CNET News' Ina Fried reported on Wednesday morning about a new version of Windows geared toward very small businesses.
Unlike Windows Small Business Server, which comes bundled with applications, Windows Server 2008 Foundation "is only the operating system and is aimed at single-processor servers with fewer than 15 users."
I have to wonder what the point is. If Microsoft really wants small businesses to get addicted to Windows Server, the offering should be free (like Linux), or provide some kind of cloud connection services as more small business reduce reliance on on-site IT.
Perhaps a better idea would be for Microsoft to create an on-premise SMB server product that simply acts as a proxy to its online services, such as Hotmail and Live Search, and provides some kind of local or remote storage. That way, users wouldn't have to upgrade hardware or software, and Microsoft would have them locked into its cloud services.
In my nearly 15 years of IT experience, I've never seen a server that didn't eventually have to be upgraded--especially Windows servers. Think back a few years, to the advent of Active Directory, and remind yourself that you not only had to upgrade your software, but also your hardware and CALs.
Small businesses need to be wary of things that sound too good to be true. Windows Server 2008 Foundation doesn't come close to what you can get for free in every Linux distribution.