Microsoft Small Business Server 2000: Win2K Svr review: Microsoft Small Business Server 2000: Win2K Svr

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Ships with the Windows 2000 Server operating system; offers e-mail and collaboration tools; includes detailed documentation.

The Bad Requires in-house technical expertise, training, or outside consulting services to set up and manage; too complex and expensive for businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

The Bottom Line We recommend Small Business Server for companies with more than 50 employees, but you'll have to purchase additional server licenses to do so. Smaller companies should consider rival server suites and outsourcing and open source solutions.

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Microsoft's Small Business Server 2000 (SBS) claims to offer small businesses an easy way to support internal or external networking and business applications. Indeed, it's a good option for larger companies that have access to tech support. But although Microsoft says SBS is ideal for companies with fewer than 50 employees, we found that managing and maintaining the suite required significant technical expertise. Rival client server suites, including Novell and IBM also suffer from the same drawback, but they cost less, making them more economical for small businesses. Newer options, such as outsourcing or open source solutions may require less technical expertise and carry a lower price tag.Microsoft's Small Business Server 2000 (SBS) claims to offer small businesses an easy way to support internal or external networking and business applications. Indeed, it's a good option for larger companies that have access to tech support. But although Microsoft says SBS is ideal for companies with fewer than 50 employees, we found that managing and maintaining the suite required significant technical expertise. Rival client server suites, including Novell and IBM also suffer from the same drawback, but they cost less, making them more economical for small businesses. Newer options, such as outsourcing or open source solutions may require less technical expertise and carry a lower price tag.

What does it do?
These days, if your office has more than one computer, printer, scanner, or Internet connection, you need a network. Why? Say you manage a small medical practice with several physicians, nurses, and receptionists. Each receptionist needs a computer to take appointments and keep patient records. But to avoid duplication and overbooking, the receptionists must share a common database. That's where a small-business server comes in. These software packages not only connect every PC to a common server (and thus to one another), they also allow several computers to share a single printer or Internet connection (for surfing or e-mail). And these things are precisely what SBS aims to do.

To find out how SBS works for small companies of various sizes (a 10-employee office with no technical expert; a 50-employee office with an in-house technical expert; and a 100-person company with either a small IT staff or an outside consultant), we installed SBS three separate times on a 1.5GHz Pentium III with 2GB of RAM and 120GB of drive space. After each simulation, we wiped the server and performed a fresh installation. (Keep in mind that because Microsoft limits the number of items on a single network to 50, you'd have to buy a second server license to set up a 100-person network.) For each test, we set up intranets and Internet connections, deployed software to client PCs, and compared SBS to traditional small-business software rivals, such as IBM and Novell, as well as newer options, such as outsourcing and open source solutions. Read on for the results.

Read more of the review. Is it easy to install a network?

Some portions of the Small Business Server installation prove lengthy, though the overall process is fairly automated.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Microsoft Small Business Server 2000: Win2K Svr

Part Number: E7500008
MSRP: $1,499.00 Low Price: $100.00 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Category Operating Systems
  • Compatibility PC