This weekend, an IT reseller contacted me with a problem they had. After the RAID controlled failed on a SBS2011 Standard, they receovered the server from the SBS Backup using the Bare Metal Recovery (BMR) process. After the server was restored, they booted the system and encountered the Black Screen of Death (KSOD). This is a condition where the system boots up and nothing comes up on the screen except a black screen with a mouse pointer. Nothing else can be done to the server, and no amount of waiting will get this server to carry forward in the boot process.
It turns out that there is a known condition that causes this severe problem. In the migration process from SBS2003, the reseller installed the NTBackup Restore Utility for WIndows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 utility. This utility allows a user to read and restore a backup set created by the NTBACKUP utility in Windows Server 2003 on a 2008 R2 server. The problem occurs when the user does not uninstall this utility after they have finished restoring the backups. In this condition, all server 2008 R2 backups (yes, including those done in SBS 2011, or any backup that uses the WBEM engine) will be corrupt, and will cause this condition when performing a BMR restore.
The reason for this is that a specific folder is ommitted from the backups – c:\Windows\Registration – if this condition exists.
What’s in a name? What are we going to call this new operating system that takes over from SBS? Microsoft have called this Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Basically, it is following on from the same line as SBS 2011 Essentials. So what is in this product? Have a look here for the Windows Server 2012 Essentials FAQ – http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?Linkid=257790
Among the features are:
Operating system built on Windows Server 2012. The vast majority of features avaailable in Windows Server 2012 will be available here with some minor limitations, as has been previous implemented in SBS.
Usersare limited to 25 as with SBS 2011 Essentials.
End-to-end Integrated Setup as with SBS Essentials to ensure a good out-of-the-box outcome.
The new Storage Spacesfeature will allow flexibility in aggregating physical storage across a number of storage devices to create “RAID” like volumes. Think about the features of Drive Extender from Whindows Home Server v1.
Anywhere Accessprovides a refreshed Remote Web Access interface that will allow easier access to applications and data from almost any device.
With Direct Access, setting up a secure VPN becomes painless and almost transparent.
Health Monitoringcontinues on from SBS and provides the health status of the server and client computers.
Integration with cloud technologies becomes simpler with Add-insand components designed to help set up a connection to on-premises Exchange server, or hosted solutions in the cloud like Office365.
Extensibilityvia Add-In modules continue on as with SBS Essentials and Windows Home Server to make the platform customisable and easier to manage.
What about the other flavours of Windows servers that were built on the same platform as SBS 2011 Essentials?
Windows Home Server 2011will be the last version. This product will be integrated into the Windows Server 2011 Essentials line.
Windows Multipoint Server 2011. This product will be upgraded to a new version in line with Windows Server 2012. It will be similar to the relationship between the 2011 products.
Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials. At this time, there is no indication that the product will be continued in the same form. One can only hope that it is refreshed.
In the coming few posts, I will look at what this means for the small business community, and examine the various reactions from different industry groups. Stay tuned and subscribe to the RSS feed!
Here is a brief history of SBS. Google “Small Business Server” for more information on this.
22 Oct 1997. BackOffice Small Business Server 4.0 is introduced, based on Windows NT Server 4.0 SP3. Allowed 25 client licenses.
24 May 1999. BackOffice Small Business Server 4.5 is released, based on Windows NT Server 4.0 SP4. Allowed 50 client licenses.
21 Feb 2001. Microsoft Small Business Server 2000 is released, based on Windows 2000 Server. Allowed 50 client licenses.
9 Oct 2003. Windows Small Business Server 2003 is released, based on Windows Server 2003. Allowed 75 client licenses.
29 July 2006. Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 is released, based on Windows Server 2003. The main updates here included the introduction of Windows Server Update Services and expansion of the 18GB Exchange database limit to 75GB.
21 Aug 2008. Windows Small Business Server 2008 is released, based on Windows Server 2008. Allowed 75 client licenses, and introduced a new Console for administration and management.
13 Dec 2010. Windows Small Business Server 2011 is released, based on Windows Server 2008 R2. The product was split into a Standard and Essentials version, where the standard version carried forward the 75 client license limit as seen in past releases. The new Essentials version was introduced from the Windows Home Server codebase and included 25 client licenses built in.
late 2012/early 2013 (estimate). Windows Server 2012 Essentials will be released, based on Windows Server 2012. Includes 25 client licenses.
With the introduction of Windows Server 2012 Essentials, the Small Business Server brand name will be lost. Here are some screenshots of the administration console as it developed in SBS2000, SBS2003, SBS2008, SBS2011 Standard and Essentials.
For more information on Small Business Server features, go to www.microsoft.com/sbs. SBS2011 is available right now. This is your last chance to get a fully integrated server for small business which integrates on premise Email, collaboration, update services, remote web access gateway, and much more.
A Microsoft Fix-It has been released to address the issue of the Client Connector in SBS 2011 Essentials terminating with the error message “The Connector has encountered an unexpected error”. This happens on Windows XP clients and affects the Colorado range, namely SBS 2011 Essentials, Windows Home Server 2011, and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials.
Microsoft have released a new KB article on how Multipoint Server 2011 and SBS 2011 essentials interact together. The article lists some of these features, an also provides excellent links to more documentation and recommended practices.
The SBS Teem have released a Powershell commandlet that will allow you to fine tune and manage the reporting and alerting functions in SBS 2008 and 2011. There are a number of alerts that can be safely ignored and yet persist in the event alert reports, which often cause anxiety and uneccesary concern. This commandlet will allow you to configure and specify which alerts to ignore, thus providing less noise to work through in order to see the important alerts more clearly.