Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Microsoft SBS & CRM Promotion Ending Tomorrow

Just in case you have any lingering thoughts of CRM and SBS you better hurry to take advantage of the special promotion listed here. Over 70% off is a great deal to promote CRM. CRM is an up and coming product and hopefully one that if you are sales you will see the definite upside of.

One glaring problem with this offer though is that it's only the Standard edition which limits some of the functionality and has no Great Plains integration. Sure seems this would be great to continue if they wanted to push the Business Solutions side more.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

If you want new features then you upgrade.

Interesting article at eWeek regarding Microsoft not putting the XP SP2 features in 2000. Well no duh. To me it just makes sense. If you want new features then naturally you upgrade to the newest version.

Sure I'd love to have only 500 miles on my '01 Protege but I can't. So I'll have to upgrade to the '04 version to get it with all the extra items thrown in.

The technology world is crazy sometimes. It just doesn't make sense sometimes when Microsoft gets bad press for not upgrading an old technology that people should be trying to get off of not stay on. Hey I don't work for Microsoft but it's the only business I see that people would even try to get new features in an old version.

Oh well...let me take my Protege out for a drive backwards...maybe the miles will go away if I do that.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

NTBackup and Exchange

Man I love the Exchange Blog. Congrats to the team for a great way to communicate real issues to us out in the field. Check out today's blog on backup and Exchange.

I've had quite a few clients recently that always want to buy Backup Exec or Brightstor or some other weird 3rd party backup app because that's been the routine for soooo long. Buy a server, buy a tape drive, buy the tape software, proceed. Well with Windows Server 2003 and SBS 2003 that pretty much changed, although a lot of people aren't familiar with that yet. NTBackup included in SBS 2003 is rock solid and what I use in house. Why, well as you see in the article, if Microsoft uses it for their Exchange Servers why can't I?

I'm sorry but when SBS standard costs $599 and then you come along with Backup Exec for $499 or whatever it is, that just does not make sense. Why would I torture my SMB clients to that? For individual mailbox restore? Well you still can do it with documented Microsoft KB's. Check this KB out on restoring mailboxes. The Recovery Storage feature in Exchange 2003 is cool.

I usually just up the deleted item retention time frame to something like 60 days which is just fine for all the SMB clients I have. Remember this is where SBS 2003 is cool again. Just running through the backup wizard asks you for this information. By default I believe it's 30 days, just go to something a little higher.

My advice, use NTBackup and forget it.

Monday, June 21, 2004

New SBS Video hits Linux

Just noticed that on the SBS web site a new video is now being shown. The California Nut Company uses SBS effectively.

Their provider was thinking Linux but because of the needs decided to go with SBS 2003. That's a pretty strong thing. It's one thing for customers to be dead set on Linux but when a partner changes mid stream to go with another product, it sets a pretty powerful message about implementation and support after the fact.

Not to mention it's a pretty decent video...

Friday, June 18, 2004

Enjoying mobile benefits of Exchange 2003 - even in India

This is a very interesting article that I think very nicely summarizes the new features found in Exchange 2003.

One big feature that I've been getting into more of late is the mobile aspect of Exchange 2003. You sure can't beat it. Look for more Windows smartphones to come out soon with the built in ability to sync directly to your Exchange Server right out of the box. To me you just can't beat that type of mobility.

Oh and remember that Small Business Server 2003 comes out of the box with all of this included.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2 Now Available at Microsoft

If you're interested in getting your hands on the latest Release Canidate for Windows XP SP2 you can get it here from Microsoft.

I'll be downloading it soon myself. Let me know what your feedback is on it and I'll try and post soon what I like and don't like about it as well.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Is Your Partner Microsoft Aware?

One thing that often frustrates me when I go out and talk to small business owners who are currently using other solution providers is that these providers are not "Microsoft Aware".

I know that I've gone the extra mile to make sure I have a good relationship with my Microsoft representative, who I must say, is very responsive and a great guy to deal with. Why would I do this when I see so many other partners and providers not doing it and when I don't make any money off of it? Because it's good for my customers.

I have the ability to pick up a phone and contact about a dozen Microsoft people that I've made contact with in the past year and know as real living breathing people not as the "big bad monopoly". These are great people who are trying to understand the harsh reality of small business. And it's interesting in all the Microsoft Partner meetings and events I've been to I've never seen any of my biggest competition in the immediate area I'm from and only once or twice seen a couple of others.

It also allows me to keep a pulse on what Microsoft does. eWeek has a nice article on Microsoft Keeps its Eye on Small Business. So when I read these things I can go right back and ask my rep what his take is and where I should be providing direction for my company.

So wherever you're located ask yourself, is my technology partner "Microsoft Aware"? And if you are a partner, can you reach out to Microsoft a little more, I know it'll benefit you and your customers in the end.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Microsoft Going Against Spammers Again

When Bill Gates came out and said that Spam will be eradicated in a couple of years you knew that it wouldn't take too long for Redmond to put it in gear and start going not only after technology that stops spammers but also the giant's $$$ as well. Yahoo! reports that Microsoft has filed 8 new lawsuits against spammers.

