Small Business Server Migration

Small Business Server Migration

Stewart and Son Computer Services develops smart and cost-effective solutions for our small business clients.

Over the last 20 years, Microsoft has had a product which allows small businesses to put together complete business network computing systems together for a fraction of the cost of standard deployments of servers for a fraction of the cost.  The limitations were that only one server could exist in an environment and there could only be a fixed number of users on the system at any point.

managed security technicians in server room doing a small business server migrationThese solutions included web hosting, firewall security, email hosting, file & print, and many more services which were normally split among several physical servers.  Small Business Server (we’ll call it SBS, while it later became called Essentials).  SBS was NOT a virtualization platform however.  These different features all ran on one physical computer with no boundaries between the different services.  This frequently caused memory problems, compatibility issues and if not properly managed, frequent server crashes.

Microsoft’s most popular version: SBS 2003 is still widely used by many small businesses today.  Microsoft has announced that security updates for this platform will end and like Windows XP before it, will become more and more vulnerable to malware, viruses and hacking.  Worse still is that many small businesses are already targeted by hackers and scammers and they’ll be quick to prey on those who are late to migrate.

We’re providing some scenarios to get off this Microsoft product merry-go-round (or at least reduce a small businesses’ dependence on it) with a Small Business Server Migration, and do our part to help you keep your business safe, productive, and successful.

Pricing is for estimate purposes only.  Hardware and software technologies and prices are constantly changing.  Contact us for an estimate for your specific business needs.

Solution Components

First a quick discussion of the different components we use and how they’re used.

File Services

This is your file storage on network shares, physically located on the server.  Some new network routers actually have USB connections to share external hard drives.  You can even set up security on these.  Some of the latest external drives are over 4 TB (Terabytes) in size.  There are also inexpensive NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices which offer redundant drives, and individual user security.

Print Services

Luckily many network printers today are capable of serving as their own print server and don’t need a separate server set up.


Virtual private networks are a mainstay for mobile small business people.  Accessing the server or office resources while on the road can easily be handled by some of the newer Router/Firewall devices and cost less than $200.


In most cases we advocate cloud backup storage for two important reasons: It’s hands off.  Set it up and forget it.  Secondly, it solves both your need to back up your data, and the need for disaster recovery.  Do you have a plan for a disaster such as a fire in your office?  Cloud storage can be a very inexpensive solution.


Today’s Router/Firewalls have very robust security features for no additional subscription costs.  You can add perimeter antivirus, anti-spam and content filtering if you need; for a relatively inexpensive subscription.  Most offices don’t need that however.


Hosting email in-house is rarely necessary.  Cloud services today can not only offer what your old SBS server can, but there’s smooth integration with your mobile devices and even telephone systems for a comprehensive communication platform for a fraction of what Exchange costs.


Like email, hosted websites are limited by the internet bandwidth you have in your office.  A heavy email day could mean slow internet performance and even worse; your customers can’t enjoy your website.  We help you get cloud storage for your domain and keep the costs down and the performance up.

Micro Office, 5 People

This first scenario is a pretty typical micro-business setup.  This one can see the greatest benefit in not just Small Business Server Migration for cost savings but the security in having a much more secure backup solution than Windows Server Backup.

First up, we move the email and web hosting to the cloud.  This service is only $120/year.a picture representing our clients as four business people around a table with some charts happy after a small business server migration

Next we set up a new Router/Firewall $100 with an attached external hard drive 2 TB, $130.  We also set up the VPN access to get to the computers and data on the network.

Now we can migrate the 5 workstations from a domain environment to a workgroup environment. Including print redirection and connection to the new file service.  $200

Lastly, we set up cloud backup.  Most small businesses have under 200 GB of storage needed so we can use Amazon Cloud Backup. $200/yr.

For this small office scenario, including all parts and labor, can be as little as $750.  After that first year, they’re spending just $27 a month to keep everything that SBS was giving them before, with more security and less headache.

Small Office, 15 People

We have a few people in the office now and we’re thinking they’ll need to keep the feature of shared calendars in email, group mailing lists, along with mobile device access and forwarding features.  So we need to use a little more robust email and web solution in this small business server migration.  The mailboxes are $10/month per user.  So the first year will be about $2,000.

Our Router/Firewall solution needs to handle some more bandwidth so we’ll bump that up.  $300

File storage is going to need a reliable NAS so we’ll need to get 3 TB of storage with a redundant drive.  $550

We need to do that migration of all the 15 computers to the new workgroup environment.  $700

Let’s stick with cloud backup for this solution; we’ll be paying a bit more, but we can get the workstations AND the NAS backed up.  $500

A few more devices, and a bit more monthly cost.  For comparison, consider that a file server is about $2,000, and backup drives can be as much as $500.  Exchange server software alone is $2,000.

In this solution we have an initial setup of $4,050, but after the first year, it’s only $210 per month, with all the features and advantages of your old Exchange server; only you don’t have to worry about the maintenance of an in-office server!

Medium Office, 30 People

Here we have a good sized office which has project teams and individuals needing secure access to different parts of the file server.  They also have the same email needs as the small office.  We need to look closely at the cost of in-house mail server versus cloud.  The client has to make the commitment to a healthy internet connection in order to host it internally as well as anything else they care to keep in the office.  In this case we’ll go with an in-house server for this Small Business Server Migration.

We need to get a Microsoft Windows Server with licensing for these users since they have complex security needs. We will also use it for file storage.  $3,900

The Exchange server with licensing for 30 people and sufficient space for large mailboxes, $6,000.  As an alternative, you could go with an open source mail server for free, and only spend $2,500 but you might be missing a few needed features, including shared folders and Outlook integration.

The 30 workstations could migrate to the new domain from SBS with just a little bit of work, so there’s a savings on setup.  $750

Our Router/Firewall solution needs to handle some more bandwidth so we’ll bump that up.  $300

Lastly our backup solution.  We’re probably getting upwards of 1 TB of backup which gets expensive in the cloud.  In this case we could work with the client to see if they’re willing to use external hard drives which they’d swap out daily or weekly.  $250

With an Exchange server replacement there’s only a one-time cost of $11,200, but you can take $3,500 off for the open source version.

In this last scenario we can see no monthly subscription services needed but we have new servers which will need monitoring and maintenance.  We highly recommend Stewart and Son’s Managed Services for this scenario, which includes free monthly maintenance, a free service call every month, and discounted service call rates with no travel charges.  $1,200/month (or less depending on services).


These are scenarios painted in broad strokes; remember that your business has unique requirements that might make for some subtle differences in these quotes. Remember to get a free consultation from us to make sure you get the Right Solution at the Right Time!