Microsoft Launches Windows Server 'Netbook'

Windows Server Foundation will be available pre-installed on hardware from Microsoft OEM partners such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Acer and IBM, which will work within Microsoft-imposed limitations of 8 GB of RAM and a single processor.

Chris Phillips, general manager of Windows Server Solutions, says OEMs will set their own pricing for Windows Server Foundation, but he expects the majority of offerings to be in the sub-$1,000 range.

Asked whether Windows Server Foundation is aimed at Linux, Phillips said only that the software will be easier for sub-15 seat organizations to work with. "It's Windows-based, and so from an ease of use standpoint, we have an advantage there," Phillips said.

Susan Bradley, a Small Business Specialist partner in Fresno, Calif., likens Windows Server Foundation to a "Lego building block" for small businesses that need an on-premise, small form-factor server.

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"It's a base for a line of business application," Bradley wrote in a Wednesday blog post. "Unlike Small Business Server, it's not a solution. It's not a fully built Lego set -- it's a brick."

Microsoft does need a lower-cost Windows Server offering to compete more effectively with Linux, but Windows Server Foundation edition's hardware limitations will limit its impact in this regard, said Ron Herardian, president of Global System Services, a Mountain View, Calif.-based solution provider.

"Eight gigabytes of RAM may be enough for most applications at the moment, but one processor? I don't expect this product to have much of an impact on the market," Herardian said.