Friday, August 29, 2008

Change has arrived - cutting over to SMB Dude

Good day everyone - with the end of August at hand, I am cutting this blog over to SMB Dude and will no longer post up here.

So please join me at

Thanks for reading HERE and I will see you THERE!

Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation
Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP
PS - did u know I host an annual conference in Seattle each october for SBSers and SMB consultants? This year we help launch SBS 2008 and Essential Business Server (EBS) between October 4-6!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Early bird flying away on fall wings and wind

SMB Nation 2008 fall conference, the 6th annual, will bring Small Business Server 2008 and Essential Business Server 2008 into the world with a monster launch party plus over 40 content sessions. Be there in Seattle!

Hurry - early bird rate expires next Monday - so you still have time to save a couple $$$


ceo at smb nation

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Faxing in S BS 2003 [book excerpt]

Good morning - I am harry brelsford, author of the Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book and each day I am posting up a few pages for the community. I will do this until (1) SBS 2008 ships or (2) I run out of pages!

Today we look at Chapter 9 which is faxing with the shared fax service in SBS 2003.


Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation

Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP

PS - did u know I host an annual conference in Seattle each october for SBSers and SMB consultants? This year we help launch SBS 2008 and Essential Business Server (EBS) between October 4-6!


Chapter 9 Faxing

In working with SBS as both a user and consultant, I’ve noticed that the true value of some of its features can only be appreciated over time. SBS’s faxing capability is one such feature.

The faxing topic is appropriately placed here, later rather than sooner, because it is usually one of those features my clients suddenly discover well after the installation and deployment of the SBS solution. Whereas the main priorities out of the gate for most SBS sites are Internet connectivity, e-mail, and being secure, faxing is usually something I can demonstrate when things settle down and I have the client’s undivided attention. After other core SBS features, such as Outlook 2003, are accepted and widely used, the time is ripe to introduce faxing.

To balance my introduction of the faxing topic, full disclosure is necessary. I have some clients who view faxing as akin to religion. Implementing an electronic, network-based faxing solution, such as that found in SBS, acted as a key driver in their approval of the SBS network implementation project. And not only do I know this firsthand from selected clients, but I also know it from the e-mails you—the readers of my past SBS books—have sent me. Many of you commented at length how important faxing is in a small business environment networked with SBS. In fact, the dialog between reader and writer (that’s me) revealed a couple of interesting points:

• Faxing, when used, is considered very important.

• In general, SBSers were disappointed with the reliability and capability of the faxing application in the SBS 4.x era (late 1990s).

• SBSers in the past (specifically, the SBS 4.x era) have opted to deploy third-party faxing solutions, such as GFI Fax, instead of using the native faxing capabilities inside SBS.

• Readers also reported that they truly got what they paid for in fax modems. Those who went with the low-cost modems (often included with workstations) frequently experienced poor performance. Contrast that with the experience of those who invested in a superior fax modem such as the external V.Everything modem. For an investment of about $250 USD, the folks using the V.Everything modem found that they could achieve five 9’s or six sigma of reliability with the Shared Fax Service in SBS. It just flat out works!

The good news about the Shared Fax Service is that Microsoft listened over the years to the feedback on faxing within the SBS community. In the prior SBS 2000 release (the predecessor to SBS 2003), the fax application, is one area that received some of the greatest attention. And the results showed. Truth be told, it was actually a crack team of developers at Microsoft Israel who “rewrote” or reprogrammed the fax application from the ground up to take advantage of a more stable and robust Windows 2000 code base. This occurred in the summer of 2000. I share this historical insight with you because knowing how we got to where we’re at with faxing in SBS 2003 makes you wiser about the faxing function offered in SBS. That is, I’m providing historical context for ya! More important, if SBS previously lost your trust with respect to faxing, I think this release will restore that trust.

