Microsoft Windows Server Update Services Review

While this product is versatile, the challenges of competing against capable open-source solutions make it less desirable

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use for this solution is varied and broad. There is not a single solution that we use it for because it can take on different roles. It could be an exchange server, it could be the SQL server, it could be used for security and analytics, it could be used in cross-configuration, it could be used for domain name systems, it could be a file server — the potential of the solution leaves almost limitless possibilities. It truly has a million uses.

What needs improvement?

I don't really know what can be improved in the newest version of the product because they are about to release Windows Server 2019 and I am still working with version 2016, which is the previous versions of Windows Server. I'm not aware of the current improvements in the 2019 version first-hand so I don't know how to improve the newest release.

What I hope to see in the 2019 version of Windows Server is an improvement in how terminal services are implemented. This is one of the problems with the 2016 version. There are parts where functionality would be better if it wasn't based on PowerShell commands. I'm more of a GUI (graphic user interface) guy and I like the way a graphic interface can simplify using a product. I like to be able to see the GUI windows and graphic controls and I am less interested in using the command line because it is more complicated. There is no reason why the graphic interface is not better while also allowing access to the PowerShell.

One of the most interesting things that could be improved from the 2016 version would be having the ability to use SIC codes for call centers. They have some solutions for video chat and messenger, and other communications services. But when you need the work station's IP for the phone, you have to turn to the manufacturer for a solution. For example, with Panasonic, you end up purchasing the entire stack of server IPs to host the operation and operator. On-premises, it would have been nice if it was in Microsoft Server and not implemented through linked servers or messenger servers or other options. It would have been more convenient if it were just included.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the product for over twenty years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

One of the best things about this solution is the stability. The last time I turned off and re-started one of the servers was over eight months ago. That was eight months of uninterrupted, non-stop service. It's extremely stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I'm not much involved with scalability because I don't have reason to scale with our business model as it is at the moment. 

What about the implementation team?

We implemented the solution on-premises, which means that I own the exchange. We did the installation and the server is sitting next to a door right near me.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It is not really a matter of evaluating other options because I have used this one for twenty years. Nothing is perfect but this product is good or I would not have stayed using it for so long. So I base my usage on being familiar with the solution. I might change when I find a solution that is somehow better or if this solution does not meet our needs.

What other advice do I have?

When I see the other open-source solutions — such as Linux and other options like FreeDSB or Unix — almost every one of them has an alternative solution to Microsoft Windows Server. That becomes a big problem for products that are not open-source because people don't need to spend money to get a good working product. If it comes freely, there really is no good reason to pay. The development of products that are not open-source begins to suffer in the market because the profitability is limited.

So that's a problem. Sometimes the non-open source solution would be chosen because the selection of the right product is dependent on the need and capability and not the cost. In other situations, the cost is more important and the choice will be for users to go to the open-source solutions because they are free.

The point is that choosing Microsoft Windows Server over other options is not a black-and-white proposition. There is a big gray area depending on the need.

Because Microsoft Windows Server is not open-source that makes it have limited application. In rating the product, because of that, I would rate this as only a five out of ten. This is not so much because the product is bad, but because there are so many other solutions that are essentially free that many companies can take advantage of.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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