Isn't it amazing how a giant company still can turn around on a dime when it's chief guy talks about stuff. "Microsoft is secure" and everything stops for several months to get secure. "Microsoft will stop spam" and $$$ and technology such as Exchange's Intelligent Messaging Filter comes out shortly thereafter.

Personally, I'm still waiting for the "Microsoft Licensing is not hard to figure out" speech and the "Microsoft Office 2003/XP is indeed necessary" speech so that $$$ for marketing and technology is focused on these things.

Reminds you of the US commercial a few years ago about "when we talk, people listen". Well when Bill Gates speaks, Microsoft employees are definitely listening now and for the forseeable future.

New Windows XP Rebate promotion

If you're currently having problems with your current computer the first thing you might have to ask yourself is what operating system am I running?

There are more Windows 95 and 98 and even (gasp) ME machines out in the SMB marketplace than I care to admit. One of the first responses I have is when are you going to upgrade and can you do it soon? Well of course the response is how much will it cost me? Microsoft now is hoping you will upgrade before the end of the year with the
Windows XP Deployment Rebate promotion.

This is a nice idea. Give me back some money for making my desktop 10X more reliable and way more secure. I have to say that I run Windows XP and it sure is a lot better than any other OS I've run.

Now the SMB won't get $15000 back but if you've got 50 desktops you'll get back $4000 which is probably 40 hrs for the typical consultant. That's pretty cool. You can get XP and have it mostly installed with the money you get back. Even a 5 person shop gets $400 back which is better than nothing and might even allow you to take the jump to Windows XP.

As a Microsoft partner I've been clamoring for something that will move people to XP, for me there is nothing better than $$$ to do that.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

"Cold" Server Backup Brief

We have mentioned it before but now when you purchase Software Assurance with Microsoft Server licenses (including SBS 2003) you get "Cold" Server backup rights. This brief details the differences between cold, warm, and hot backups.

To me this seems to be more of an Enterprise right. Not to many Small Businesses out there that can afford to have a secondary server just sitting in a closet turned off ready to go at a moment's notice. The only problem...it won't be a moment's notice. If you read the brief you have the right to several times a year backup your server and then turn it off. It would be more like a 4-8 hour recovery if a full backup had to be restored on top of the cold server. Nice "feature" in SA but for the typical SMB probably too much overhead unless you're on the top end of the scale.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Update to CRM Implementation guide for SBS 2003

Are you ready to implement Microsoft CRM on SBS 2003? Then take a look at the Microsoft CRM version 1.2 Implementation Guide update. Chapter 15 has been specifically updated for SBS 2003.

I'll be looking it over myself for a seminar we've got coming up on CRM and SBS.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Inc.com article on SBS and SMB market

Microsoft is spending a lot of R&D $$$ on making sure that SMB's are properly cared for. This interesting article from Inc.com gives some of the insight into what is being done and why.

Linux still is being talked about and for good reason, especially with such companies as Novell and IBM putting time and $$ behind it. I do have a problem with what the guy from Satellite Records says about Microsoft being like a Chevy Impala. To me it's more like a comparison between a Honda and a Lexus or Mercedes (yeah I know I live near Detroit). Sure you can go with Linux but for not so much more you get a lot more out of the box with SBS 2003 like the Remote Web Workplace and Exchange and Exchange Mobility Access and Web Access and Sharepoint and etc...plus that Mercedes can be maintained at any used car place because it's so well known. Linux is like a Honda that's souped up on steroids and can only be worked on at specialty shops.

Don't get me wrong Linux is great for certain applications such as web servers, file servers, etc. But man does SBS have a lot out of the box and compared to the stand alone products is a Microsoft steal!

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

eWeek article on value of Microsoft anti-spam

Is Anti-Spam Microsoft's Next Target Industry?

David Coursey of eWeek talks about the IMF (Intelligent Messaging Filter) recently announced for Exchange Server and its affect on competition.

My take...there are some great 3rd party items out there that have made millions off of Microsoft and there products by just simply improving them. If you build the best people will notice. David mentions iHateSpam which is probably one of the best SMB products for spam. If Sunbelt does it's job it'll continue to stay out in front.

Citrix is another example. Citrix continues to build solid remote access solutions even though Microsoft continues to improve its Terminal Server/Services in every edition of Server it puts out. They have a niche, they do it the best, and they are profiting from it.

OK, that being said let me run off and test out the IMF.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Is Your Wireless Network secure?

Yahoo! News - Many Wireless Networks Lack Security

Interesting article, yet again on "wardriving" or seeing how many open wireless access points are out there. I do have to agree that until the coordination of wireless access point and wireless access card is made easier you're going to have more and more points out there that are unsecured. You shouldn't have to enter in 26 hexadecimals characters...sheesh Americans can't even use the Metric system let alone try this.

So the manufacturers have to bear some responsibility. Hopefully they will...as we move forward.