Windows Foundation Server – Food for thought

At a recent AMITPRO meeting we had a presentation on Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS)

This is hosted SharePoint, Exchange, Live Meeting with other services on the way

I could see the attraction for a large company that is maybe running their own Exchange implementation (for example) and moving it off-premise into the could obviously bring some cost savings and do away with some management headaches

The problem i had was relating this to small business (I’m picking on Microsoft here but I’m thinking hosted services from anyone)

Generally small businesses will need at least one server in-house so they can at the very least do file and print sharing. For us this has meant SBS 2003 (and now SBS 2008). Regular Widows Server works about the same price or more so SBS has extra features and easy management

Since Exchange (and SharePoint) comes as a part of this why use the hosted service? (i know this is over simplifying the whole thing but bear with me)

Today Microsoft announced a product that joined the dots up a little for me

Windows Server 2008 Foundation (press release)

The product is basically Windows 2008 with a 15 user limit and some limitations such an 8Gb memory limit and no virtualisation capabilities

The idea is this would sit on a lower spec server and provide basic file and print and remote access services

I‘ve had conversations with potential new clients recently who are looking at a first server and though i never thought I’d think this SBS 2008 is actually “too big” for them. They are generally growing business who have reached the stage where they recognise they need a server based system

SBS 2008 +CALs is more expensive than SBS 2003 at the lower end and you also need a slightly beefer server (4GB minimum)

Foundation could now fill this gap

A single server in-house for the day to day stuff and then get some hosted mailboxes and voila! You could load SharePoint and WSUS and you would have a pretty decent feature set. The downside is the nice simple SBS management wouldn’t be there but if the client is taking up a managed services offering that wouldn’t really matter to them as that’d be your job!

While I’m not getting too excited about this it certainly giving me some ideas and will give an interesting alternative when talking about that first server.

No official details on price yet but the software will be available pre-installed on servers from manufacturers such HP, Dell, etc and they are looking at the under-$1000 mark (seems awfully familiar to what they said about Home Server)

Couple of other posts i found are here and here 

One to keep an eye on

Update: As usual SBSDiva has a great post on this here where she compares it to a brick…you know for building stuff with

More links here and here

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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