smbnation.com/ newsletter/Issue3-6-march2004.htm.

BizTalk

Something mentioned briefly earlier in this chapter is that Microsoft’s electronic data interchange (EDI) product is known as BizTalk Server. While traditionally sold to large enterprises to facilitate business transactions with vendors and partners, in 2004 there was a product announcement that tied BizTalk Server to SBS 2003. It essentially goes down like this. If you own SBS 2003 premium edition, you can complete a registration form on Microsoft’s SBS site (www.microsoft.com/sbs) and receive a free copy of the low-level version of the BizTalk Server product (there are different versions). While writing this section, I spoke with Mark Fredrickson, an SBSer who is helping customers implement BizTalk Server (and who delivered a BizTalk speech at the SMB Nation 2004 conference), to get a current assessment about how much traction BizTalk Server has in the SBS community as of late Summer 2004. The answer was that it has very little traction. I and other SBSers always knew the deployment of BizTalk in the small business segment would be a small niche at best, and the marketplace has behaved accordingly. So I then followed up with Microsoft’s BizTalk Server team to learn even more, and they admitted that new product strategies are being developed to get the SBS community more excited about BizTalk Server. So standby because this is an evolving story, but you can read a past article in my SBS newsletter at http://www.smbnation.com/ newsletter/Issue3-7-april2004.htm.

SQL Server 2000

I think the case can be made for upfront planning and discussion surrounding the SBS 2003 premium edition database component, SQL Server 2000. While historically only ten percent of SBS customers even bothered to install SQL Server 2000 (in the SBS 2000 era), today that number is increasing. If you want SQL Server 2000, simply purchase the SBS 2003 premium version to get it and deploy it. Today there is better boundary definition between those who care about SQL Server 2000 and those who don’t.

cheers….harrybbbb

Harry Brelsford, CEO at SMB Nation (www.smbnation.com)

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

PS – did you know my Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) book is almost here? Yes!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Advanced Windows Small Business Server 2003 book: Chapter

  1. Hello Harry,

    I got all fired up to become a “certified SBS’er” last year. Bought the required book’s [Yours! :)] and set out to study – thought it would be a doddle – as I have been doing this for years.

    I then lost interest/heart/got the irrit’s as I realised all M$ wanted was a marketing person.

    Moreover, in spite of the fact I support 2003 (and 2008) servers – was exremely annoyed at the amount of 2003 server study. I stopped sitting for MCSE cert’s in 2000 as I figured it was nothing more than a damned expensive marketing program!(I decided to try the classroom – and spent near $20K) (Recently discovered that the one person who IMHO walks on water in the M$ world, Mark Minasi, agrees.

    DO you think the 2008 SBS cert is any better?
    Rob

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