TechEd session report: Operating Windows Small Business Server 2008 As a MCP IT Pro (MCSE)

Posted by MBrant on June 13 2008, 10:18 PM. Posted in TechEd 2008.

“Operating Windows Small Business Server 2008 As a MCP IT Pro (MCSE)” by Marc Michault, MCT and MCSE (+i, Messaging and Security) for over ten years.This session was one of the very few sessions on Small Business Server (and small business in general) here at TechEd. It is a shame that, in my opinion, great products like SBS get so little attention here on TechEd. Sure .. SBS is covered mostly at meetings like the Worldwide Partner Conference, but it would still be nice have more information at hand for the IT Pros attending TechEd (and may not be able to make the WPC).The speaker, Marc Michault, talked a little bit about setting up SBS2008 but mostly on administering and controlling SBS2008. He started on what’s new and what’s changed in 2008.The biggest change, of course, is the migration from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 as the main platform for SBS. SBS 2008 comprises of:- Windows Server 2008 Standard, x64- Exchange 2007 Standard, SP1- Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 SP1- Windows Server Update Services 3.0 SP1- Forefront Security for Exchange 2007 - Windows Live OneCare for ServerThe premium version also includes SQL Server 2008 and an additional Windows Server 2008 license. This extra server will act as a member server in your SBS domain and can be used to offload the SQL server off of your main SBS. Note that ISA server isn’t included. No matter what version, Microsoft killed off ISA for SBS.Marc laughed at the fact that Windows Live OneCare for Server is included as it is, in his opinion, a consumer-based brand and doesn’t belong on servers. Also noted that the OneCare and Forefront solutions are just 120 day trials included.When it comes to networking setup, things have changed a bit. SBS2008 will no longer be your main gateway in the network. SBS will however still hand out your DHCP offers and serve stuff like AD and DNS obviously. However you do need a router with DHCP turned off that will act as an internet gateway. You no longer need two NICs and again you don’t have ISA anymore in the prem. version.They revamped nearly all the wizard in 2008. The connect to the internet wizard this time actually works perfectly, so they say, and is easier to use. The wizard autodetects your router and networking details and tries to reconfigure your router automatically through the use of uPnP (if available).Microsoft also considered the external network as a factor with SBS 2008. When you launch the set-up your internet address wizard, it’ll ask you if you already have a domain name or if you want to register one through special SBS registrar partners. When setting up the domain through a partner, they will auto setup all the DNS settings needed for SBS 2008. The wizard also auto-generates certificates and tries to open up ports on the router with uPnP. Marc tried to demo it .. crash :)Connecting client computers to the SBS server is just as easy as in 2003. Just go to http://Connect/ and the client will auto connect to the SBS server, join the domain and become part of the network. Vista clients get an Sidebar gadget (unsure on what that is tough) and you get the usual stuff like roaming profiles. Also this time the login of users on the clients is no longer scripted. Everything is done via GPOs!Most of the admin interface has been revamped. It kinda looks like Home Server now. In the new interface you’ll find the usual stuff plus some new revamped UIs. Backup UI has been improved greatly and works better this time around.Marc went on how you aren’t really limited as to what you can do with the server. You can even run stuff like Hyper-V. It isn’t officially supported but nether stopped you in the past has it.Unfortunally the session was cut a bit short so not all subjects in the PPTX were presented and demoed live. Later on during the little offstage Q&A session about 10 people stayed behind and we talked about new features, why certain features were missing and how 2008 had improved. Again … be sure to check out the PPTX at source!Special editor update: There have been some questions on how SA will work for current SBS users that rely on ISA server. Big thanks to techonq.com on clearing this up. Check out the comments and trackbacks on this article to get to the correct sources. Conclusion: If you have SA for SBS2k3 Prem (which includes ISA server), you'll be eligible to upgrade ISA to Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG), the next version of ISA, at no extra cost!