Microsoft Online and SBS 2003

I have been working with the Microsoft BPOS aka Microsoft Online guys in Enterprise accounts for a while to help big companies migrate to BPOS dedicated.  Don’t know what that is?  Check out  To sum it up, it is hosted Exchange, SharePoint, OCS, LiveMeeting, and a few other offerings.  For bigger businesses, Microsoft sets up dedicated hosting servers, for small it is multitenant.

I help out a small company from time to time because they have 15 employees and a Small Business Server 2003 environment.  They are constantly running out of space on their 5 year old server because mail boxes keep growing because of attachment sizes.  These guys are the perfect scenario to migrate to Microsoft Online!

So, I setup a free trial and started loading some of the coexistence tools like email sync and dirsync onto the Small Business server.  Well, that was the plan.  Turns out, dirsync can’t be run on a domain controller and will only run on Windows Server 2003.  I think the BPOS guys missed the Small Businesses aren’t going to have an extra server lying around.  How can you miss this scenario when building your tools, especially a segment of the market so perfect for BPOS?

So, they will have to forgo the coexistence and migrate mailboxes in one fell swoop over a weekend, which won’t be pretty over the small network connection they have.

I am sure there are technical reasons, and that's what will be used as an excuse.  It just disappoints me when we have really smart guys that miss such a big opportunity to help small businesses.

Comments (7)

  1. Brett Hill says:

    dirynch can be run on a wk2 server in a virtual machine. For 15 users, however, I would question the value of doing that in that managing 15 users does not constitute a signifcant overhead compared to installing a server and running a service. For migration, for $10 a seat you can use migrationwiz to migrate the mail.

  2. quato says:

    Thanks for the post Jeff, but setting up an org is a one time event as you describe, and is tolerable.

    DirSync would allow the Small Business customer to continue to provision users in their AD (actually recommeneded in the MS Online docs) which is then synced to MS Online.  Since most small businesses want to minimize the admin overhead, having to create an account in both places is not ideal.

  3. quato says:

    BPOS is still an amazing investment and this business will definately go there in about 3 weeks.  The reason to keeping SBS around is for WSUS patching and AV managment, not to mention they use it as VPN for a Unix based app they have.

    I thought of standing up a VPC with Windows 2003/2008, but from a licensing standpoint that is another $2000 for them.

    The point of this blog was to let SBS owners know that it won’t be all rainbows and unicorns if they go the BPOS route.

  4. Jeff Chia says:

    For small organizations we can use an Excel spreadsheet with a list of all 15 users to bulk create the users in BPOS. then use the mail migration tool or just have the users save their current mailbox with everything as a PST file and load in into Outlook once they sign in to their BPOS account.

  5. Jeff Chia says:

    As we both agree, if the customer is getting rid of their enviroment totally then my suggestion probably would work fine.

    Perhaps the product team can incorporate running dirSync on a DC requirement in the next version.

    For now, if the customer plans to keep SBS around for many good reasons then I would suggest running a member server in a Virtual Machine just for Dirsync. It might seem to be an overkill but the benefits of having mail, AV/spam filtering, document collaboration, presence and web conferencing available on the web, on their laptop, home and on their mobile device is definitely less work managing without a single point of failure using BPOS.

    I think if going BPOS makes business and investment sense to justify the extra configuration.

  6. Graeme says:

    I would agree that SBS must be a target audience for BPOS and that the partners likely to support these customers need an easy migration path so as to limit the cost to the client which of too high will deter the adoption.

    For many partners they will want to migrate the smaller clients first.

  7. Barry Noble says:

    Very interesting. Thanks to all. Has the situation changed since April 2010? I am faced with exactly this issue. Does anyone have experience with migrationwiz they would like to share?

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