I’m a big fan of Microsoft’s SBS products. I got into SBS in a big way with the release of SBS 2003 and installed quite a number at various client’s in the Lower Mainland. At itgroove the trend continued and we’ve had good success with SBS 2008.
SBS has always been a fabulous value proposition with the bundle of Microsoft technologies – Windows Server, Exchange, SharePoint and, with the Premium versions, SQLserver. SBS Premium when combined with additional Windows servers (as DC’s or Terminal Servers or whatever) really packs a punch for customers that fit within the boundaries (75 seats or less). While it was always something of a pain that customer’s had to choose the Standard or Premium versions up front, the value received for the price paid could not be beat. If you stacked up the cost for SBS against the standalone cost for Windows Server and the various components it was easy to see what a great deal the package was. The only real complaint most of us had was the aforementioned choice that had to be made between the Standard and Premium versions at initial purchase time – there was no add-on upgrade path to go form Standard to Premium.
Microsoft obviously listened and with SBS 2011 they have made Premium an “add-on” to Standard. All SBS 2011 installations now ALWAYS start with SBS 2011 Standard. Wonderful, now customer’s don’t have to pay for something up front that they may not need for some perifo of time following initial install. Wonderful!
However, just like many television commercials say, “Wait! There’s more!”. Yup, there IS more! More cost overall, that is. The base cost of SBS 2011 Standard has risen substantially over SBS 2008 Standard,something in the order of $300 ~ $350 CAD by my estimation. And the cost of additional CAL’s has risen, as well. This isn’t a great deal of money but it is a substantial raise as an overall percentage. The real price rise, though, is that for the Premium version. In times gone by, the jump from Standard to Premium for the base product was about $800 CAD or thereabouts ($800 – $900 for Standard, @ $1,600 for Premium). With 2011 the add-on price for Premium is about $1,800 CAD and the CAL’s are more expensive, as well.
SBS is still a great bundled product and it still represents a cost savings over the equivalent standalone Microsoft products but it is nowhere near the sweetheart deal that it once was. Considering what a runaway success SBS has been for Microsoft over the past ten years or so, I can’t help thinking that they may just have killed the gold egg-laying goose with this price increase (or at least have given it one hell of a strangle).