Oct 10, 2012
Comments Off on If You Serve Me Up

If You Serve Me Up

It’s hard to get the Rolling Stones to sing “Start Me Up” for Microsoft once the start button has been removed from Windows 8. This month’s launch will certainly be a far cry from the fanfare and glamour of 1995. Yet for solution providers, it’s almost time to ‘stop worrying and love the bomb’.

Microsoft released its follow-on to Small Business Server/Home Server today. Look for this software to start appearing on retail servers in the next month. OEM price is expected to be under $400. This is a jump for business Home Server users or any startup on a tight budget. It is less than the full Small Business Server but with far fewer features like Exchange. It is a straight across replacement for SBS Essentials. If you use XP or Vista you will have to stay with earlier products – 2012 only supports Windows 7 or 8. Mac Leopard 10.5 or above is supported. It combines a little bit of all the previous server variations without a mail server.

One can make the argument that operating systems are less and less relevant in modern computing, especially with servers – users mainly care about whether their applications work, whether they can find their data, and whether their computing experience has changed radically from one version to the next.

Server 2012 Essentials may be a bright spot in an otherwise dim product cycle. Advance reviews point toward an underwhelming response to Windows 8; this may be a pushback against a poorly considered user interface, though developers have their own reasons to rage against the dying of Windows 7. If anything, a lackluster economy and poor advance reviews may counter Microsoft’s assertions that Windows 8 will be the biggest launch ever.I will continue to recommend Home Server and Small Business Server as long as they remain available through retail channels. Each has a well-established base of business and home users. Most businesses do not crave the bleeding edge. Authors like Paul Thurrott make their living advocating for the latest, whether or not it is the greatest, but it may not be your necessity.Bottom line assessment: Small Business Server 2011 users have a mature and robust product with service packs and standard support to continue for most of the next decade. Home Server business users and enthusiasts like their product for ease of use and price point. SBS 2011 Essentials users have little to gain from upgrading, but if you were considering buying that product, then this would be a new choice. I’ve tested Server 2012 Essentials and will support it. That doesn’t mean I have to endorse every poor decision that company management has made in the last year, though.
This article is in response to Paul Thurrott’s piece here:
I’ve been reading his pieces for years and would like to acknowledge his contributions to the Windows enthusiast community. I may not always be as ardently enthusiastic about Microsoft’s offerings, but in all things balance. Without some enthusiasm the entire Windows franchise would be dead in the water.

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