Key Considerations for Enterprise IT Pros Who Deploy Windows Small Business Server 2008

Applies To: Windows SBS 2008

Read “Planning Your Windows Small Business Server 2008 Network”

Before you begin to install Windows SBS 2008, make sure that you read “Planning Your Windows Small Business Server 2008 Network” ( It explains how to prepare your new or existing network for Windows SBS 2008, a Windows SBS 2008 Installation Worksheet, and additional information about the network that you must gather.

Network topology

The typical Windows SBS 2008 network uses a single network adapter to connect the server to the local area network (LAN) as shown in the following graphic.

In the typical configuration, the LAN accesses the Internet through a router or a software firewall. If your existing network has a broadband connection to the Internet but it does not have a router, you must add a router. Because the router is the gateway to the Internet, the router must provide a firewall service. As an option, you can add a firewall device to help protect your LAN from unauthorized access from the Internet. In this topology, you cannot configure the firewall that is provided by Windows SBS 2008, because the server is not the gateway to the Internet.

The IP address for the network adapter on the server and the IP address for the internal interface of the router must be in the same non-routable subnet IP address range. For example, you can use a range of 192.168.x.x. During installation, Windows SBS 2008 queries the router and then attempts to assign to the server a static IP address that is in the same range as the router.

The domain can have only one computer running Windows Small Business Server 2008

Because the installation process positions Windows SBS 2008 at the root of an Active Directory forest, you can install only one server that is running Windows SBS 2008 in a Windows SBS 2008 domain.

Additionally, you cannot install Windows SBS 2008 on a server and then join that server to an existing Windows Server domain as an additional domain controller. Windows SBS 2008 must always be located at the root of the domain. Additionally, you cannot move operations master roles (also known as flexible single master operations or FSMO roles) to any other server. For this reason, you cannot add a computer that is running Windows Server to a Windows SBS 2008 network as the primary domain controller. However, you can add one or more computers running Windows Server to the network to serve as additional domain controllers, line-of-business (LOB) application servers, or terminal servers.

You cannot establish trusts with other domains

As an enterprise IT pro, you may be surprised to learn that a Windows SBS 2008 domain cannot establish trusts with any other domains. End of story. The Windows SBS 2008 domain must stand on its own. You cannot establish a trust between a Windows SBS 2008 domain and a Windows Server domain, and you cannot establish trusts between Windows SBS 2008 domains.


The Microsoft Software License Terms for Windows SBS 2008 explicitly disallows changing the system in order to work around the "no trusts" rule. So not only is Windows SBS 2008 configured not to allow trusts, but you also break your licensing agreement if you try!

You cannot create child domains

Unlike Windows Server 2008, Standard, Enterprise, or Datacenter Editions, Windows SBS 2008 does not let you subdivide your domain namespace hierarchically by creating child domains. That is, you cannot create a child domain (or a sub-domain) under the initial Windows SBS 2008 domain that you create during Setup.

For example, if contoso.local is the root domain name for the server, you cannot add the child domains accounting.contoso.local or payroll.accounting.contoso.local. This limitation should not affect most small organizations, because these organizations typically have a small number of staff and operate out of a single location.

You can connect a maximum of 75 users, computers, or devices to the server at one time

In contrast to Windows Server, where network users can number into the thousands, Windows SBS 2008 handles the upper end of the average small business. This is typically in the range of 75 users or devices (including computers) at the most. You should consider this limit when you decide whether to install Windows SBS 2008. If a business has more than 75 users or devices, consider installing another edition of Windows Server 2008.

Windows Small Business Server 2008 does not support dual-homing

Unlike earlier versions of Windows Small Business Server, Windows SBS 2008 uses a single network adapter and does not support dual-homing scenarios. The server requires a router as the Internet gateway.

Use of dynamic and static IP addresses

A possible downside of using cable or DSL is that, in some cases, ISPs require their cable or DSL customers to use dynamic IP addresses. Static IP addresses may not even be available unless the customer obtains a "business line," which usually has a higher price tag.

In some cases, the use of dynamic IP addresses prevents users from connecting remotely. This occurs because the Internet host name of the server does not have a static IP address to resolve to. To work around this, some network administrators obtain the services of ISPs that support the DNS dynamic update protocol. The dynamic update protocol enables ISPs to automatically update the IP address of the server in the DNS zone file for the company’s domain name.

If you use the Windows SBS 2008 Internet Address Management Wizard to configure the server to use one of the Windows SBS 2008 domain name provider partners, the server can automatically update a dynamic IP address assigned by the provider partners.

If you do not use one of the provider partners, it is recommended that you lease a static IP address from your ISP if you can.

Use the Windows SBS 2008 Console and administrative wizards to manage the server

As a rule, you should only use the wizards provided with Windows SBS 2008 to manage the server. If you use a wizard or snap-in that is native to Windows Server to add or modify settings for Windows SBS 2008, you might actually break some of the server functionality.

