Microsoft's recent focus on the small business market segment is nowhere more evident than in the development and marketing of the Small Business Server product. For years, while Microsoft pushed the mentality that each of its major product offerings really needed to be installed on separate servers, a small group of developers quietly worked to integrate these enterprise-level technologies into a single-server implementation that worked reliably. But not until the Small Business Server 2003 product did Microsoft really get it right. And with the release of Service Pack 1 for SBS 2003, the product has reached a maturity that equals the demand small businesses have for such a product.
With the announcement of the Small Business Specialist designation in the summer of 2005, Microsoft began a huge marketing push to get existing partners to qualify for the designation as well as to draw new partners into the program. Many larger partners have not had the exposure to the product or the market space and frequently find themselves in a jam when working with the SBS product for the first time. Until now, there has not been a single reliable resource for partners to use to not only get an understanding of the SBS product but also to "go beyond the wizards" and learn the best ways to customize the product.
This book was developed to fit that need. Each chapter in the book covers a technology or implementation issue at several levels. First, the chapter introduces the topic and gives a fairly detailed overview for the reader who has not been exposed to the topic previously. Second, the chapter presents the configuration settings for a default installation, where appropriate, as a reference for the reader. Next, the chapter goes into advanced configuration for the technology, including how-to steps for commonly requested customizations. Finally, the chapter ends with a troubleshooting section that details more than just "rerunning the wizard."
In addition, this book spreads beyond the typical Microsoft publication on a topic by covering aspects of Small Business Server installations that consultants face in the real world. Consultants who have needed to incorporate other operating systems, Macintosh and Linux specifically, into an SBS network now have a set of reference and how-to material that will aid them in quickly including these technologies into the SBS environment.
This text is not the end-all, be-all on the SBS topic, however. Certain topics and issues had to be left out to keep the book at a reasonable size. Technician's toolkits are large enough already without lugging an 80-pound book along with them. For those topics not addressed within these pages, the reader can review the public references found in Appendix A, "SBS Resources," to locate help and reference materials. The SBS community is worldwide, and the majority of community members is more than willing to help out a newcomer when he runs into the first major problem.