Microsoft is launching Office 365 as their full cloud solution which we will cover in a future blog but in the meantime let’s discuss what Microsoft has planned for the cloud in SBS 2011.
SBS 2011 to come in two flavor’s
The launch of SBS 2011 is significant in that this is the first time a cloud based SBS version is being released. You now have the choice of two versions:
SBS 2011 Standard
This is the typical SBS server and a straight replacement for SBS 2003 or SBS 2008 which you may be running now. SBS Premium is now an add-on for SBS Standard and allows you to run SQL on a separate server. We will cover this in more detail in a later blog. This version supports up to 75 users.
SBS 2011 Essentials
This is Microsoft’s attempt to bring Hybrid computing to the small business market. It’s a cut down version of SBS 2011 Standard with the main applications – Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SharePoint – removed. The idea is you then subscribe to these and other services as cloud applications on a monthly basis.
By doing this you can install a smaller lower specified and, most importantly, a lower cost server in the office.
In theory this should allow you to save money on hardware, software and install costs and move you from a “money up front and own everything approach” to a more flexible pay monthly model for a large part of your IT requirements. Essentials supports up to 25 users.
Is SBS Essentials right for me?
Possibly! A hybrid or cloud solution will not be right for anyone and it’s important to cut through the marketing hype in making this decision.
As a start it’s worth considering these pointers:
- Where your organisation is geographically distributed and application access is required for remote workers across the company, hosting some or all of your systems in the cloud can have a big impact
- Where the number of concurrent users are small enough the bandwidth available per employee may be high enough to make SBS Essentials viable (remember using the cloud means using your broadband for your applications!)
- SBS Essentials reduces the complexity of the local server and hence the need for IT skills in house. If you do not have Internal IT staff or a support provider on hand this may be a good option
- By downsizing the local hardware and software required, initial hardware and software along with on-going support costs should be reduced
SBS Essentials has its place, and may be suitable for your specific requirements but first you need to consider the downsides.
In the next blog, to balance the argument, we talk about the potential pitfalls of cloud computing….