It had been announced a while ago already, but today Microsoft finally took the wraps off its latest server offering: Windows Server 2008 Foundation. Foundation is a cut-down version of the Server 2008 family, but Microsoft uncharacteristically did not remove all that much. It won’t be sold as a stand-alone product; rather, OEMs get to sell it pre-installed.
The limitations imposed upon Windows Server 2008 are fairly reasonable. It can only serve up to 15 users, but does not support virtualisation and integrated e-mail, while the other versions of Server 2008 also have simplified management. Another limitation is an 8GB RAM limit, but Microsoft explains that the machines that are going to power Foundation won’t really need more at this point.
Windows Server 2008 Foundation will sadly not be offered as a stand-alone product, but will only be available through complete packages by OEMs; in other words, you buy a machine with Foundation pre-installed, ready to go. Prices of these packages will remain below 1000 USD, Microsoft promises. Hopefully, your local software reatiler will soon start offering OEM copies, since there are probably a lot of small businesses out there that already have a machine.
Steve Ballmer made a statement about Foundation today, and explained that between now and September 30 2009, a portion of every Foundation sale will go to the non-profit organisations TechSoup and Telecentre. These organisations help non-profit organisations around the world with technology.