General discussion

Windows Server 2003 or Small Business Server 2003???

We have a plan to purchase a couple of new servers, Power Edge Series from DELL.
Because we are going to setup a VPN between offices so we should have a server at each location.

I still can not choose the right operating system for our VPN... By the way, one of my friends told me that Windows Server 2003 Standard Editions was the best for our Virtual Private Network. However still I can not forget all about Windows Small Business Server 2003. I am wondering whether OS is best for our VPN!? Please tell us which better!

The number of servers in our small business offices are more than 5. We are going to install Windows 2003 server onto three VPN servers. We are going to install Windows 2000 server onto one domain controller, and one File/Print server at least.
I think..., a single processor should be more than adequate. The number of desktops in our small business offices are 30.

I am thinking of Open License Business.
What do you think about it?

We are going to purchase desktops and notebooks from DELL, too. Windows XP professional have already been installed, haven't they? So we do not need to worry about our 25 new desktops and 5 notebooks..., do we?

Thank you in advance for your time and assistance!


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Dell should be able to discuss this.

With 25 desktops, 5 notebooks, 2 servers and more, I'm surprised that Dell didn't suggest an OS.

Here's my thought. SBS has always been a downsized "push the button" OS. If you ever intend to do VPN, add more than a handful of users then I'd never entertain SBS.

Another glitch I see is that you may expect VPN to be something easy to do. We have not reached the point of OS evolution where we uncrate the box, plug it in and get a cold one in a few hours like a refrigerator. You may be very unhappy to have to take a class, buy a book on 2003 or even get an IT staff.


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SBS is MS Fluff !

I updated a small network - One server over a LAN to 15 users with NT4 and WIN2k. The old one was a NT 4 server and WIN 2003 Server seemed the good/reliable platform. I couldn't easily determine the differences between 2k3 standard & SBS from MS websites, etc. I seems to me that the "added" features were tighter Office type integration of the tools 'for the clients'. The licencing issue was also different. The SBS was involved with a MS website to register it. The standard was provided directly in a document. AND !! SBS was greatly more expensive - for something NO ONE was going to use. We are pleased with the standard setup.

What are your server's purpose ?
You want a VPN portal - doesn't sound like SBS is worth it for you eiter.

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I've installed both. Here's my take.

For a small company that won't have an IT staff, SBS attempts to shield the owners from the raw Server 2003 "stuff we like so much."

SBS was priced competitively against Server (pick a model year) everytime we looked. I disagree it was more. You may have disregarded the price of Exchange Server which you would have to add to Server 200x.

Hope this helps.


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Re: I've installed both. Here's my take.

>SBS was priced competitively against Server (pick a
>model year) everytime we looked. I disagree it was more.

SBS is often less if one has a really small number of PCs. The CALs are higher priced for SBS since they include Exchange Server CALs (and SQL, ISA, etc., depending on version). So there is a crossover.

So, IF the business is not planning to use Exchange, SQL, etc., SBS is generally not a good buy.

- Steve Yates
- ITS, Inc.
- Junk - stuff we throw away. Stuff - junk we keep.

~ Taglines by Taglinator 4 - ~

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SBS without Exchange = Linux?

For most server functions such as file and print services, we can then roll it all the way down to a simple Linux server install.

Cost ?

Just a few brain cells.


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