At Exact we are proud to have a lot of small and medium sized businesses as our customers, so we often receive the question whether or not our products are supported when they run on Windows Small Business Server. Most of the times, this question is about the use of Exact Globe in particular. In most cases the answer is ‘yes’: we support Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008, so why would a bundle of these two products under the name of Small Business Server 2008 not be supported? However, there are some things you need to take into account when you want to choose this all-in-one server solution to run Exact Globe.
First of all, let me explain what Small Business Server is. Microsoft has developed Small Business Server specifically for small businesses and it is an integrated server suite designed for running network infrastructure for no more than 75 workstations or users. So that is obviously a very important limitation: if you foresee you will have more than 75 workstation or users connecting to your server(s), now or in the future, Small Business Server does not suit your business needs.
Looking at Small Business Server 2008, there are two editions available. The Standard Edition offers (amongst others) Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0. The Premium Edition adds Microsoft SQL Server 2008 For Small Business to that package. Both versions are only available as x64 (64 bits) software.
It is important to know that we always advise our customers to use a dedicated database server when using Exact Globe. If SQL Server runs on the same machine as Microsoft Exchange Server, Windows Sharepoint Services or other applications, those other applications can potentially have a negative influence on the speed and power of SQL Server and thus Exact Globe. What is new in Small Business Server 2008, is that the Premium Edition can run on two hardware servers, with the second server running Windows Server and SQL Server for line-of-business applications. In this case that line-of-business application is Exact Globe. So, for the first time with Small Business Server you can install a dedicated database server as advised by Exact.
A technical limitation of Small Business Server is however that it only supports one Microsoft Active Directory. If your IT environment exists of multiple Microsoft Active Directories and data for Exact Globe need to be send across multiple domains, Small Business Server cannot be used. This is not a limitation of Exact Globe, but a limitation of Small Business Server.
An important limitation in terms of service and support is that Microsoft’s guidelines say that products like SQL Server have to be supported by the vendor that sells the license to a customer. An additional option is to purchase support or services directly at Microsoft. Of course there is a lot of self-service support information available on the internet, but when you need expert advice or troubleshooting specifically on your SQL Server software, Exact only provides service and support on SQL Server software that is acquired through Exact. If you decide to purchase the integrated Small Business Server suite, which can’t be obtained through Exact, you will also have to get service and support on your Small Business Server solution at the vendor of your software or directly at Microsoft.
One of the most important reasons for small and medium businesses to consider purchasing Small Business Server is the low price of the suite compared to the total price of purchasing all applications separately. This low price is justified by the limitations that Microsoft has build into Small Business Server. If and how these limitations conflict with your business needs can only be judged by yourself and your IT advisers.
Being an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) of Microsoft, Exact can offer so-called runtime licenses for SQL Server as part of the total Exact solution at a lower price than the standard full-use licensing options offered by the Microsoft dealer channel. Advantage of such a runtime license is its appealing purchase price, a possible disadvantage can be that SQL Server under a runtime license can only be used in conjunction with Exact software. If you want to use SQL Server not only for Exact solutions, but also for other applications, a runtime license cannot be used.
We are happy to send you an offer for SQL Server licenses, so you can make an objective and well-informed choice between the Small Business Server all-in-one suite and the purchase of separate licenses. To check whether or not the limitations of Small Business Server conflict with your business needs, we advise you to contact Microsoft or a certified Microsoft partner.