Friday, May 28, 2004

Win for the Good Guys

Yahoo! News - Spammer Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison

Nice to see that Earthlink went on the offensive and got a spammer. It sure would be nice to start to see the fruits of this by seeing less spam and faster Internet speeds with all of the spam out there.

cathe talks about SBS SP releases

Random Musings on SBS - patches, SPs and the like

Nice blog from C. Anthe from the Microsoft SBS team on what you should do with Exchange SP1 and the release of SBS SP1. Looks like we'll have to wait a while to get it as Server 2003 SP1 is needed first.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Bootable Windows CD for Admins

Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD

There's a lot of bootable CD/DVD's out there for maintenance that are either built on DOS or Linux. Well this is one of the first I've seen built on the PE edition of Windows. Bart's been helping sysadmin's for years with his bootable CD's and floppies. I think I'll take this for a whirl and see how it goes.

2 Year Schedule for some SBS products

Microsoft To Step Up Server Product Release Schedule

Well if Software Assurance wasn't becoming more important and if you aren't asking yourself "Should I look at it" you may want to take a look at this article from Mary Jo. Exchange and SQL (both in SBS and SBS Premium) will get updates sooner and more frequent.

Well that's great, as long as in place upgrades work just fine and they don't ruin the great momentum we have right now with SBS 2003.

I still say that Microsoft is pushing this schedule to give more value to SA and go to more of a "subscription" based mechanism for their products...but who am I?

Update for Exchange 5.5

Download details: Update Rollup for Exchange 5.5 (KB841765)

Yeah yeah I know, update to SBS 2003 and don't worry about it, but there are some shops (a lot in fact) still running Exchange 5.5. Man it just works and some are skeptical to upgrade. Well if you're one of them, make sure you get this update rollup.

Want 6 TB's of Info Now?

Dell, EMC Target SMBs with Low-Cost SAN Device

Well OK you can't get it TODAY but wait until early next year and this new SAN will have it for you with 12 Serial ATA Drives. EMC is a big player and by going to the SMB space it definitely shows that this market is heating up. The Dell/EMC SAN by the way has been consistently rated #1 in the SAN market for a while now.

It'll be nice to walk into a client and have them say, is that a VCR in your pocket?....nope it's your SAN.

Wanna see XP SP2 but haven't installed it yet?

ZDNet and David Berlind talk to Microsoft about SP2 and get a preview of it.  David gives some nice questions that will obviously get Microsoft thinking.  Overall though the security features alone should help all of us play a little nicer on the Internet.

http://zdnet.com.com/1606-2-5221140.html 

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

ISA 2004 and SBS 2003

Derek Brown, the Director of Product Management for Microsoft was kind enough to post to the smallbizit Yahoo group about the integration of ISA 2004 and SBS. It certainly appears that there might be a cost to update to ISA 2004 with the included SP1 for SBS. That may not be all bad from what I hear about the new features and all. Below is the Q&A he posted:

Q: Can I obtain ISA 2004 as soon as it's shipping and install it on
SBS 2003?

A: Yes you can buy an additional ISA 2004 license, however because ISA
is integrated (either ISA 2000 or ISA 2004) into the SBS 2003s setup and management tools (Configure Email and Internet Connection Wizard, plus
others) changes to those wizards are required to take full advantage of ISA 2004. These updated wizards will ship as part of SBS 2003 SP1. For SBS 2003 premium edition customers, we are not offering an upgrade to ISA 2004 outside of the SBS 2003 SP1. Note that ISA 2004 will continue to be in the premium edition only.



Q: When will SBS 2003 SP1 ship?

A: SBS 2003 SP1 is planned to ship shortly after Windows Server 2003
SP1, and will include all of the service packs for the SBS server components (Exchange, Outlook, SharePoint, and Windows XP) and ISA 2004 in the premium edition only. Windows Server 2003 SP1 is planned to ship at the end of 2004. Customers and partners should check the SBS download page at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/sbs/downloads/default.mspx
for the most recent status of updates, component service packs, and critical fixes for SBS. This page always will have the latest set of updates & fixes that should be applied and will include server component updates (Exchange, XP, Outlook & etc).



