Today while setting up the network for our new Fresh Mango UK office, I was reminded again of the joy of Microsoft’s Small Business Server 2011 and forced again to consider the folly that is their decision to terminate this line.
As a friend of mine put it referring to SBS 2011 (the ‘Windows 7’ of the SBS world): “they finally released a version that gets it right and then they terminate it” and I have to say he’s absolutely spot on. Setting up a SBS 2011 server is a dream – simple wizards do all the leg work for you and if you know what you’re doing, you can go from blank box to fully functional network server, folder shares, Exchange, IIS, Backups, OWA and more in the space of a day – including downloading all updates.
As has been discussed many times, Microsoft’s decision to end the life of SBS was obviously to drive customers to their cloud based Office 365 service. While this is great in theory, there’s a major flaw in the plan:
Office 365 is shit
We’ve had numerous customers on both Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange (the forerunner to Office 365) and on Office 365 itself and we found it to be buggy, inflexible and with support that was so astonishingly negligent it surpassed belief. One customer who had two Office 365 accounts on separate domains couldn’t send email from one of them when they were both configured in Outlook 2010. We spent months trying to resolve this and every single time, the support sessions started off with the Microsoft morons telling us we needed to check the MX records, or the autodiscover or anything else they could think of as they didn’t have a clue about the nuts and bolts of Exchange or email in general. Needless to say we’ve moved most of our customers to other providers such as AppRiver and GoDaddy.
I truly hope Microsoft will bring back SBS at some point or other because in my experience they definitely haven’t gained customers by ditching it but have definitely lost a fair few.