Q&A from Hosting a Web Site in a Windows SBS 2003 Environment webcast

Below are the follow-up questions & answers from the Thursday, January 10, 2008, webcast “Hosting a Web Site in a Windows SBS 2003 Environment” (http://www.msreadiness.com/CourseDetail.aspx?id=6740).  To download the PowerPoint presentation, please visit BOB Wired at: http://oem.microsoft.com/bobwired.

Q: You didn’t use IE7 for your demonstration of  Windows SBS 2003 and hosting/publishing websites w/ SharePoint….any pro’s/con’s we should know about?
A: Because I created a virtualized environment for my demonstration, I hadn’t connected my virtual machines to the Microsoft update site to get the latest updates & patches.  However, in the real world I would strongly encourage you to do that.  Using the latest version of Internet Explorer is definitely the way to go.

Q: What safeguard steps can be done to protect my IIS,  SharePoint, and ISA Server installations prior to attempting an extranet site?
A: Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) is an easy-to-use tool designed for the IT professional that helps small- and medium-sized businesses determine their security state in accordance with Microsoft security recommendations and offers specific remediation guidance, http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/tools/mbsahome.mspx.

Q: Regarding the requirements for upstream bandwidth, how can this be estimated and/or calculated?
A: The bandwidth requirements to support a small business web site are not likely to be too intense, so having a connection that allows your web pages to load quickly in a user’s browser is probably more important than being able to support a very large number of simultaneous users.  To calculate the actual data throughput required by a web site, you can use a tool such as AWStats (http://awstats.sourceforge.net/?seenIEPage=1) to analyze your IIS log files.

Q: MSConnect has just recently released a beta for simple SharePoint Extranet creation. Are you familiar with this and if so can you comment on its usefulness in Windows SBS?
A: The Solution Accelerators at https://connect.microsoft.com/site/sitehome.aspx?SiteID=14 are an extremely valuable resource which can be applied to any Windows environment.
Q: How suitable is this environment for e-commerce?
A: Generally speaking, I would not recommend this solution for e-commerce unless the volume of transactions is quite low.  The best way to judge would be to look at the revenue being generated by the site and the cost of being offline for any reason.  These considerations are likely to justify a more robust hosting solution.

Q: As a novice, I presume each customer’s web address has to be registered with Network Solutions or an equivalent service. Any suggestions in this area?
A: That is correct. If your customers have not already registered a domain name, that is certainly something you could offer to help them out with. There are a number of high-quality registrars you could use.

Q: Can shared calendars in SharePoint that are linked to Outlook 2007 be synchronized to mobile devices?
A: Yes, check out http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/help/HA100832471033.aspx.