The other day Dana blogged about the top ten reasons why he'll be moving to SBS 2008 and challenged the rest of us to respond with what we considered our top ten wows. You can read his top ten here: http://silverstr.ufies.org/blog/archives/001055.html
In his post he said he'll be upgrading as soon as he can.
So here's my list of the top ten things I'm looking forward to in SBS 2008... but as the business decision maker in my firm I'll be flat out honest and tell you I'm not upgrading as soon as possible to SBS 2008 and I'll tell you why:
Because it doesn't match our technology plan. We plan for changes in my office. And I'll be upgrading to SBS 2008 according to our plan.
So here's our technology plan:
Every year we change out at least two to three workstations. We then move those machines "down the food chain" to others in the office. A computer stays with a "prime person" at least three years and then it gets moved down the firm. Our main server (SBS 2003) has been in production since November of 2004 (and I honestly waited too long to put that into production). I'm getting one more year out of the server hardware until next year as I'm not ready to change out the hardware/software this year. Why? Because the window of change is closing down for my firm. At the beginning of this year I did the very latest change of technology/hardware for workstations that I've ever done. I deployed two Vista workstations in January as I was ensuring that I'd catch Vista service pack 1. We've changed out two more workstations this summer and both are 64bit. In this process of beginning to deploy 64bit workstations, I've also ensured that the printers have 64bit drivers ready to go. As a SA customer, I'll be getting media in November. While I'll migrate the home box (after throwing more ram in it) to SBS 2008, the business decision maker/non geek side of my brain demands that I don't do change in my office so close to when we shut down that change window. End of November is when I wrap up my technology changes for the year.
Now with all that said, here's why I'm planning to deploy it next year, why I'm looking forward to deploying it next year, and why I'm not going to wait until the end of next year and more likely do it during the summer months. Which is again, according to our technology plans.
Here's my wow's that are totally different than Dana's wows:
1. Windows 2008 and Vista make for a dynamic duo. After the next 64bit Vista workstation is put in place we'll be a smidge more than a third of the way towards Vista's in the office. File transfer speeds between Vista and 2k8 are pretty amazing. Search features are very cool. Vista and 2k8 work nicely together. We'll be changing out two or three more Vista's next year.
Yeah it copies THAT fast.
2. Windows 2008 Event log. This is one of those stupid little things that probably only makes the top ten list of me and Eric Fitzgerald. Vista has it's snipping tool that is a cool little thing, Server 2008 has it's new and improved event logs where you can attach a task and send out an email for an alert. And I can feed event logs of workstatins into the event log of the server. There's some cool stuff that you can do with the Win2k8 event logs.
Yeah I know, but I'm into auditing and event logs so for me this is a cool feature.
3. Exchange 2007 improvements. Between OWA 2007 improvements, disclaimers that are now built in, there's a lot of "little things" that are wow. The fact that the SBS dev team anticipated sucky app vendors and placed all the SBS web sites in it's own web sites and thus all those folks that have to deal with various vendors stomping on, and destroying the OWA of your Exchange 2007 in the process, that's another huge big wow. The trusted cert wizard under the hood that ensures that OWA, Outlook over http is secure is another wow-ism under the hood.
4. Remote Web Workplace wowism. Being able to limit it down to THE workstation of the user. Currently I type up a 'how to log into YOUR computer' instructions manual and specifically name the workstation with a name of the end user. I even have little 'cheat cards" that I laminate and have the folks stick in their wallets. It doesn't list their password of course, but it does list the exact workstation they need to look for. If we have turn over in employees that are allowed to have remote access, that means I'm doing a name change on that workstation to make it easier for them to know what workstation to log into. Kinda a pain. Being able to limit the user's access to the ONE computer they need rather than having to tell them "Oh scroll down and find yours" is very cool. And no more port 4125, I only need port 443.
See that blue box (I haven't yet set this up on the home server) but you specify the exact workstation right there.
5. The fact that SBS 2008 "is" supported virtually. I still haven't decided if I'll do SBS on real metal or in HyperV honestly, but the fact that SBS 2008 "is" fully supported in a virtual platform is a biggie for this business decision maker.
6. SharePoint. SharePoint Version Three. Blogs. Wikis. Add ons. I can use SharePoint 3 for all the internal knowledge base stuff now versus the SharePoint 2. I'm looking forward to the migration as well as I can redesign our internal sharepoint.
7. TS remote applications, and all of the TS improvements in Server 2008. I already have a Server 2008 box in my current network and will be expanding it's use in SBS 2008. There's an edge video here on it, but the ability to push a TS app all the way through to the RWW desktop. Way way cool. I don't have a image for TS remote apps on a RWW page, but just trust me on this one, it's cool.
8. You don't need to know PowerShell. Truly. Don't let all that "you HAVE to know PowerShell in order to run Exchange 2007" talk get to you. Oh, don't get me wrong, it will grow on you over time, similar to how you know how Ipconfig/all gives you the network card/configuration. How exactly did you learn Ipconfig/all? Don't remember do you? And that's how PowerShell will grow on you. And between SBS's PowerShell under the hood and Exchange 2007's hints of PowerShell you'll learn. Don't worry. And the fact that under the hood of SBS 2008 is Windows 2008 and Exchange 2007 means that you have all the tools of the platforms at your fingertips. All of that PowerShell knowledge will come in time. More and more providers of PowerShell are lining up as well. IIS7 has a PowerShell provider as well.
9. The fact that the firewall is my choice. Seriously. I get to make the selection of the firewall to match the needs of my firm. I'm not forced into a cookie cutter one size fits all or a cheap Linksys router. I can take the time and select the right firewall for my firm. One from a company that embraces the small business markeplace. One that doesn't consider me a corner case or a rounding error on a spreadsheet. One that is looking out for me and my firm.
10. Because Windows Server 2003 is getting old. It was built for a differnt time, a different set of risks, a different set of security issues. And at the end of the day I have the ultimate reason. Next year we will change out the server in the office as per our technology plan and I do not put 5 year old operating systems on new hardware. I just won't. And that's a big wow in my book. Add to that the wow of software assurance and SBS 2008/premium, that means I'll have a full standalone version of Windows 2008, SQL 2005 or 2008, and because I'm a SA customer, I'm getting a boatload of software to allow me to be very flexible in my upcoming plans.
As I said at SMBnation, SBS 2008 is a bunch of little wows that accumulate. All of the remote access upgrades are probably the biggest wow that as you work with the test version of the server you probably won't see that huge wow factors until you step outside that server and start using it remotely.
So what about you? What's your top ten 'wow' items?