Servers now dinosaurs for small business

Date: 16 August 2012

On Friday I was in Christchurch attending a Microsoft Technical Preview Session on Server 2012 and Windows 8.

The event was the usual Microsoft IT affair, light nibbles, cramped hotel meeting room, a collection of around sixty IT geeks, and 'death by powerpoint'.

We got the usual run through of the 'new and exciting' benefits of Microsoft's new software (and there are some), but I thought I would share the two main things I that I took away from the event.

After ten years as the dominate Server operating system for the small and medium business Microsoft announced that the 'Small Business Server' had gone end of line.

They are continuing to supply the current version of it to allow for 'some of their partners' to migrate to the new way of working, but there was not going to be a 2012 version. In the line up of the 2012 Server product it was just simply missing.

Two things about this were interesting.

First the gasp from the other IT companies in the room at their shock and almost disbelief of this top selling product going end of life.

The second was that this demonstrated that pcMedia has been heading in the right direction as I think I was about the only person not surprised by the announcement. 

pcMedia last supplied a 'Small Business Server' over two years ago as we have struggled to justify the cost of the Small Business Server model in the current world of IT, and have been slowly moving our clients to 'Cloud based solutions'.

The next interesting statement was about back-ups.

The Microsoft spokesman talked about tape based back-ups and statistics such as "50% of tape restores fail" where thrown at us.

Where was Microsoft going with this? Cloud back-ups! Server 2012 has the capability to back-up directly to the Cloud (and so do the older versions they just need some third party software).  No more tapes we were assured.  Microsoft asked for a show of hands of how many people in the room had tried to restore a back-up from a tape and it had failed (most of the hands went up).

They predicted that the majority of companies would be backing-up to the Cloud within the next twelve months due to the risks and costs associated with tape. With many companies moving over to a paperless environment a solid back-up was of the upmost importance we were told.  Statements such as 'back-up off-site at least every hour' and 'use five minute increments' where thrown at us, and we were clearly told that the model of an overnight back-up to tape is now just not good enough.

What this means to a Marlborough business  

So if you are looking at replacing your IT infrastructure and have had a quote form your supplier for a 'Small Business Server' or a tape style back-up, just stop, think and ask why.

Both forms of technology have officially been thrown on the scrap heap of IT.  Do you want to spend the next three to five years tied to technology which has already been replaced?

Also the other thing to watch out for is the Windows 8 based Microsoft Surface Tablet, due out in October.  It may revolutionise the way we work as much as the first laptop did.  More on that soon.

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