We have a number of customers that ask about SharePoint and SBS. This might be a bit surprising as SharePoint has been an integral part of SBS since SBS2003 (Companyweb, anyone?) but it is a very good question nevertheless because of the nature of SharePoint.
Microsoft has always pushed the use of SharePoint as an integral selling point of SBS and I would not disagree. BUT, and this is a big BUT, you need to think carefully about what your needs are and what it is that you want to accomplish with SharePoint before you decide on using Companyweb out of the box.
Companyweb is built on top of SharePoint WSS3 (SBS2008) or SharePoint 2010 Foundation (SBS2011). Both are the “free” SharePoint products built on top of “restricted” versions of SQLserver. These immediately impose upper limits on what you can do in terms of storage and/or performance as all SharePoint objects and files are stored within a SQLserver database. SBS2008 Companyweb is built using the “SQLserver Embedded Edition” (SSEE) which has no size limit but does have severe performance caps. SBS2011 Companyweb is built using SQL Express that has either a 4GB size limit (2008 version) or a 10GB size limit (2008 R2). This is not to say that Companyweb is in some way unusable because that would be patently false; you can do quite a lot with Companyweb. Rather, the problem is really one of scalability, overall performance and features.
Companyweb (SharePoint) is hosted on and runs from the SBS host itself. This means that SharePoint is competing with all the other services that run on the SBS box for server resources. An under-sized SBS server can result in sluggish responses from SharePoint. A properly sized SBS server can provide decent SharePoint performance but it can never match that of SharePoint running on a dedicated server or, for that matter, on the second server of an SBS Premium installation. In an SBS Premium environment you can migrate the backend of the SBS SharePoint service to the SQLserver Workgroup Edition that is installed on the second server and immediately take advantage of the increased performance and storage provided by licensed SQL. Keep in mind that you would still be running within the preconfigured parameters of Companyweb that may not line up with your actual needs.
In an SBS Premium environment you do have the option to bring up another SharePoint environment that is independent of SharePoint on the SBS server. This would entail installing either SharePoint 2010 Foundation or SharePoint 2010 Server on the second server and utilizing the SQLserver Workgroup installed on that server. The assumption here is that you would NOT bother to migrate the Companyweb database to the SQL Workgroup as the “heavy lifting” in terms of SharePoint would be handled by the SharePoint/SQL combo on the second server. You could even go so far as to add a third server to the mix (Server 2008 R2) and install SharePoint on it pointing back to the SQL install on the second server.
The point to all of my rambling to here is that almost without fail SharePoint use will shoot past anything you envision up front; you will find ways to use SharePoint to solve business issues and process issues that don’t seem apparent as yet. We see this all the time within our SharePoint practice and the more you understand this up front the less enthusiastic you will be about accepting the limits of the basic “free” SharePoint/Companyweb installation in SBS. At the risk of giving away my age, if you “grok” SharePoint (what it is, what it can do) then you will “grok” the reasons for trying to build what you need up front rather than retrofitting things down the road.
In terms of a “good, better, best” model it stacks up like this:
Good: SBS2008/2011 SharePoint/Companyweb
Better: SBS2008/2011 Premium, two server install with SharePoint 2010 Foundation installed on second server utilizing the SQLserver Workgroup Edition.
Best: SBS2008/2011 Premium, two server install with SharePoint 2010 Server installed on second server utilizing the SQLserver Workgroup Edition.
Funnily enough, the capability/performance scale stacks up the same way, as well.
SBS Premium gives real bang for your licensing dollar and it makes a great platform for a full SharePoint installation that can extend far beyond the constraints of the “free” SharePoint that ships with SBS. What’s the right path for you? Well, every organization is different but a little planning now can provide you with very large dividends down the road AND save you some headaches and dollars. If you are serious about making SharePoint fly in an SBS environment then I’d recommend giving serious consideration to the “better” or “best” options above.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok; “Stranger in a Strange Land”, Robert A. Heinlein, 1961