Saturday, March 06, 2010

Microsoft Kills EBS

Well, it is now official.  Microsoft has killed EBS.  Although it was almost a good product, and with EBS version 2 looking like they had addressed some of the major shortcomings of the EBS 2008 release, Microsoft has blamed "new IT trends" for killing off EBS.

That's not quite right.

The totally and utterly abysmal Hands On Labs that were released as training for EBS, in which 100% of the 9 attendees in Brisbane has 100% of the labs fail went a long way to ensuring that none of us were actually interested in selling the product.  And after I reported back to both Microsoft (who wrote or at least commissioned the HOLs) and Excom who were the poor suckers who had to deliver them, the HOLs were pulled worldwide pending a rewrite.  A rewrite that never came, that is.  Microsoft didn't seem to want people to learn about EBS.

In addition to this, EBS wasn't really designed with a reseller channel in mind.  The Enterprise guys would only ever scoff at it because it was Wizard-driven and the SMB channel scoffed at it because it included System Center Essentials, an extremely heavy, slow system monitoring and management tool that didn't allow for remote monitoring and management in the way many of the MSP tools that we were already using did, meaning that if an SMB partner was to sell EBS, then they'd lose their MSP tool revenue stream and have a client stranded using SCE.

Yes, we mentioned this all to Microsoft when they first introduced the product.  But it was too late - the product was developed internally and then they needed to find a channel through which to sell it.  It shows that Microsoft not only doesn't really know their SMB channel all thatw ell, it shows that they don't know their larger SMB clients all that well, either.

So, with all the development that's gone into EBS version 2 up until now, Microsoft has decided to pull the product from sale as of 30 June, 2010.  The one thing that EBS clients will seriously miss when they take the offered upgrade to full products is Remote Web Workplace - the one other thing that EBS admins will miss is the Administration Console.

As to pricing, well, back during the waste of 2 days that was the EBS HOL, we as a group sat down and looked at Australian EBS pricing versus WS2K8 Ent + Exchange + SQL + an MSP product + a firewall that we're used to and EBS didn't stack up all that well back then.  Now with WS2K8R2 Ent being available as a base, and with either Exchange 2007 or 2010 being able to be run on it, EBS, at the price it was, is even less of interest.  Especially with the functionality that RDS on WS2K8R2 offers as a replacement (lame one, admittedly) for RWW.

Anyway, as it stands now, a product that wasn't really all that well thought out to start with, that was pushed through a channel who wasn't really all that interested in it because of both its FTMG and SCE components, that had an utter failure of a HOL released for it, that wasn't followed up by a functional HOL, that was under some serious development which was looking *rather* promising is being pulled by Microsoft because of "new IT trends".  Yeah, right - it is being pulled because it wasn't built nor targetted correctly in the first instance, because despite the feedback, it took Microsoft ages to address the big issues, and because, despite the fact that the version 2 is looking nice, the product didn't bring enough return, so the accountant running the once good technology company has pulled the product.

That's what you get for letting an accountant run a tech company!  :(


The Outspoken Wookie

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