Whither Windows Servers in SMEs?

At the end of June Microsoft dropped the Small Business Server range.

This will have an impact on new SME businesses where that was the ideal choice if they wanted to host their own services, Now¬† they have to look at buying the Full server packages and Exchange, with all the Client Access Licences, and possibly SQL server as well, if they are hosting line of business applications. Of course, as more services are being hosted ‘in the Cloud’ they may not be needing such a heavy duty server/domain environment. I have clients whose LoB applications offer local SQL or Cloud hosted options and some are also migrating their domains to Office365, or similar, for email, but there are those for whom these options are not reasonable. In some cases Data Protection issues are raised, whether real or not, about data being hosted off-shore. In most cases, however, the migrations have been relatively painless.

For some smaller businesses where the enforcement of rules and procedures by Domain Policies are not required, then a Cloud solution for many services could be the answer. The main data stores remain an issue as most people like these to be local. Here Network Attached Storage, now cheaper and more sophisticated than ever, is playing a larger role than ever. Automated cloud backup, for example to Amazon’s S3 service, is possible and meets most needs.

So we return to the topic’s title. For SMEs of 25 or fewer, is a Windows server a justifiable expense any longer? In the short term, possibly. Some people are feeiling that Cloud services need more maturity and, in the light of recent news stories, a more open and detailed security and confidentiality strategy. When these are in place, then, indeed, there may be little place for Windows Servers at this level.

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