I’m a huge fan of Microsoft’s integrated server products — Small Business Server and the new kid on the block, Essential Business Server. They provide an incredibly robust and reliable IT core for any organisation — especially because the in-built monitoring and altering lets you know about potential issues that require your attention. And the integrated products in EBS for email security and network-edge security simplify your network’s configuration, and its cost.
If you are considering migrating or upgrading to EBS (and I’d consider it even if you have an existing multi-server infrastructure,) there have been a number of wizards and white papers released recently which may be of interest. They are:
The Preparation and Planning Wizards help you prepare your environment and plan for deployment of Windows EBS by scanning your network environment and identifying issues that you need to correct to be able to deploy Windows EBS.
Windows Essential Business Server Preparation and Planning Guide
This document explains how to prepare and plan for a deployment of Windows EBS into your existing networking environment. This document includes information on how to install and run the Windows Essential Business Server Preparation Wizard and the Windows Essential Business Server Planning Wizard, and it provides planning guidance.
Monitoring Windows Essential Business Server
This document provides guidance to help you monitor your Windows Essential Business Server network by using the Windows EBS Administration Console and by using the monitoring capabilities of Microsoft System Center Essentials 2007.
This last one is, to me, the most interesting and important. Servers do need monitoring and care, but those are tasks that are easily ignored in small businesses with perhaps no dedicated IT staff. Having the server do the grunt work for you itself is very useful indeed –— and the main reason I would definitely recommend that EBS is considered carefully for any core infrastructure refresh or renewal in a small company.