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Once upon a time, I was an infrastructure man and I spent some time in the trenches supporting Small Business Server (SBS) for small businesses in the Columbus area. I can remember wrestling with the SBS administration consoles and feeling like the interface was making tasks harder even though the purpose was to make tasks easier. The cause was probably that I also spent plenty of time supporting enterprise networks on full versions of Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 and knew exactly how to accomplish those tasks using the advanced tools.

You might think that you could simply use the advanced tools on SBS and be done with it. And for some purposed you could. However, I would consistently run into scenarios where I used the advanced tool to accomplish something, but then found that I broke the SBS console or placed it out of sync with the rest of the system. To be honest, I don't remember all the details - I just remember the bad experiences.

So it was with much reluctance that I chose SBS 2003 as the operating system on a recent server purchase that I made. However, I've been working with the server for a couple days now and I am very surprised. The Server Management console is much improved. They've really done a great job of providing wizards and easy-to-use interfaces while not disabling or even hiding the advanced tools. Upon installation I have easy access to my email through Outlook 2003, Outlook Web Access and Mobile Access! I was able to modify recipient policies using the advanced tools in Exchange without breaking the User creation wizard in SBS Server Management.

The installation also created a Windows Sharepoint Services site for me and setup all of the remote access and security policies need to get to my information from the road.

This is a great tool that I can now recommend to people with confidence.

Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2005 3:50 PM | Back to top

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