Recently, Microsoft announced that Small Business Server 2011 would be the final release of that product. Wow! I’ve supported Small Business Server (SBS) since it was called BackOffice, version 4.5 as I recall. Back then, it was an awkward, kludgy product. A few releases later SBS 2003 came out and was likely one of their best. In fact, an MS employee in a presentation said (paraphrasing as I can’t remember exact quote/location), “Those SBS 2003 boxes are just about nailed to the floor, we can’t kick them to the curb for anything.”
Certainly, there are good reasons for sunsetting. Microsoft server OS’s and applications get bigger, requiring more CPU, drive spindles, and RAM to support. The counter to this is that hardware also grows thus handling the increased demands.
Server grade applications also get harder to keep happily living together on the same box. Some of the toughest installs I support are SBS. With larger server farms you are able to segregate server roles, making administration easier. The natural response to this is with enough RAM and a virtualization product server apps can be placed in their own VM’s.
Cloud computing solutions are Microsoft’s suggested upgrade path from SBS. I’m looking forward to seeing how things shake out. Many of the businesses I support aren’t excited about the monthly outlay required to move their key applications and business processes to the cloud. It takes time for paradigms and mindsets to change, maybe we’re watching something already in motion.
I will say, in conclusion, I’m sad to see such a great product reach the end of it’s life.