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I’m pleased to say that Windows Small Business Server 2008 Unleashed will be arriving to online and brick & mortar locations very soon. It has already been spotted in the wild.
Microsoft made the Public Preview of SBS 2008 available for the general population yesterday. This was announced on the Official SBS Blog. To get access to the software, you will need to visit the Technet Evaluation Center. Before installing, make sure that the system you are going to evaluate on meets the basic system requirements identified by Microsoft. If you don’t have hardware that meets the basic requirements, you may be able to install, but you will encounter difficulties that will lessen your experience with the software.
And if you do take the time to download and test the software, please make the effort to provide feedback to the development team. This could include bugs, feature suggestions, or compliments on implementations that have been done correctly. There may not be much that can be done with the product in terms of changes at this stage, but if you do find something that causes problems and do not report it, it may not get reported by anyone else, and the team really does want that feedback. But whatever you do, please do not expect to use this version in production. If and when subsequent releases of the public preview are made, there will not be an “upgrade” process to move from one public preview build to another build.
Microsoft has started the marketing push for SBS 2008 as part of the Windows Essential Server Solutions family of products, that currently includes Small Business Server 2008 and Essential Business Server 2008. Unfortunately, the marketing is prominently featuring an element that has been causing some confusion in the SBS space. Right on the main WESS page, the blurb for SBS 2008 states that SBS 2008 is: “An affordable server solution designed for businesses with 50 employees or fewer.” Many people are thinking that this means SBS 2008 will revert back to a 50 user/device maximum licensing combination, which is less than the 75 user/device max in SBS 2003.
Fear not, the maximum # of users/devices that will be licensed with SBS 2008 is still 75. Yes, Microsoft has targetted SBS 2008 for the 1-50 user market and EBS 2008 for the 50-250 user market, but the technical limitations on the maximum number of users/devices has not changed. You can find the 75 figure listed at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver/essential/products.mspx and http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver/essential/choose-solution.mspx.
The serious IT Professional knows that the number of licenses is not the only factor in determining which product will be the best solution for a particular company. Some 50-75 user companies will do just fine on SBS 2008. I know of a couple of 20 user companies (and smaller) that EBS 2008 would be an excellent match for. It all boils down to need and resource availability. Will you be able to run a 75-user company on an SBS 208 box that was designed for 15-20 users? Yes, but it may not perform as well as expected. Would the three-server implementation of EBS 2008 be complete overkill for some 60 user businesses? Absolutely.
With EBS in the product options now, there are more considerations to make when planning an SBS/EBS implementation for a business. The maximum number of user/device licenses is simply one consideration. There will be many, many others.
And here you were thinking that your Mac would be immune to the DST problems that seem to be plaguing the rest of the US. Well, not necessarily. Turns out that Microsoft has included updates in Office Update 11.3.3 for Entourage that handles issues related to calendar items and the new DST rules. And if you’re only using Entourage 2004 for POP3 or IMAP accounts, you’re probably going to be OK. But only if you install Update 11.3.3 (at least according to KB924606).
But, if you’re using Entourage 2004 to connect to an Exchange server, your calendar may just get a little funky for a little while. According to a blog post from the MS Higher Education West group, if the Exchange server has not been updated with the patches to fix the DST issue. Where can I learn about these updates, you may be asking? Well, this Microsoft page has information, and http://www.dstpatch.com/Â also has update information.
Bottom line, the patch for Exchange is out, but not necessarily universally installed. The Entourage patch is out, as is the OS update from Apple that allows the core Mac OS to handle the new DST laws. But the Outlook patch is not yet available, so expect that until all three players are updated in a particular location there will be some discrepancies about meetings that are scheduled after March 11, 2007.
My Mac recommendation: go ahead and update to 11.3.3 for Office for the Mac, but be aware of possible DST meeting hiccups until everyone else gets updates.
Yes, Apple used the same battery supplier as Dell for some of their laptop models and, as such, they are doing a recall on batteries as well. If you think you have a Mac laptop that may need to have its battery replaced, you can check here: https://support.apple.com/ibook_powerbook/batteryexchange/.
And no, I don’t have to replace mine…