To meet the challenge of performing better, faster, and more economically with fewer resources, businesses have increasingly turned to Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 to provide a stable, proven solution. Including several proven technologies such as Windows Server 2003, Exchange 2003, SQL Server 2000, Windows SharePoint Services, and ISA Server, SBS 2003 provides a great collaboration and communication platform.
The history of SBS started in late 1997 with the release of SBS 4.0 with many great features and functions for small businesses. Based on NT Server 4.0, SBS 4.0 allowed up to 25 users and provided a full range of solutions with the included components. Showing some problems, SBS was quickly upgraded to 4.0a providing more stability and function.
SBS 4.5 burst on the scene in summer 1999, still based on NT 4.0 Server, and had a refresh of the included technology SQL Server 7.0, Exchange 5.5, and Proxy 2.0. Stability was increased by expanding the list of supported hardware. Fixes to the wizards made SBS 4.5 more usable and eliminated the problem of not being able to recover the system if it became broken.
Delayed by some of the component parts, SBS 2000 was released in early 2001 to jubilation and accolades. Windows 2000 was a world of difference from NT, and SBS 2000 reflected these changes. All the components were upgraded to the Windows 2000 integrated products. The installation process was greatly improved. With all the focus on adding products to the HCL and plug-and-play support in the OS, you could build the server without worrying about having all the hardware components present for the initial installation. Monitoring and status reports were greatly improved. Overall, it just worked.
SBS 2003, launched with great fanfare in Fall 2003, is the latest in the family and brings many unique and useful features to the small businessnot only to improve individual productivity but also to improve on group productivity. SBS 2003 is the first to come in two flavors: Standard, for those seeking a budget-conscience solution to build their network on, and Premium, which includes SQL Server 2000, FrontPage 2003, and ISA 2000 (replaced by ISA Server 2004 with SP1).
Service Pack 1 for SBS provides a technology refresh to SBS and provides new features and improvements to the platform. Although the updates to SharePoint and Exchange could be applied separately prior to SP1, for SBS some of the new components such as SP1 for Server and ISA 2004 could not be applied because doing so would have broken the box. Also new is SP4 for SQL 2000/MSDE 2000.
Despite its limitations, which were put in place to prevent enterprise-level companies from stringing a number of SBS servers together, SBS provides a robust and manageable platform and encourages the use of solutions that Microsoft in many ways recommends for domain management. These limitations can be its strength.