Microsoft introduces a new entry-level Windows server offering for small businesses, known as Windows Server 2008 Foundation.
Microsoft has introduced a new entry-level Windows server offering for small
businesses, known as Windows Server 2008 Foundation.
Windows Server 2008 Foundation is an entry-level server operating system for
running business applications as well as sharing information and resources in a
secure manner for small businesses with up to 15 users, according to Ross
Madlener, director of Windows Server Solutions in the Server and Tools Division
"We have a long history of working to simplify things for small and
medium businesses," Madlener said. "Only about 30 percent of small
businesses have a server, and we want to see that number increase."
Julius Sinkevicius, director of product management for Windows Server, said
a big segment of the SMB (small and medium-size business) market uses single-processor,
sub-$1,000 computers, "and Foundation is targeted for that market. For
instance, [Hewlett-Packard] will have a sub-$1,000 server with Foundation
running on it."
Indeed, Microsoft said Windows Server 2008 Foundation provides small businesses
with the familiarity of Windows while offering a straightforward purchasing
experience. The new Microsoft server offering will be available for purchase
through Microsoft OEM partners only, including Acer, Dell, HP, IBM
and Lenovo and their direct channels, with system availability in April.
Windows Server 2008 Foundation will be available in 40 markets throughout
the world and will be available in the following languages: English, Spanish,
Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese and
Turkish, according to Sinkevicius.
The new server offering is 64-bit only and is designed for one-processor
server hardware with a maximum 8GB memory. Madlener said small businesses will
be able to protect their technology investments and move up to Windows Server
Standard-which will be available in the third quarter of 2009-as they grow.
"It packs a lot of power in a single box and offers high value for the
customer," Sinkevicius said.
In addition, Windows Server 2008 Foundation has the same application logo
requirements as Windows Server 2008, Sinkevicius said. "It runs the same
applications as Windows Server Standard," Madlener said. "If an
application runs on Windows Server, it will run on Foundation."
There are some key differences between the Foundation version and Windows
Server Standard, however. Windows Server 2008 Foundation only supports up to 15
users, while the standard version supports an unlimited number of users,
Microsoft said. Foundation supports only one processor socket, while the
standard version supports four. Foundation also only supports up to 8GB of RAM,
while the standard version supports 32GB.
Also, Microsoft Server 2008 Foundation does not offer virtualization,
"We targeted this as a global product because we want to help small
businesses around the world, especially in emerging markets," Madlener
said. "We're not just focusing on U.S.
or North American customers."
Microsoft will also offer customers a simple way to make a difference in
each of these communities. The software giant will contribute a portion of the
initial sales of Windows Server 2008 Foundation to the Tech Soup and
Telecentre.org organizations. Tech Soup focuses on bringing technology to
nonprofits, and Telecentre is a global community of people and organizations
committed to increasing the social and economic impact of grassroots telecenters.
A telecenter is a public place where people can access computers, the Internet
and other digital technologies.
With Windows Server 2008 Foundation, Microsoft rounds out the low end of its
Windows Server solution offerings. However, the company provides SMBs with a
choice of offerings based on where they are in the spectrum of small and
In addition to the new Foundation offering that supports up to 15 users,
Microsoft also sells Microsoft Small Business Server 2008, which is an all-in-one
server suite for enhanced productivity and a more professional business image
and supports up to 75 users. Microsoft also sells the Windows Essential
Business Server 2008, which is an enterprise-class server suite for enhanced
manageability and security, and supports up to 300 users.
The Windows Server 2008 Standard offering is an advanced server operating
system with built-in virtualization capabilities for increased reliability and
security, and support for an unlimited number of users, the company said.
With the Windows Server 2008 Foundation offering, Microsoft hopes to further
tap the lucrative small-business market. And the company is putting in the
investment necessary to capitalize on the SMB space.
"This year alone, Microsoft will spend close to $6.5 billion on solutions,
services and support for small and medium businesses," said Steve Ballmer,
Microsoft's CEO, in a statement.
Moreover, in a Feb. 24 presentation to Wall Street analysts, Ballmer preannounced that a
new "Foundation Edition" of Windows Server was in the works. Said Ballmer:
"We are introducing a new low-cost, low-price, low-functionality Windows
server SKU. If you take a look at it, as server prices, hardware prices have
come down, we don't exactly have a netbook phenomenon, but if somebody can buy
a $500 server, they're a little loathe to spend $500 for the server operating
system that goes with it. So we have something that's akin to the netbook at
the server level, and we'll be introducing our Foundation Edition over the next
month or two."
In a statement, Ballmer said: "Today we are launching a new server-based
solution with the right technologies at the right price to give small
businesses access to the power of server-based business software. Small
businesses around the world have big business dreams and needs. ... We see this
as an opportunity not only to deliver a technical foundation for business
growth but also to create a financial foundation for community."
"Microsoft is filling a crucial hole at the low end of its Windows Server
portfolio by delivering a simple, low-cost solution geared for small businesses
and first-time server users," said Al Gillen, program vice president at
research firm IDC. "Windows Server 2008
Foundation really rounds out Microsoft's server platform and provides a
solution for a key market segment."
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.