I’ve felt for a long time now that Microsoft has not presented SBS properly to IT Professionals… while they did finally release a paper directed to IT Pros, (http://sbsurl.com/itpro) it was not as technical as you or I would have liked to have seen.
If you read this paper, however, you’ll see an example of what I mean in the statement: "so if you use the snap-ins instead of the wizards, you might actually break some Windows SBS functionality".
I think that part of the problem with Microsoft documenting this is that while SBS does have all these interdependencies, the parts all came from different Microsoft divisions and are only held together because the wizards (which are really just GUI scripts) are written to keep them all attached. It’s quite possible that I AM the only one using this term… if so, then its a defacto description of SBS.
To see what I mean about these different parts, one only has to look at
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Integration\Windows Small Business Server 2003
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Windows Small Business Server
C:\Program Files\Windows for Small Business Server
Obviously there is still some work that needs to be done just to get everything in the same directory… but what this shows me is that there certainly might be problems if you don’t use the wizards, and if you don’t use the server in the way that it was intended… unless you plan on going into each of these directories, and figure out what programs are supposed to do what!
As for whether SBS is "Special"?? Well the differences are pointed out here: http://www.sbslinks.com/Us_v_them.htm
Now, most folks that I point to that site will skip over the intro paragraphs and go right to the tables, so I’ll post those here for emphasis:
"Why Small Business Server 2003 Service pack 1 is better for small businesses:
SBS 2003 SP1 isn’t perfect. It isn’t for everyone. There are limitations to the product that are listed in the lower section..but here’s the thing. If you can live with these minor ‘warts’, in return you get features that the big guys are drooling over. Remember where SBS fits on the pricing SKU code range. This is the ‘first server in the firm", the one you begin with and grow with. And as any small business knows…there are some things that you do compromise on. But in reality, there are so many more features in this product that make it so right for a small firm that to say it’s crippled or cut down or any other words like that, you just don’t understand the potential and possibilities of this box.
Microsoft’s Small Business Server 2003 sp1 is a business in a box. All it needs is your commitment and imagination. To all small businesses my prescription would be….take one box of SBS… add to it a few XP sp2 workstations…. add a little sweat equity and elbow grease and stand back and watch what happens. SBS brings "automagic" to a small business."