What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, on July 5, 2012, Microsoft announced the end-of-life (EOL) for the acclaimed Windows Small Business Server (SBS) product line. It was a shot heard around the world and dominated community discussions for several months. Yesterday (June 30, 2013) was the shot no one heard. It’s interesting how such a trending topic faded so quickly.
Here are the facts. Starting today (July 1, 2013), you can NO LONGER purchase SBS (any version) from the retail and volume license (VL) channels. You can still purchase SBS from OEMs for another six months until December 31, 2013.
There are several questions that MSPs and SBSers much confront.
- Does anyone care? Apparently not as there is literally no discussion about this topic in the community the past few days. I’ve surveyed other media sites, well-known blogger sites (SBSDIVA, etc.) and the Yahoo newsgroups.
- Would you sell an EOL product like SBS? The answer is no. As a trusted advisor, it’s not advisable to sell a product that is on its way out.
- Will SBS 2011 “run” after it’s EOL date (assume December 31, 2013 when OEM SKUs are removed)? Yes. It will still function. The key date moving forward will be in 2020 (not a typo) when support for SBS (all version) is removed. Read the Microsoft Support Lifecycle blog here: http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2013/06/25/what-s-new-in-windows-server-2012-r2-essentials.aspx.
- What are new SMB technology pathways moving forward? Microsoft is positioning Windows Server 2012 Essentials as the next generation small business IT infrastructure solution. It’s even truer with the R2 release coming this fall (right around the SMB Nation 2013 Fall Conference – hint-hint). Of course there is the loud “Microsoft is forcing cloud down my throat crowd” that fights the Office 365 solution pathway and there are a host of virtual desktop solutions on the market as well.
- What are other important dates moving forward MSPs and SBSers should be aware of? Suppport for SBS 2003 terminates on April 8, 2014 along with Windows XP support (and Exchange 2003, Server 2003). So it’s bye-bye Bobcat!
The silent passing of the SBS 2011 sales deadline yesterday was just how Microsoft would want it: a non-event in the community.