Microsoft Windows Small Business Server (commonly referred to as SBS 2003, SBS 2008, or SBS 2011) is for companies that want a cost effective way to get access to some of the best Microsoft technologies. Such as:
Microsoft Exchange 2003 / 2008 / 2010 - Centralized and easy to manage email server, shared calendars, public folders, Outlook Web Access, Outlook over RPC, and shared mailboxes are just some of the more popular features.
Remote Web Workplace - Lets you access the desktop of your computer at the office, connect to your office network, or access the companies internal website.
Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (with SBS 2003) or Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (with SBS 2008 and SBS 2011 Standard) - A powerful database server that is available with the SBS Premium Editions.
Windows SharePoint Services - Online collaboration with document libraries, shared tasks, announcemnets, and online document review. This is a great starting for building internal web applications.
Many vendors like Symantec offer deep discounts on their products if they are being run on a SBS server. Microsoft also offers this with Microsoft Dynamics CRM SBE package with discounted pricing just for small business server.
Companies that have less than 75 users or computers, companies that want to install their first file server, companies that are upgrading an existing Windows file server, and companies that want to add either Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft SQL server to their current environment.
Companies that have less than 25 users, do not expect to grow beyond that in the next few years, and do not need Microsoft Exchange should consider Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials instead. The software is no charge to you with the purchase of certain model servers from Dell, HP, IBM, etc.
Companies that have more than 75 users or computers. SBS licensing only lets you have 75 users so even if only you have 50 users right now, but are expecting to grow to 75 you probably want consider using the regular Windows server products so that your technology is not restricting your growth.
If your firm is not expecting to use Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft SQL server the licensing costs of SBS can be a lot more than for regular Microsoft Windows. For example SBS 2003 for 5 users is a great bargin at $699.00 compared to Microsoft Windows 2003 Server at $999.00, but if your company grows and you want to add more users your SBS 2003 installation will cost you an additional $489 for 5 more users while Windows 2003 Server will only cost you an additional $199.00. (retail pricing).
One other reason not to use SBS 2003 if you are not planning on using the extended features like Exchange or WSUS is that those features still need to been maintained and security patches applied to them even if that service has been disabled.
Our consultants have a lot of experience with all versions of Small Business Server. We have over two dozen of our Los Angeles area clients running some version of it and are familiar with all of its features. In the last 2 years months we have migrated clients from older versions of Small Business Server to the latest 2011 version, setup new SBS 2008 installations, migrated workgroups to SBS 2003, moved existing Windows 2000 and 2003 active directory domains to Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 R2, and have even helped clients who grown out of SBS using the Microsoft Transition Pack.
If you are local to the Los Angeles area a consultant can come into your office and show how we can help your transition to Small Business Server be a smooth one.
Some other resources on the web:
Overview of Windows Small Business Server 2011
Technical site with information on installing and maintaing SBS