Fairwell to Small Business Server 2003

Today I spent the day de-comissioning a Microsoft Windows 2003 Small Business Server (SBS). It was the last SBS server any of my clients had still in production and the last SBS server license anywhere on my active client list. I turned it off today and probably for the last time.

Okay, what's the big deal? It's the end of an era for me. Awww sniff sniff

I've been working on SBS licenses for over a decade. It was the entry-level machine that so, so many companies replaced their old Windows Server 2000 or even WindowsNT 4.0 servers with.

SBS provided a small business with affordable security management, file sharing, shared mail/contacts/calendars, a database service, and reasonable backup solutions. It was almost everything any business needed out of the box. It was an awesome revenue source for Microsoft as small businesses everywhere needed that affordable capability. SBS installations were everywhere.

Sadly, the Windows Server 2012 platform doesn't include an SBS licensing model and small businesses are expected to pay a premium for similar functionality with full licenses for domain management, Exchange Server, and SQL Server.  That's totally cost-prohibitive to the small business, of course, to own a full-scale Standard server and all of those classic services so there's no real equivalent today. Microsoft would encourage people to purchase a workgroup server called Foundation Server, or, sign up for MsOffice365 and an "Essentials" server ... and what a broken load of crap that is. It's like Microsoft gave a big index finger to small businesses everywhere.

Well, so long, SBS 2003. You've been replaced by faster, less-risk, web-based, centrally-managed cloud products, and not even with a Microsoft logo but a Google Apps logo. Microsoft has abandoned you, and well, we - in the small business support world - have abandoned Microsoft.

Kinda represents the things to come, I think.

Soon, I'll likely replace the office productivity applications and Windows operating systems on the client computers with something other than Microsoft products, too. 

Hey, Microsoft: I can see a time without you. Do you hear that? The sound of a tick-tock-tick?