We want to inform our business readers about upcoming Microsoft changes that could affect the long-term reliability of your server(s) and computer systems and their compatibility with changes in the other important software used by your business. And we want you to know about the options that are available to help minimize the financial impact that these changes will have on your business.
Microsoft is discontinuing its Small Business Server line of products which are currently used by many small businesses. These popular products have historically been the most economical way for small businesses with less than 75 users to take advantage of advanced corporate features such as Microsoft Exchange for email, SharePoint server for controlling and sharing business documents and procedures, and SQL server to host business databases and line-of-business applications. Without the economical bundling of these corporate features into the Small Business Server line of products, separate server equipment, software, and licensing are needed to provide these functions. Microsoft has made it clear that Small Business Server 2011 will be the last of the Small Business Server line of products.
Small Business Server 2011 will be available until December 31, 2013 through OEM channels (meaning it can only be installed on new servers – no upgrading older hardware). If your business is currently running an earlier version of Small Business Server, you will need to upgrade to Small Business Server 2011 before the end of the year if you want to maintain, for the next five years or so, the same functionality, economical cost, and convenience you have enjoyed with your existing Small Business Server installation. If you do not upgrade before the end of the year, your upgrade costs will be substantially higher when you do eventually replace your current server equipment and software.
Microsoft is also ending support for Windows Small Business Server 2003 and Windows XP in April of 2014. The cost to maintain these aging systems will inevitably go up because there will no longer be access to the upgrades and troubleshooting tools that Microsoft has supplied to support these operating systems for over 10 years. Keeping the older hardware that is running these operating systems in good working condition will become more costly as well. We highly recommend that businesses who use these older operating systems should upgrade their server installations to Small Business Server 2011 and their workstations to Windows 7 or 8 by the end of the year.
If you have Windows Small Business Server 2003 or 2008, or any Windows XP systems, please contact us to discuss your options for upgrading to current hardware and operating systems. It won’t get any easier, and it certainly won’t get any less costly if you wait. We would be happy to provide a free consultation to discuss the specific impact of these Microsoft changes on your business.
Some Other Important Considerations
Older systems and software often mean old and outdated backup and anti-virus solutions as well. We can also review your current backup and disaster recovery provisions and your anti-virus and anti-malware solutions to see if you might benefit from state-of-the art and yet economical unified threat and disaster recovery solutions. Your network equipment, operating system software, threat management solutions, and disaster recovery provisions form the backbone of your IT infrastructure and are critical to your business operations. A weakness in any of these areas can mean costly downtime and repairs. We can provide fully managed and highly effective solutions to address one or all of these critical areas at costs that are kind to your bottom line. This will free you to focus on what you do best – running your business – while we take on these often worrisome but highly critical tasks. Let’s talk!