I’m posting a bit slowly this week. Small Business Server 2008 was released on November 12 and I’m getting ready for my first migration of an existing SBS 2003 server to the new platform – trying to learn the quirks ahead of time and getting my first glimpse of the server software. I’ll be telling you more about what to expect but one thing jumps out already: Outlook Web Access is a beautiful thing with Exchange Server 2007. It’s fast and elegant and works just like Outlook 2007. (You’d have the same experience with Microsoft Online Services.)

Testing involves a few other tricks that are new to me. I’ve got a big server running behind me that’s running Windows Server 2008, the latest server software from Microsoft. An interesting fact: roughly 99% of the code is identical between Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. Literally 99% – that’s a figure from Mark Minasi, who gets accurate information about things like that.

Windows Server 2008 has a feature named “Hyper-V,” software that lets the server host “virtual computers” – computers that believe they’re running Windows XP or Vista or server software, say, and are completely convinced that they’re doing it in a metal box that belongs to them. They have no knowledge that they only exist as files being run by some other computer.

So I’ve got a copy of my own SBS server running in a virtual session on a different server, and I’m doing all kinds of irreversible things to it while I test the migration to SBS 2008, secure in the knowledge that my real server – the metal box – is sitting over on the other side of the room completely untouched by all of it.

It’s an interesting and mindbending world. I’ll have more to tell you when I’m swimming in shallower waters.

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