We now have Search Server Express 2008 RC running on a Small Business Server R2 Premium. After installing Windows Sharepoint 2007 we installed Search Server Express 2008. Now because it is SBS 2003 R2 Premium (which includes SQL Workgroup 2005) we decided to install the Sharepoint databases there. During the Search Server Express 2008 installation it seems to look where Sharepoint is installed and if it is at least on SQL Server 2005 Express or better it installs its own databases in the same location. so in our case we now have Windows Sharepoint 2007 and Search Server 2008 Express both configure to use SQL 2005 workgroup databases.
Now it did seem to take quite a while to complete the configuration of Search Server Express 2008 on the SBS machine, but we have generally noticed this to be standard. So don't worry, Search Server Express does take a while to complete its installation. With the software installed we created a data share and dumped a whole lot of files in there. Next we scheduled Search Server to index not only Sharepoint but also this data share.
Once the schedule has run we could now successfully search both the server data share and Sharepoint. Impressive to say the least. Now that we were a bit hypo with this success we decided to install Search Server Express onto our production SBS server. Whoa there....we then remembered that Search Server Express 2008 still isn't production software yet! Over the years we have learnt the hard way that you SHOULDN'T install beta software onto production machines.
Dang, we'll just have to wait for the final code to be released but the more we see the more we love Microsoft Search Server Express 2008.