When companies decide to upgrade their servers, it is hard to figure out how much to budget.

Is it better to do it all at once or in stages? Why buy a branded server?

Server will be the one machine which when it fails, the entire company sits idle. Taking such a risk is not advisable. This will be the one machine which houses the company data and holds the server operating system which works like a bond to hold the company together with right security and proper access to the required folders. It becomes the driving mechanism of the company.

A clone server may save you money. But if the server breaks down continually due to any conflict, the supplier/company will not work free for you to diagnose and do any servicing for you. The costs that the company will bill you will be higher than the savings you have done in the first place.

When you purchase a branded server like DELL, HP or IBM, the company stands behind their products and helps you diagnose the issue quickly and efficiently. The companies have plenty of tools, specifically built  to diagnose the issues in a fast and effective way.

The parts are sent to you quickly resulting in very low downtime.

If you have a clone-server and it breaks down after 8 months; let us say the mother board fails and stops working. What will happen? Will your supplier buy another motherboard for you and replace it at no extra cost or will he keep your server down for 2-3 weeks and wait for the replacement of the motherboard?

Let us say your supplier of clone-server has ended up installing SAS hard-drives as a special order as SAS hard-drives last long. Down the road, some drivers, downloaded by Microsoft updates, have conflicted with those hard-drives - maybe 6 hard-drives - and your system breaks down. Now who will replace those hard-drives and at whose cost, plus how much time will it take?

SAS hard drives are very expensive and not many companies can afford to take the hit.

Also by the time you decided to change your IT service provider or your consultant moved and/or retired, who will help you, when and how?

If you can answer all the above in an efficient way, then you can afford to save some money on server.


Due to virtual technology, DELL, HP and IBM have dropped the server prices anyway. It will be worth taking a look at how much they cost.

Another piece of advice:

While purchasing the server, you should consider purchasing a server which will help you chug along for next 5-10 years instead of buying the cheapest one or just enough to help you for the time being.


Changing the server hardware again will cost you labour expenditure again.

Why and  How to Purchase Best Servers?

When companies decide to upgrade their servers, it is hard to figure out what are the best operating systems they will need. It is best to involve a consultant to make this decision for you - saving you money, hassles and keep away from wrong decisions.

  • What Windows Server Operating System will be the best for our organization?

  • What is the most inexpensive way to upgrade my network?

Answers lie in the questions we ask you because it totally depends on two factors.

a.    What needs you have?

 And ..

b.    What are your long-term goals/requirements (Long-term means: in the next 5-10 years?)

We will make the best decisions for you depending on the answers to the above questions. Unfortunately, many customers cannot accurately line up the list of all the software they use and how will they be effectively configured in running the company.

Windows 2003, 2008 R2 and 2011 SBS (Small Business Server) are meant for companies who have under 75 users (preferably have under 60 users) in 5-8 years of the implementation.

Server is not the only thing you need to buy: An OEM Server software generally includes 5 CALs. CAL means Client Access License; well, that means every user who needs to use the resources of the server needs to be licensed to access the server. The license (CALs) costs are more expensive for SBS than for Standard and Enterprise Servers.

We have a table for general costs for you as of today (2011) which will explain you how to choose your server with ease:




2003 SBS Standard


Server Operating System - includes: Microsoft Exchange 2003 + Microsoft Outlook 2003 for each user, Fax Server, SharePoint Server, Full backup (NT-Backup).

Issues: It has 32-bit OS only and cannot make use of memory more than 4GB. When you have Exchange working, Exchange alone will consume 2GB+ memory; 1GB will be used by OS. If you install Symantec Backup software, it will slow your server very much when the backup runs. If you use Symantec Endpoint protection on it, that means you are bound to have mid-day freeze and other slow-down issues.

2003 SBS CALs


This includes license to use each server as mentioned above.

2003 SBS Premium


The premium Windows SBS 2003 includes all above plus Microsoft SQL 2003 and ISA. It is a deadly combination as there is no memory for a memory-hungry SQL. Also, it is much better to use a hardware firewall instead of ISA. I strongly say, do not use this as much as possible.

2003 SBS Premium CALs

Not available

Generally twice the cost of Standard CALs.

2008 R2 SBS Standard


This bundle includes: OS + MS Exchange 2007 and SharePoint. This does not include Outlook for users nor does this include Fax Server.

2008 SBS CALs

$480 for a 5-pack

This includes the licenses for accessing the server + Exchange CALs. NOTE: This comes only in 64-bit Platform. If you need 32-bit, you have to resort to Windows 2008 SBS and no R2.

2008 SBS Premium


This includes additional OS Standard Hyper-V and SQL 2005 along with all the components of SBS Standard.

2008 SBS Premium CALs

$1100 for a 5-Pack

This includes the CALs for Users/Devices to use the resources like Exchange and SQL 2005 along with the shared files etc.

2011 SBS Standard


It comes with Windows 2008 R2 + Exchange 2011 + SharePoint.

2011 SBS CALs


It is currently available in eOpen license format so you can buy the exact quantity of licenses.

2011 SBS Premium Add-on


$1270 + $1860 = $3130

This comes in the form of Add-on - not the premium version - but includes 2011 SBS + 2008 R2 Standard Server and 2007 SQL Server

CALs for Premium 2011 SBS


$420 + $530 = $950 for a 5-Pack

This is an add-on with CALs for Standard

2008 R2 Standard


2008 CALS

$200 for a 5-Pack

2008 R2 Enterprise



You may ask why I should buy a Small Business Server. Will it be better to simply buy 2008 Standard or will it be good to go with Enterprise edition?

Well, 2008 R2 is less expensive as well as the CALs are cheaper, but it does not include the Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint or SQL. If you purchase these separately, it will cost you much more.

If you like to save money, yes, it is a wonderful way to proceed.

Now the Question is do I really need the Exchange Server?

  • If you like to share calendars, have a central address book for the company, want someone to read your emails for you or like to keep an eye on others emails inbox and outbox, then yes, you need the Exchange Server.
  • If you like to use BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server), then yes, you need the Exchange Server.
  • Do you like to backup everyone's email in an efficient way? Then yes, you need the Exchange Server.
  • If you like to have a proper control over the email system, use your

Outlook when you are on a trip and synchronize it back when you are back in your office, or use OWA (Outlook Web Access) remotely to access your emails, then yes, you need the Exchange Server.

If none of the above is for you, then, you save money on your OS and CALs price.

Why do I need Windows 2008 Enterprise edition?

Good Question, but answer is not that simple. This will lead me to ask what your goals are. I would recommend an Enterprise Server when you need to create virtual servers on a single hardware. This can save you in the hardware purchase cost to some extent. Mind you, the virtual servers are the talk of the day. Because it is very easy to manage restart, add-remove services remotely, add-remove memory and space with ease and also migrate from one hardware server to another. Reliability is more and ease is high.

NOTE: You must know a few things: Windows 2008 R2 comes only in 64-bit format. So you have to make sure before you upgrade all that software you need to install on it that it will work with 64-bit applications. Some of the legacy applications do not work on 64-bit as they are written to work with 32-bit operating system.

If you are not sure what you need to do, like to make sure you are on the right track and like us to give you the best advice, we can help. Call us at 905 488-5400 , or send us an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.