Q: Will SBS 2003 SP1 including ISA 2004 be made available free to
existing premium edition customers?

A: Pricing, and packaging for SBS 2003 SP1 has not been announced.
Individual service packs to SBS 2003 components (Exchange, Outlook, SharePoint, and Windows XP) will be available for download free of charge, also these service packs can be installed directly on SBS 2003 without waiting for SBS 2003 SP1. More details will be available later this year as the ship date for SBS 2003 SP1 comes closer. Customers and partners should check the SBS download page at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/sbs/downloads/default.mspx
for the most recent status of updates, component service packs, and critical fixes for SBS. This page always will have the latest set of updates & fixes that should be applied and will include server component updates (Exchange, XP, Outlook & etc).



Q: How do I obtain ISA 2004 before SBS 2003 SP1 ships?

A: To obtain ISA 2004 before SBS 2003 SP1 ships, customers will need to purchase a separate ISA 2004 license. We strongly suggest that SBS 2003 customers wait until the details of SBS 2003 SP1 have been announced later this year. Today we have not announced timing, pricing, and delivery for SBS 2003 SP1, which is not due until the end of this calendar year.



Q: Will ISA 2004 run without breaking SBS 2003?

A: Upgrading SBS 2003 premium edition by installing ISA 2004 server over the top of the ISA 2000 component will work as expected, however this upgrade will disable the SBS networking wizards (Configure-email-and-internet-connection wizard, Configure-remote-access wizard, Change-server-IP-address wizard, and others). Our customers tell us that these SBS simplicity wizards add significant value, and that they would not be interested in upgrading immediately to ISA 2004 without these wizards.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Microsoft CRM to Benefit from New Office Bridge

Microsoft CRM to Benefit from New Office Bridge

Well I'm not much of a developer so I wasn't interested too much in the TechEd conference that Microsoft has (for developers) but now knowing this new framework will allow a stronger influence between CRM and Office products is pretty cool. If you haven't checked out CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software and deal with sales then take a look. It's definitely got a lot of potentional to help your bottom line...even that of the SMB.

CRN gives the ML110 and SBS 5 Stars!

Infrastructure | HP Server Bundle Offers SMB Value, Room To Grow | Small Biz Pipeline

Well, this is what is getting everybody excited about SBS 2003. With standard edition and a nice entry SMB server you can get into the market of networking for only about $1675. Man what a difference a decade makes....think you could get Novell 3.11 for that much??

The only problem with the ML110 is that you can only get 1 processor but really it's not designed for anything more than 1 processor.

This means that for about $4000 you can have a complete 5 user SBS 2003 office setup with hardware, software, and installation included. Pretty cool pricing point!

The only thing that SMB's will want to add is anti-virus and of course as you know I recommend Trend Micro's C/S/M edition for SMB's. Awesome product for the price (about $350) that includes anti spamming as well.

Making SBS even better with Handhelds...

Dell Handhelds

OK I gotta say I'm chomping at the bit to get a New Axim X30. With integrated wireless and bluetooth and a new 624 mhz processor, youch! The Windows Mobile experience is getting better everyday and now with SBS to go into a local coffee shop and sit and relax for 2 minutes while getting my email is really cool. Also just for quick and dirty email the Exchange 2003 Outlook Mobile Access (OMA) is great. I've got several clients that are using it already and even with Palm devices.

One thing I gotta say about Dell is the price is right. For $349 to get all the above seems to me like a good deal. Although I may wait a little bit to see if the problems they had with their initial Axim show up here as well....

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Update to the POP3 Connector for SBS 2003

Download details: Update for Windows Small Business Server 2003: KB 835734

If you follow the other blogs you probably have heard about this already (I seem to be running behind this week...ask me later why) but I thought I'd post just in case you haven't.

I like where it says that all SBS customers are encouraged to install the update. This is the sort of thing I would love to see in Software Update Services 2.0.