BEST PRACTICE: It’s the crime of the century. It’s the Shared Fax Service caper. It’s a big brother ripping off a little brother. What am I getting to? That the Shared Fax Service that was built for SBS 2000 just after the beginning of the new century was stolen by the Windows Server team for inclusion in the traditional Windows Server 2003 family. That’s right! The Shared Fax Service perfected for SBS was soooo good that it’s been, shall we say, borrowed for the other server products at Microsoft. In the world of intellectual property, there is certainly no greater compliment than theft, so the Fax Service

developed for SBS being co-opted for the other Microsoft Servers

operating systems is quite an affirmation of its value!

In the first part of the chapter, basic SBS faxing is defined as well as configured. You will also learn how to send and receive a fax. In the second half of the chapter, I discuss fax reporting and other advanced fax topics.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Beyond Remote Desktop in SBS 2003

Hi gang - I am Harry Brelsford, the author of Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best PRactices and I am writing this today from Ocean Shores WA where I am fitting in a few vacation days before fall!

Each day - I like to post up a few pages from my book for your reading pleasure. I will do this unitl SBS 2008 ships and my new Small Business Server 2008 Blueprint book is on the shelves (around November 12th).

Today is a guest column from Frank Ohlhorst, well-known industry media guy now at Ziff-Davis. He speakes towards looking beyond RDP or remote desktop in SBS 2003. This concludes Chapter 8 of my book.


Harry Brelsford | CEO at SMB Nation |

Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, CNE, CLSE, CNP, MCP

And don't forget my SMB Nation 2008 fall conference is just five weeks aways in Seattle where we host a SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 luanch party!

Beyond Remote Desktop, the path to remote control.

Frank J. Ohlhorst

Small Business Server 2003 does a wonderful job of bundling remote access capabilities, but there are some drawbacks to how the product goes about that.

First off, there are some minimum requirements that must be met for those features to be viable, namely having Windows XP professional on the client PCs. That requirement leaves those using earlier operating systems out in the cold. Another limitation is that Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection uses Terminal Services, in other words it is a remote session, not a remote control solution. That prevents sharing the desktop with a remote user, a key requirement

for training or troubleshooting problems remotely. To overcome those limitations, integrators can turn to several third party

vendors for remote control packages, ranging from Symantec’s PCanywhere to hosted services such as, but selecting one of those products requires an additional expense, which can be a hard sell, especially as SBS2003

includes the “remote desktop connection” feature. Savvy integrators can turn to a freeware/open source product called VNC

(Virtual Network Computing), which can be downloaded from What makes VNC unique (beyond it being free) is that it is a multiplatform

product, in other words you can control a windows system from a linux system or solaris system or vice versa and VNC is quite compact and easy to use. VNC is a two part product, there is a server component and viewer component. The server component is installed on the system to be controlled, while the remote user uses the viewer component to take control of a remote system. VNC is a barebones product, and just offers basic remote control capabilities, with that in mind there are a few tricks integrators need to know to use the product. First off, VNC will not search for a system on the network, you must know the destination system’s IP address. Secondly, you will need access to the internal network to connect to a system. That can be a problem, but one easily solved by

Visit for additional SMB and SBS book, newsletter and conference resources.

just using the included VPN server that comes with SBS2003. Once you have established a VPN connection, just input the IP Address of the target PC into the VNC viewer application, enter a password and the remote control session becomes active.

While third party products may offer more robust features, such as file transfer and search features, integrators will find that VNC fits the bill for most remote support needs and at a price that can’t be beat.


I started the chapter emphasizing how important it is for mobile workers to have robust remote connectivity. SBS 2003 is positioned very well to support these individuals with services such as the amazing RWW and an impressive update to OWA. You were educated on other mobility matters such as VPN and Terminal Services. So now it’s your moment to fly away and join the ranks of the upwardly mobile!

See you next chapter.

Monday, August 25, 2008

funny hahah - did I really just say that!?!?!?

The small business technology consultant is hyper-sensitive to being sold to or duped by vendors or sponsors.

Harry Brelsford, founder and CEO of SMB Nation.


