Microsoft announced recently that is discontinuing SBS Server in 2012. Microsoft will sell Windows Server 2012 Essentials (the next version of Windows SBS Essentials 2011), which does not provide an Exchange server. The will also be selling Windows Server.
For small businesses hosting their own email, this means that the next time you replace your server, you will have two choices:
1. Pay more for Winders Server Standard or
2. Move your Exchange hosting from your server to the cloud
I’m not sure I agree that this is the huge mistake on Microsoft’s part that IT service providers are making it out to be. Windows Server Standard Edition is not that much more expensive than Windows SBS was. A business with over 25 users can easily afford the difference.
For most small businesses with under 25 users, it just doesn’t make sense to host your own Exchange server anymore. When you factor in the capital cost for the hardware, the SBS licenses (CALs) and the maintenance, it’s cheaper to buy a Windows Essentials Server for your data (no need for CALs; it’s good out of the box for up to 25 users) and pay monthly for hosted Exchange .
For companies with users who travel a lot and/or who need to collaborate, it makes even more sense, as many hosted Exchange plans, for a little extra, will add in hosted SharePoint, which can easily be accessed from anywhere. No need to configure a VPN in the office for access, or pay for electricity (and air conditioning) to keep the server running 24/7/365.
Some techs are complaining that the companies they serve (outside of major metropolitan areas) don’t have a reliable enough internet connection for hosted services. My response to that is that if you don’t have reliable internet, how in the world can you host your own email?
We have clients using hosted Exchange plus Sharepoint, and we have clients using hosted Exchange alone. Both are economical alternatives as your SBS server ages out. (You do have a plan in place for the day when your aging server will (not might) fail, right?)