Storage Vendors Woo SMBs

Storage Vendors Woo SMBs

Have a need for storage? This is probably more for the "M" part of SMB but really when you think about it even the "S" is seeing storage needs now as well. Think about a doctor or accountant that would like to start storing all docs on the server. Then NAS becomes a very important item.

I'm particularly interested in this article since the Exchange Store could now be moved to a NAS device. What will this mean for the future? Well it sure would be nice to move a 10GB Exchange Store off of a cramped SBS box and onto a new NAS box in the future if I so choose. Flexibility is always nice!

Friday, May 21, 2004

Gates Pushes 'Power to the People' Message

Gates Pushes 'Power to the People' Message

Well Bill Gates is catching on to the blog and RSS scene. If you're reading this post then you are too. But if it works for CEO's then why not for the CEO of the SMB or the small business owner? If you want a leg up on your competition then let everyone know about you from the personal side via a blog or RSS when you feel like writing. I know that for myself this blog has quickly become the biggest hit counter on my website.

If Bill is saying this now.....well you get the idea, I would imagine that the next round of products will no doubt have a lot of blogging and RSS features built right into them.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

SMB Nation - Harry Brelsford

Just have to give another plug for my SBS compadre' Harry Brelsford. He's one of the foremost SBS'ers and has written several books on SBS 2003. These books are definitely a great way to get into SBS and learn the ins and outs for the first timer.

Harry did a SBS Summit yesterday in Detroit and so he just naturally comes to mind.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Microsoft Unveils Upcoming Small Business Server, Storage Server Updates

Software | Microsoft Unveils Upcoming Small Business Server, Storage Server Updates | Small Biz Pipeline

If you were skeptical of my previous posting (yeah I'd question myself as well) about an SBS update on Windows Server R2 then take a look at this link. It appears that this will confirm the update that is coming out.

SA: Pro vs Con

Well it appears the age old dilemma of Software Assurance and Microsoft Licensing continues. Microsoft has a new .pdf for SA at Download details: Microsoft Licensing: More for the Money

but....
CRN reports that SMB's are having a hard time justifying at
Survey Slams Microsoft SA

Well with the recently announced update to SBS coming in late 2005 to me if you can afford to go with SA at this time, do it. For right now it appears to be a no brainer but maybe I need to be convinced otherwise. I think of course with other products that it would need to be on a case by case basis.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Small Business Server 2005 (Cougar)

Well it's official it appears...
 
SBS 2005 is a product and it's target date is Q3 of 2005.  I had a preview of that and Longhorn today from a Microsoft technical specialist.  Here's some information regarding "Cougar"
 
Will be released with Windows 2003 Server R2 included.  R2 is a Server refresh that will be released in late 04.
 
It will not include any "Longhorn" architecture.
 
Highlights include:
        New Management Home page that replaces a MMC-like console.  In the demo we saw a network map with computers, firewall, and server was included right on this page for quick reference.
        The new management page includes such quick info as your firewall is enabled and working and remote access is up and running properly. 
        It'll be a dynamic page that updates according to the items done on the server recently.  It will provide up to date relevant information on your network.
        Automatic Patch Management is included.  This will include the SUS 2.0 (or now called WUS, yeah I know!!) component that will feature push technology and other group patching mechanisms.
        A search feature for Sharepoint will be included in the standard edition.  This is only available in the Premium edition currently.
        Advanced Monitoring.  There will be "traffic lights" that are red, yellow, and green and allow even a novice to monitor network components quickly and efficiently.  There will also be data that is context related with the monitoring where a user can go for more information or to answer questions that one would have.
 
 
So what's my take?   Sounds like Microsoft is taking SBS seriously with a "quick refresh" that will incorporate some very nice things.  SBS 2003 has had great success and is currently selling at a 208% increase over SBS 2000.  With improved features Microsoft no doubt sees this as a "cash cow".
 
I think it will also greatly enhance the desire to purchase software assurance (SA) for SBS 2003 installs knowing that a future release is coming in 2 years from now and you'll get it with SA.
 
As I hear more I'll let you know....
 
