Microsoft Watch – Server – Microsoft Readies Windows Server 2008 Foundation:

Interestingly, the Microsoft documentation compares Foundation to Windows Server Standard rather than Small Business Server. Windows Server Foundation must then be a subset of Windows Server 2008 rather than SBS. Some key differences between Foundation and Standard:

  • 64-bit only, whereas Server Standard also comes in a 32-bit version
  • No virtualization, whereas Server Standard comes with one license
  • 15-user limitation, which means Microsoft’s target market is the very small business
  • Routing and Remote Access and Terminal Services Gateway are each limited to 50 users compared with 250 for Server Standard
  • Internet Authentication Service is limited to 10 users, versus 50 for Standard Server.

Windows Server Foundation is less than I expected. I had speculated that Microsoft would strip down features, using the existing “core” approach, to offer software specialized for different small business tasks. Instead, Microsoft has changed licensing terms, simply turning off broader capabilities available in higher-end Windows Server 2008 versions.

According to the marketing material, the software will be preinstalled on servers, which insinuates that there will be no boxed software. Microsoft’s key message to resellers:

Server Foundation provides organizations with the foundation to run popular business applications. It’s an affordable platform for core IT capabilities, including file and print sharing, remote access and security features. A familiar Windows experience makes it easy for organizations to get up and running.

Among questions the Microsoft sales material suggests that they should ask:

  • Do you have cost-conscious, small-business customers?
  • Do your customers want genuine software at an affordable price?
  • Do your small-business customers need to print, share files and connect to the Internet?
  • Do you want to optimize your existing investments in Windows Server to sell to more customers?

There are questions I still can’t answer about Windows Server Foundation:

  • Will it be installed on an appliance, like Lotus Foundations?
  • Will Microsoft bundle productivity and message applications?
  • What will a Windows Server Foundation system cost?

Based on information available to me, I must regard Server Foundation as a competitive response to Lotus Foundations and other Linux server software. The tweaked licensing terms tip off Microsoft’s intentions, as do the licensing terms allowing easy upgrades to Windows Server Standard. Microsoft already has a very good product for the target market: Small Business Server. Does it really need another?

To the partner who just the other day was looking for an economical package to serve is 5-10 user space cheaper than SBS 2008, yes this solves a need.  To the partner who is looking for a remote DC for a branch office, this serves a need.  To the partner looking for a cheap second server, yes this serves a need.

Stay tuned and more leaks out from Redmond about Foundation server.



Comments are closed.