Beginning with the 2012 versions, Microsoft plans to discontinue Small Business Server. What does this mean to small businesses?
Microsoft bundles Server 2008, Exchange email server, and SharePoint collaboration software into a single product. They price it very aggressively, and limit the product to 75 users. Most installations use only the Server and Exchange products. Exchange lets you host your own email and access it in a variety of ways. It’s a great product.
In the last couple years, Microsoft decided to be a major player in “the cloud”. They offer Office 365, in a wide variety of configurations, one of which is just hosted Exchange. Often, this is attractive to small businesses because they pay a monthly fee to host email offsite with nearly all the features of in-house Exchange.
Microsoft is steering their Small Business Server customers to Windows Server 2012 Essentials. As you might have guessed, it no longer includes Exchange. Microsoft would like you to use Office 365 instead. Once in a while though, a small business has good reason to have their email in-house.
If you want to purchase Small Business Server, you’ll have until June 2013. After that, you’ll have to purchase Exchange as a separate product.