 
 

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Microsoft reward snags suspected Sasser author

Looks like Microsoft's deep pockets are helping get worm writers picked up quicker.  Hopefully this will help deter future writers of bad code.  OK maybe it won't but at least somebody's $5 mil richer!

Microsoft reward snags suspected Sasser author

Microsoft's $5 million fund for rewarding informants for leads on virus attacks played a key role in the arrest of the suspected author of the Sasser worm.

Source: http://techrepublic.com.com/5100-6265_11-5209021.html?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=tr

An alternative to Microsoft Office?

Software | IBM Launches Alternative To Microsoft Office | Small Biz Pipeline

This seems to be getting a lot of publicity in the IT field right now and I'm thinking that with SMB's cost conscious mindframe this may be where it starts and grows from there. $2 a month isn't a huge investment but getting a Webspere server is. Are you ready to think about an alternative to Microsoft Office?

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Sasser got you down?

Download details: Slowing and Stopping E-Mail Viruses in Exchange 2003

Take a look at this doc and see if you can protect your Exchange 2003 Server in a better way. Definitely fortifying the email servers in your environment is something that should be done but often isn't.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

New Version of Windows SBS Due Out Next Year

New Version of Windows SBS Due Out Next Year

Well this is interesting...Mary Jo Foley says a new version of SBS but I had heard just a service pack release. Well this should be interesting to see if they include new items in this interim SBS release such as the forthcoming ISA Server 2004. That's why Microsoft's Software Assurance (SA) sometimes isn't such a bad deal. You know you're covered no matter what.

What is the difference between Exchange 2003 and the Exchange 2003 installed with Small Business Server 2003?

What is the difference between Exchange 2003 and the Exchange 2003 installed with Small Business Server 2003?

Did you ever wonder if Exchange 2003 in SBS is really the real deal? Well according to the Exchange team it's 99% the real deal. I have to agree. That's what makes SBS 2003 a no brainer for small businesses...the cost and feature set. You get so much for so little and they keep giving us more free stuff all the time. I have to attest to the features of Exchange in SBS as well. They all seem to be there and you get the POP3 connector as well which isn't something in normal Exchange.

As a side bar, go ahead and subscribe to the Exchange XML feed. It's great to get feedback right from the developers and PM at Microsoft. Thanks to KC, Gwen and all the others for this great contact.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

WORM_SASSER.B - Description and solution

WORM_SASSER.B - Description and solution

Our discussion yesterday of AV is pretty timely now. Sasser is really going crazy today. Already I've had several calls informing me that clients have gotten the virus and actually had serious problems. Follow the link above and get that AV updated ASAP!

Monday, May 03, 2004

Please tell John to get AV

Well I'm just gonna stand on my pulpit today and preach...about AntiVirus and Spam solutions. Please keep these up to date. In the last several weeks we've had several clients come up to us and say "Hey my computer is running really slow...what's the deal??" "Is it something you did?". Nope it isn't. It's what you haven't done...keep your AV software up to date.

I had one client that we'll call John (names changed to protect the stupid) who wrote 3 pages of stuff on what his computer was doing and gave it to me. He gave me a listing and said I keep getting this **** box that says "EasyAV caused a GPF". Well let's see if you have any AV software...nope, nadda, nip, netya, nothing. EasyAV by the way is a nasty virus that was stopping his cursor and slowing everything down. How John did any work at all is beyond me.

So what do I recommend? Trend Micro's Client/Server/ Messaging Suite for SMB I think it's the cat meow with SBS 2003.

Are you running SBS and need a virus and spam filter as well? Trend does it all. It's great, downloads to the clients easily and just makes life a whole lot simpler. Go get it and don't worry John finally gave in and ordered last week as well. I guess I'll have to find something else to complain to John about now...

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Download details: Infrastructure Solutions for Small and Medium Businesses

Download details: Infrastructure Solutions for Small and Medium Businesses

Wondering if your setup is inline with what Microsoft is thinking? Take a look at these docs for everything from your peer to peer network to a larger SMB practice. I've looked at the Small IT Solution previously, it was pretty much on track with only a couple of things that I do differently. Overally, very informative for every size shop!