Before moving on with the SBS2K project I will digress a little and go over the reasons I am pursuing SBS2K versus the Linux alternative. First of all the most important business task I am looking at improving is my email and shared folder storage. About a year ago I installed a Toshiba M500D server on my local network. Since cost was a major consideration I picked it up off of Ubid. My objective at that time was to install shared folders, install a local intranet server to prototype web page changes, and to practice for the MSCE server exam. So I added 512K of memory, installed W2K server, and was off and running. A couple of months later I started focusing on making improvements to my email system, Outlook. I was pulling mail from my ISP and storing it in Outlook. The problem was that I needed to get to my mail from different machines on my local network. There are many solutions in this area but I settled on a IMAP implementation from IMA. They had both a W2K version and a Linux version. I know this sounds corny but I liked the idea of a migration path to Linux. So I installed the W2K version and moved my most of email folders out of Outlook to the IMAP server. I had a few problems with IMAP but nothing serious to me. The biggest problems were:
- Moving and deleting nested mail folders
- Running rules on IMAP folders.
- Backup and recovery was pretty ambigous
- The IMAP server did not like my local domain name suffix, .local. It has several form validation routines that reject any suffix greater than 3 characters.
Recently I was pondering these problems and whether I should fork over the money for software maintenance when Microsoft made me a very appealing offer. They said if I signed up as a partner and went to a Small Business Server training class they would give me a NFR copy of SBS2K. They further said that they had a channel promotion in which they would give me an up to $500 rebate if I sell SBS2K to a new customer. When I put on my small businessman hat and looked at my problems, I concluded that SBS2K could be very appealing. A small business could get a quality email server, firewall, and SQL server for a little bit more than the price of the W2K server. For all the people who just want to use their PC rather than understand how they work, this is much more appealing than a Linux/IMAP solution. So I went to the class. Harry Brelsford was the instructor. Harry is a consultant whose business is focused around SBS2K and writing books. He conducted a very practical class and naturally recommended we follow the recommendations in his book, SBS2K: Best Practices, to minimize support issues. I was impressed enough to buy a copy of the book. Of course, I bought it off of Ebay to save a few bucks. Now I am waiting for my copy of SBS2K and reading the frequent posts to the SBS2K newsgroup on Yahoo.