Did a little side job this weekend.
Microsoft SBS has some very nifty features. It sets up quick and the wizard-like interface to configure stuff works amazingly well. Once we get SharePoint running (it's giving us permissions errors everywhere) I'm sure it'll be great. The server manager thingy works really well. It has this nifty capability to move Windows 2000/XP machines into a new domain and everything. Don't do it. It claims to carry over all of the profile stuff, which it does, but it DELETES the My Documents folder for the user. Oops. Hope you weren't using that. The PPTP stuff doesn't seem to want to work through a Linksys BEFSX41, I'm still tracking that down. Linksys's web site is down, I'm expecting a patch to the router will fix it. Windows 98 sucks, and clients who say they don't have it are very likely to be lying. I had the 6 Win2K/XP clients configured inside 2 hours. It took an entire DAY to do the 2 Win98 clients, mostly because of problems with Password Auth being different and the lack of user impersonation. Outlook Web Access throws errors whenever the user clicks the "To" button or the "CC" button.
So let's see. This product includes Windows 2003 Server (file serving is working nicely), SharePoint (not working at all), Exchange (Working but OWA is totally busted), a Remote Access service (Not working at all, might not be Microsoft's fault), a really nifty web page to access remote desktops over port 443 (not working, times out). So I highly recommend it for consultants because I think we'll all be able to bill lots of hours FIXING IT.
I also installed Mac OS X Server on a spare BW G3 I picked up.
So, let's see, the product includes Samba (file serving is working nicely), and the Apache web server and WebDAV are working swimmingly, email is working fine for IMAP, POP3 and the included WebMail package (Squirrelmail, of all things), inbound SSH is working great, and remote administration is working great. Hourly consultants should avoid this like the plague because I got it all set up inside of two hours, and Mac clients connected to it immediately, and my Windows clients couldn't tell the difference between BigMac and any Windows box on my LAN.
Not that I'm trying to draw any parallels or anything. I mean, the Mac doesn't have any kind of shared-calendar-over-webmail thing without doing a bunch of icky looking around on SF.Net. That's a total dealbreaker. Plus, a fully configured Dell server with SBS costs about $2500 for 5 users, and an Apple XServe with Mac OS X Server would run you about $3000. That's like $500, and the Apple can only support an Unimited number of users, while the Dell can support 5! What a Deal! Plus the Mac doesn't have weekly software updates like the Windows server does! What a rip!
There was a Cringely article not to far back about how IT people tend to recommend and install solutions that get IT people hired back for more, not what's best for companies. I think he was way off base.