Advanced Mobility in SBS 2003

Happy late August Monday to y'all!
I am the author of Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices and each day, out of the kindness of my heart (not!?!?) I post up a few pages of my book for you to read. I will do this until SBS 2008 ships this fall.
Today we explore advanced mobility topics at the end of Chapter 8.
Harry Brlesford | ceo at SMB Nation |
Microsoft Small Business Specialist, SBSC, MBA, CNE, MCSE, MCT, CLSE, CNP, and MPC
ps - I host an annual SBS and SBSC conference in Seattle each October - this year we celebrate SBS 2008 - see u there?

Advanced Topics

How ‘bout an advanced bushel of “quick hitters” on mobility and remote connectivity before we move on to the next chapter? Cool!

• VPN and Terminal Services expectation management. Something I spend tons of time on in my SMB Consulting Best Practices book relates to VPN versus Terminal Services. An SBS customer will hear the VPN buzz word and ask you to come out to their house and set it up so that she can VPN into to SBS network back at the office. Upon completing your

Visit for the latest updates for any Microsoft product.


Section 2 ☛ Extending SBS 2003

duties, she is disappointed that “nothing changed” and the only evidence is a dancing green computer in the lower right. Turns out many custom­ers really want to use Terminal Services with its coolness of having a remote session, but they didn’t know to ask for it.

HTTP compression is enabled by default. One of the buzz words floating around building 43 in Redmond, where the Microsoft SBS development and marketing teams are housed, is HTTP Compression. HTTP compression speeds up OWA and is turned on by default in SBS 2003. To see for yourself, expand Advanced Management in the Server Management console. Expand SPRINGERSLTD (Exchange), Serv­ers, SPRINGERS1, HTTP. Right-click on Exchange Virtual Server and select Properties. Select the Settings tab. Observe that Compres­sion is set to High.

Shared Modem Service removed. I mentioned it earlier in the book

and it’s true. The Shared Modem Service, which facilitated outbound remote connectivity (such as dialing up a bulleting board system), can not be natively accomplished in SBS 2003. But leave it to Burl, the SBS consultant who works for me, to find a couple of third-party modem-sharing solutions: Spartacom ( modemshare.htm) and DialOut/Server ( dialoutserver/).

BEST PRACTICE: So you’re thinking about pulling a fast one, eh? Not so fast, pardner. When you upgrade from SBS 2000 to SBS 2003, you lose the Shared Modem Service. So the old upgrade switch-a-roo won’t work, buddy boy. Sorry.

• KBase article 821438. As of this writing, you should put this on your SBS 2003 radar screen for RWW. This article, titled “FIX: Antivirus Programs May Cause Some Web Applications to Restart Unexpect­edly,” relates to SBS 2003 in that RWW might be affected by this (your antivirus program could impact RWW).

• License Ticks. This is an interesting question from SBS 2003 hands-on labs students, in nearly every town, related to RWW and licensing. Basically some folks were looking for a way to purchase few client access licenses (CALs) and have many folks log on remotely (essen­tially for free). The answer I received from a Microsoft product man­ager was “No and no!” The Windows authentication process during the RWW logon “ticks” against the SBS CAL count. You gotta pay full freight for the remote users.

• Third-party. Third-party mobile worker/remote connectivity solutions you could be aware of include Symantec’s infamous PCAnywhere (ver­sion 11, $199.95). A popular grassroots solution is VNC ( shareware that relies on contributions, t-shirt sales, and mouse pad sales). Take a look at GoToMy PC, which was acquired by Citrix in late December 2003 (see the CRN article at sections/BreakingNews/breakingnews.asp?ArticleID=46811). Also consider learning more about NetSupport 8.1 as a remote management tool (­orialsID=458). See Frank Ohlhorst’s column in a moment.

Next Steps

You guessed it. Forward to dig deeper into the remote connectivity area. There are entire books on remote connectivity, VPN, and the like. A quick search at Amazon revealed several capable books on VPN computing, such as Stephen Northcutt’s Inside Network Perimeter Security: The Definitive Guide to Firewalls, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), Routers, and Intrusion Detection Systems (Que, ISBN: 0735712328).