Thursday, July 28, 2005

All Signed Up for SMB Nation

Well got my airline flight for SMB Nation today. I'll be flying in Thursday afternoon and departing on the red eye Monday night. I'm looking forward to recharging my business batteries with some new ideas to help our clients. As always seeing some of the nice people in the SBS communities is a plus as well.

It appears the content continues to be upgraded by Harry Brelsford and co. and the conference has 3 simultaneous tracks that will make it very hard indeed to figure out which one to go to.

If you read my blog and are going please let me know as I'd love to meet you and see what you do with SBS and SMB technology. Definitely in this small business segment being able to share ideas with those we don't compete directly against is a major plus for all of us. I'm the slightly overweight geek that will be wearing the Navy & White Striped TAZ Networks Polo.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Small Business Specialist

Well after some ironing out of some test results and associated individuals with Microsoft, TAZ Networks is happy to announce that we are now an official Small Business Specialist. Microsoft in the past year or two has seen the tremendous amount of direction behind Small Business and has really picked up the pace to help out those consultants and resellers that focus on small business and are small businesses themselves. We know all the kinks aren't ironed out but this definitely is a step in the right direction.

What is a Small Business Specialist? It's a business or Microsoft Partner that has demonstrated an ability to use Small Business Server effectively. This is measured by a certification test and a sales assessment as well. We are glad to wear this badge and hope it brings even more benefits to our valued customers and clients.

Monday, July 18, 2005

July Meeting of Michigan Small Business Server User Group

Well we had a real nice meeting of the Michigan Small Business Server User Group last Wed night and thought I'd recap on the blog. About 30 people in attendance, which we were happy to see in the height of summer vacation.

We had a great discussion on Internet Security by Interlink Networks. Their product Lucidlink is a great little way to get secure Radius authenticated wireless in your small business network. It's a pretty simple point and click and can be used to verify users in a matter of seconds. It works on 2000 and XP clients and they appear to now have a Pocket PC beta going on. The nicest thing...for 3 wireless users and less the product is FREE. Download it today and check it out. If you're a micro office that uses wireless this is a great way to get highly secure Radius authentication without all the setup mess.

Other discussions focused on the new Small Business Specialist program which drew mixed reviews but overall hopefully will be a step in the right direction for small consultants. Also a nice discussion of backups and backup types was discussed as we seem to touch on this and disaster recovery each month.

Next month Microsoft is renovating the office so we won't have a mtg but we'll be back with a vengeance in September after SMB Nation on the 14th at 6:30. Same Place Same Time. Great to see as well as many as 8 possibly going to SMB Nation from our group. They won't be disappointed!

External Domain problems with SBS Premium

Just something to keep in mind if you're using SBS Premium. Most clients want to see their web page when they type in into their web browser. Depending on your Active Directory setup you may not get what the outside world sees because of the internal DNS resolution.

Remember to create another forward-lookup zone in the DNS admin and then put in a host (A) record of www with the IP address of the external web page.

One thing that we recently ran into is what happens when that external IP changes? Well usually just a simple DNS change will make it right. However if you don't see it appear immediately on the server don't be alarmed. With SBS 2003 Premium edition running ISA Server remember that we are using a Proxy server. It'll take some time to update that Proxy server by default so change the IP and then come back tomorrow if you like. You'll see the updated external web page and so should your workstations.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Citrix Access Essentials for SMB's

I didn't comment on it previously but it now appears that Citrix is jumping on the SBS bandwagon. Any why wouldn't they? Citrix, Microsoft Unveil Access Version For SMBs

We've done Citrix for a while and I even went to the Citrix Partner conference in Orlando this year (renting out MGM Studios for the party was a highlight!) so I'm pretty up to date with Citrix. I've long been certified as a Citrix Enterprise Engineer but that name in itself describes Citrix's usual suspects...the Enterprise space. Or at least for us the mid market space (50 PC's and up).

I'll be interested to see how this is accepted in the SMB Space. It's hard to beat the features that SBS has in it already, however the one thing that I believe Citrix has done better than just about any Microsoft Partner out there is consistently provide better features before Microsoft incorporates those into the base Server products.

I'll definitely take a look when it comes out. If you've seen it or used it let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Microsoft Previews Next Release of Customer Relationship Management Solution at Worldwide Partner Conference

Have you thought about a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution? If you've got SBS 2003 Premium edition you might not be too far away. Microsoft is previewing the Next Release of Customer Relationship Management Solution at the Worldwide Partner Conference.

CRM has been a big buzzword but it's adoption among SMB's has been fairly slow due to either price, feature set or just plain ignorance of what it can do for customers. Microsoft appears out to change that. I'll be taking a look at MS CRM 3.0 and hopefully especially for our SBS customers it's got the goods that was sorely lacking in the 1.2 version edition.