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Fat Free Windows Server Takes Aim at Linux

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 13 comments

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has indicated to investors that Microsoft is preparing to release a low-cost, low-end version of Windows Server with stripped functionality.

The new Windows Server SKU is designed to capitalize on the ever increasing demand for basic computer functionality, which has been introduced into the market along with the netbook craze. Ballmer noted that Microsoft has a relatively small share of the hosting market where the Linux platform prevails heavily and suggested that the new ‘Foundation Server’ will be an attempt to grab server market share away from Linux.

Quoting Ballmer:

“So we have something that’s akin to netbook at the server, and we’ll be introducing our Foundation Edition over the next month or two.”

Ballmer also mentions that the Foundation Server announcement is quite interesting as well as the analogy to the netbook platform, stating that it is “yet another scenario where (a), Linux has made a serious inroads and (b), Microsoft sells a version of Windows for less than the usual price.” Some feel that Foundation Server could pose a risk and actually drive server prices down or that Foundation Server is a reaction to the recession.

The new low-cost Foundation Server will also provide benefit to the virtualization side of computing. With the availability of a lower cost version of Windows Server we may see increased usage of server virtualization. The decision to release the lower cost Foundation Edition could also be a tactical move by Microsoft that fits well with the recent virtualization agreement between itself and Redhat.

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  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , March 3, 2009 7:31 PM
    "Microsoft is preparing to release a low-cost, low-end version of Windows Server with stripped functionality." This is supposed to compete against Linux servers??? haha Sounds like another HUGE failure for MS! The full version is already at a disadvantage, how is stripping it down going to make it more appealing??? Just another POS product for MS...
  • -5 Hide
    Blessedman , March 3, 2009 7:50 PM
    Ok, I have an idea for MS but it would be risky (but solidify MS). Give the server software away, make them pay for support if they want it. Also to make sure they reap all benefits from this business model, they should get a percentage from all certificates issued(if they don't already). They would have to make some fundamental changes to the server OS (not giving desktop users a free alternative) but in the long run to be able to fight Linux on the same ground (in the server arena)would be worth it.
  • 1 Hide
    jsloan , March 3, 2009 8:51 PM
    this maybe a great idea, small companies / isp hosting websites and web services may benefit from this. also they maybe able to offer same price for windows as with linux, i want a copy to play with...
  • 3 Hide
    danimal_the_animal , March 3, 2009 9:30 PM
    ubuntu and redhat are stripped down AND full featured....both are FREE!!!!

    they are capable of anything windows can do.....i am running an ubuntu server at home with Samba, ftp, dns, mail server, vpn, the WORKS!

    i would not trade it for a paid version of Micro$oft......i am also a network administrator and all we use is microsoft....they both have their good points and bad, but linux is free and thats why i use it at home.
  • 0 Hide
    cruiseoveride , March 3, 2009 9:35 PM
    "... with stripped functionality." FAIL
  • 3 Hide
    jsloan , March 3, 2009 9:41 PM
    danimal_the_animalubuntu and redhat are stripped down AND full featured....both are FREE!!!!they are capable of anything windows can do.....i am running an ubuntu server at home with Samba, ftp, dns, mail server, vpn, the WORKS!i would not trade it for a paid version of Micro$oft......i am also a network administrator and all we use is microsoft....they both have their good points and bad, but linux is free and thats why i use it at home.



    not .net based web services and asp.net which a windows developers use.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , March 3, 2009 10:05 PM
    Window$ costs externally, that is key; anyone could say TCO and judge in favour of Windows, but external costs cannot have any possibility of cut down in cost, so how would Microsoft hope to wedge open some market with this?

    Sounds like a rebranding of Windows PE for retailers.
  • -4 Hide
    Flameout , March 4, 2009 1:36 AM
    jsloannot .net based web services and asp.net which a windows developers use.

    linux has their equivalents either out right now or in the works
  • 2 Hide
    jsloan , March 4, 2009 4:50 AM
    Flameoutlinux has their equivalents either out right now or in the works


    mono is not .net, you just can't take a asp.net website or webservice and run it with mono.

    there is java, ect alternatives, but they are not .net
  • -1 Hide
    bigdaddycool , March 4, 2009 9:01 AM
    meh this has been coming along time!!! It's nothing new....

    Here's the real story behind it.

    Windows 2008 Server is rather complex, even their core model is too put together. The truth is Microsoft is stripping 2008 Server down to enable CPANEL to take over the operating system.

    Linux is great because CPANEL ultimately plugs right into free linux distributions! eg. CentOS4

    If Microsoft can merge their immpresive kernel into a CPANEL setup I'd say Linux will go down the drain so long as cPANEL works the same.
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , March 4, 2009 10:44 AM
    articleWith the availability of a lower cost version of Windows Server we may see increased usage of server virtualization.


    If you have a datacenter license for your esx server, you don't pay extra for the individual virtual servers, so there's not much in actual savings if virtualization is the goal. But I suppose it could come in handy for cheap file or web hosting servers and the like.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 16, 2009 8:57 PM
    There isn't much more market share for Micro$oft to gain any more. Even if this does succeed and they gain what market share linux has now, they will have no where to go but down from there.

    This looks like a joke to me. Stripped functionality? How is that even a logical selling point? Linux even in its basic form has 100 times the functionality of any M$ product not to mention taking less resources. .NET? Hardly necessary unless like stated above you are a Windows based software designer. Linux is always offered free no matter what distribution it is. It has to be under the Open-Source licence. It is the service you pay for, which is still cheaper than using Windows.
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , March 23, 2009 10:29 AM
    AnonymousThere isn't much more market share for Micro$oft to gain any more. Even if this does succeed and they gain what market share linux has now, they will have no where to go but down from there.This looks like a joke to me. Stripped functionality? How is that even a logical selling point? Linux even in its basic form has 100 times the functionality of any M$ product not to mention taking less resources. .NET? Hardly necessary unless like stated above you are a Windows based software designer. Linux is always offered free no matter what distribution it is. It has to be under the Open-Source licence. It is the service you pay for, which is still cheaper than using Windows.

    That linux is always a cheaper choice, while common, is false. The actual software ofcourse is cheaper than microsoft's, but the overall cost isn't nessecarily a selling point. In the company where I work, it would increase running costs by a considerable margin if we were to replace all our windows servers, or desktops, with linux. Also we'd have to work a lot harder to make it a secure platform.

    A stripped windows isn't the point of this article. The point is a stripped price :)  the functionality loss is just to avoid loosing too many high end licenses.