Last June there were a lot of questions floating around how Windows 2008 Servers could be accessed inside of an SBS 2003 R2 environment since Windows 2008 Server was available; however, SBS 2008 was not yet released. As you know, an SBS 2003 CAL doesn’t have rights to access a Windows 2008 Server since the Windows Server has a higher version number than the SBS Server (2008 vs. 2003).
To help out in the transition between the availability of Windows Server 2008 and SBS 2008, we put a special offer in place where those who purchased SBS 2003 R2 CALs (this means you had to have an SBS 2003 R2 Server license since the CALs themselves are not R2 specific), you could use your SBS 2003 R2 CALs to access any Windows 2008 Server in the SBS 2003 R2 domain until May 31, 2009. This provided you with a full 12 months to start to make the transition to 2008. (You can see my post on this topic HERE) It is now June, 2009, which means that the grace period of May 31, 2009 is now passed.
At this point, to access a Windows 2008 Server in your SBS domain, you will now need to have SBS 2008 CALs or Windows Server 2008 CALs. For any of you that had Software Assurance on your SBS 2003 CALs that was in place at the time of the SBS 2008 launch, you’re good to go since they would have received the automatic upgrade to SBS 2008 CALs. If you need to upgrade your SBS 2003 CALs to SBS 2008 CALs, you should take a look at the Solutions Pathway option or you could even consider moving to something like an Open Value Subscription agreement for your SBS 2008 CALs and get the 50% discount through the Up-To-Date Discount offer that your SBS 2003 CALs would qualify you for.
Thank you and have a wonderful day,
Eric Ligman – Follow me on Global Partner Experience Lead Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights Bookmark on: MSDN , TechNet, and Expression
But I don't have SBS 2008 installed. While I have SBS 2008 cals, only SBS 2003 cals are in use.
@ Susan - As long as you have SBS 2008 CALs, you are fine, since the version number of the CALs you own (2008) meets or exceeds the version number of the Windows Server you are accessing (2008). Using downgrade rights to use your SBS 2008 CALs as SBS 2003 CALs does not change the fact that you own SBS 2008 CALs, so they do allow for access to Windows 2008 Servers in the SBS domain.