Microsoft designed Windows SBS 2008 with small businesses and Value Added Providers (VAPs) in mind. The management consoles, wizards, and other tools included with Windows SBS 2008 help simplify server setup and management tasks for people with limited computer experience. Windows SBS 2008 accomplishes this by using information collected before and after installation. The server uses this information to customize the network environment, to create accounts, and to set default properties that meet the needs of the organization. In doing this, some wizards configure multiple settings behind-the-scenes, in a way that is transparent to administrators. This takes much of the guesswork out of complex installation and server management tasks.

Microsoft did not design Windows SBS 2008 to integrate the server management features with the native administrative tools that Windows Server 2008 provides. Therefore, enterprise IT pros should use the Windows SBS 2008 wizards whenever possible. If it is not possible, use the native tools in Windows Server 2008.

A computer requires a Windows Small Business Server 2008 client-access license (CAL) to access the server

The licensing model for Windows SBS 2008 is fairly straightforward. Windows SBS 2008 requires only one client-access license (CAL) per user or device. This one CAL enables the user or device to access the services in Windows SBS 2008. For example, you do not have to purchase one CAL to access the server and another to use Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. Be aware, however, that the CALs for Windows SBS 2008 differ from the CALs for Windows Server and for Exchange Server. You cannot add a standard CAL for Windows Server to Windows SBS 2008; Windows SBS 2008 requires Windows SBS 2008 CALs.

Because deployment strategies vary greatly, Microsoft offers an affordable licensing model that lets you manage licensing costs relative to your usage. Customers purchase a server license for the edition of Windows SBS 2008 that they will use, and they purchase CALs for users or devices that will access the Windows SBS 2008 applications. The following two CAL suites for Windows SBS 2008 are available:

  • Windows SBS 2008 CAL Suite.   For each user or device that accesses the Windows SBS 2008 network.

  • Windows SBS 2008 CAL Suite for Premium.   For each user or device that access the premium features of Windows SBS 2008 Premium Edition.

Additionally, Windows SBS 2008 CALs are available in the following quantities:

  • Windows SBS 2008 CAL Suite.   Available in 1-, 5-, and 20-pack quantities for either User or Device.

  • Windows SBS 2008 CAL Suite for Premium Users or Devices.   Available in 1-, 5-, and 20-pack quantities for either User or Device.

If you add a second server to a Windows SBS 2008 Premium domain, you do not need extra licenses for networked computers to access the second server. However, if you add a second server that is running applications that require their own licenses, you might have to buy the additional licenses for those applications. For example, you must purchase a Terminal Services client access license (TS°CAL) for each user or device that is required to connect to a terminal server. Other line-of-business applications typically require a CAL also. Check the licensing requirements for the application.

You cannot use Windows Small Business Server 2008 as a terminal server

You can configure Windows Server 2008 Standard as a terminal server, however, you cannot use a server that is running Windows SBS 2008 as a terminal server. Terminal Services does not coexist well with the rest of the applications and services that are included in Windows SBS 2008.

To make a terminal server available in a Windows SBS 2008 network, install a second server that is running Windows Server 2008 Standard on the network. On the second server, you can install the Terminal Server role service.


It is a common and useful practice to install a second server to run Terminal Services. A server of this kind enables network users to connect to a terminal server by using Remote Web Workplace.

TS CALs are required for each user or device that accesses the server software. TS CALs are not included with the Windows SBS 2008 server license or the Windows SBS 2008 Standard or Premium CALs. You must purchase TS CALs separately.

For detailed information to help you understand, plan, configure, and manage Terminal Services on a Windows SBS 2008 network, see “Using Terminal Services in Windows Small Business Server 2008” (

Do not modify the default Active Directory structure

Windows SBS 2008 installs a default Active Directory structure that helps reduce your effort. Many of the features in Windows SBS 2008 are integrated with Active Directory. If you change the Active Directory structure in any way, you can damage the server functionality. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not modify the default Active Directory structure.


In some cases, user accounts might not appear in the Windows SBS Console. This can occur after a server migration, or if you use the native Windows Server 2008 tools to create new user accounts. If this occurs, run the Change User Role Wizard and assign an appropriate user role to the migrated user accounts. For information about how to assign user roles to migrated accounts, see “Move user accounts and groups” (

Follow the hardware requirements

The following table compares the minimum and maximum hardware requirements of Windows SBS 2008 to those of other Windows Server 2008 editions. Consider this information when you determine what hardware you need to run Windows SBS 2008.

Table 1   Comparison of Windows Server 2008 minimum and maximum hardware requirements

Product Platforms Minimum Memory Maximum Memory Minimum Processor Maximum Number of Physical Processors

Windows SBS 2008 (primary server)

x64 only

4 GB

32 GB

2 GHz (x64) or faster for single core

1.5 GHz or faster for multi-core


Windows SBS 2008 (second server)

x86 or x64

2 GB

4 GB with x86

32 GB with x64

2 GHz (x86 and x64)


Windows Server 2008 Standard

x86 or x64

2 GB

4 GB with x86

32 GB with x64

2 GHz (x86 and x64)



You should connect all of the hardware on the server before you install Windows SBS 2008, because the Installation Wizard makes some configuration choices depending on what hardware is installed.