Part I: Overview of Microsoft Small Business Server 2003
Chapter 1. Understanding SBS Technologies
IN THIS CHAPTER
Businesses are increasingly challenged to perform better, faster, and more economically with fewer resources. This is especially true of smaller companies; strapped for the tools and technology to improve their business, they are often caught between staying with inefficient systems that work or gambling the future of the company on new or unproven technology.
Starting from humble beginnings, Microsoft Small Business Server 2003, known as SBS 2003, provides a comprehensive networking solution for smaller businesses. Including many features such as shared documents and calendars, email, messaging, secure Internet access and data storage, reliable printing and faxing, and remote administration, SBS 2003 has evolved into a proven world-class business platform providing technologies and tools that enable small businesses to be more productive and efficient. SBS 2003 accomplishes this by utilizing several key Microsoft tools and technologies:
Listing the included technologies does nothing to explain what SBS is really all about and barely scratches the surface of its potential. Retail copies of SBS can be obtained and can be up and running quickly and easily. SBS 2003 is also available preloaded from many OEM, system builders, and consultants both large and small and can be deployed in minimal time frames. The SBS development team has done a great job and all but eliminated the need for great depths of knowledge and lengthy training by creating wizards to assist with the most common tasks. SBS still does have a learning curve, but this can be overcome relatively easily with time and guidance from those familiar with and knowledgeable about the product. It is still recommended to be well versed in SBS for the planning and deployment of an SBS network and to be available if major problems arise.
Because SBS 2003 has been rolled into the Windows Server 2003 family, the standard interface provides a consistent look and feel across the entire platform. This means that usage and management provide the same experience whether using a desktop computer, working on the SBS server, or even when accessing a member server in the domain. So those familiar with Microsoft's products will spend less time learning the product and more time using the product, while being more productive in the process. The Client Setup Wizard provides a mechanism to migrate user profile settings and data from a peer-to-peer network based on the Windows 2000 or Windows XP operating systems without disruptions to users. Improved wizards, monitoring tools, and usage reports provide simpler administration, greater details of system and network status, and information on utilization.
Because SBS 2003 is truly built on Windows Server 2003, after it is deployed, it will keep your business up and running while minimizing possible data loss. Volume Shadow Copy enables point-in-time backups to assist recovering accidentally deleted files and helping backups run quickly with minimal errors and downtime. The Backup Configuration Wizard guides you through the creation and implementation of a successful data backup strategy reducing the time and effort needed to ensure business continuity.
Another component of data continuity is securing that data while limiting access and restricting the installation or use of software to manipulate the data. Access to critical business data and applications is controlled through secure centralized storage, which ensures that authorized users can access needed information in their computers while also preventing those who have no need for the data from acquiring it. Windows Server 2003, has increased available services by more than 200% while mitigating attacks against the system by 60%. Software restriction policies help prevent unapproved software installations and usage, helping protect against viruses and other attacks. Wizards simplify security settings and help ensure that all the necessary security steps are taken while setting up the network. SBS 2003 includes both internal and external firewall support. This provides a high degree of security for the SBS network.
Not only is it important to increase individual performance, but team performance also improves through enhanced collaboration and data access. Companyweb, a preconfigured internal website based on Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services, allows coworkers to share information, including document libraries, announcements, events, and links. Enhanced Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA) enables users to access an Internet version of Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 from the Internet to share files and schedules. Small Business Server 2003, Premium Edition, with SQL Server, provides small businesses the capability to run several business applications in a simple and cost-effective information technology environment to analyze and manage business information with a large selection of line-of-business applications from both Microsoft and third-party vendors. Working with a broad array of Microsoft partners, small business owners have more flexibility in selecting business applications to improve operations, reduce costs, reach more customers, and serve them better, while conducting business in a professional manner and ensuring customers that you are the right choice for their business.
Few businesses operate strictly within the walls of their locations and increasingly find that they need access to crucial data outside the office. Virtualization of companies of all sizes, and the extension of where and how business is conducted, continues to grow the need for remote access and collaboration. Remote access to information from anywhere, at anytime, and on any device is now provided by SBS and associated technologies. Remote Web Workplace (RWW), the new remote portal, allows authorized users to access features using the Internet. Businesses running the Premium Edition can now establish an interactive web presence with an unlimited number of visitors and can run as many business applications as needed.
SBS provides the platform and framework that easily grows with your operations instead of limiting productivity and communications and becomes a platform that you really never outgrow. Because SBS 2003 is part of the Windows Server 2003 family, adding additional Windows servers to your network as a dedicated line-of-business server, a server dedicated to running Windows Terminal Server in application-sharing mode, or other roles is not a problem. If you find you do outgrow the limits of SBS, the Windows Small Business Server Transition Pack removes these limitations while keeping your infrastructure in place and functioning. Before you can continue on to really understanding where SBS is today, it is important to understand where SBS came from and how it got here. At that point you can have a deeper understanding of where SBS is going.