Monday, July 11th, 2005
I should preface my review by stating openly that I was a contributing author to the SMB Nation Press book Windows 2003 Small Business Server Advanced Best Practices – I wrote Chapter 8 which was all about the Remote Web Workplace facilities of SBS2003.
I was approached by the publishing company of this book to display it on my website www.sbsfaq.com. Prior to that I had not heard of the publisher or the author. They graciously sent me two copies – one for me to review and the other for our local SBS Group as a giveaway. Now that I’ve had a chance to review the book I thought it best to post my review.
The book claims to be the “perfect companion to keep with you as you setup Windows Small Business Server 2003, maintain it and troubleshoot the issues that arise”. That in itself is a grand claim to fame, so I expected the book to give me an overview of the features and then dive into the maintenance and troubleshooting facets of an SBS2003 environment.
My impression of the book overall is that it is a combination of chapters that may have been written for a more enterprise level book and they’ve downsized it to meet the SBS market by throwing in a few SBS comments here and there. Now that may sound very harsh, but it’s the feeling I could not help get out of my mind. In many places they mention things that would never be used in your average or even more advanced SBS network. To give an example, in the Exchange section they talk about Administrative Groups when in reality this is only of any use if you have multiple exchange servers in the SBS2003 domain. They even recommend against installing Exchange 2003 Service Pack 1 which I do not understand. They also suggest using the /3GB switch with more than 2GB of RAM, which is not recommended by Microsoft on any machine on which you run as a domain controller AND and Exchange server.
In one area they talk about SBS2003 being able to have additional domain controllers (which you can and I have a number of running sites like this) and then in the section on Active Directory they say categorically that you can’t have additional domain controllers in SBS networks (page 21).
I found the SQL section quite good as it gave a good understanding of the basics of what SQL server is about, the various parts of the database, management console etc – good to get up and running, but then the chapter ends too quickly. There is also good coverage on Group Policy in later chapters and even some tips on how you can export and import GPO’s from one domain to another (although I’ve not tried it myself) which would be really handy if your doing a number of setups for your clients and wish to use the same GPO’s across multiple SBS2003 installations.
Now with all I’ve said you would think that I would not recommend this book at all. To be honest, there is some good information in there, but it’s not SBSised enough for me to warrant the title of and SBS2003 book. In my opinion the information is more suited to the midsize Windows 2003 network.