My post of October 31st generated a lot of discussion which meandered far from the original topic but did show that the business proposition of Foundations Server isn't clearly understood by everyone.
* It's not just the Lotus answer to Microsoft Small Business Server (but it matches MS SBS quite well in a feature by feature comparison).
* It's not just a Lotus Domino server running on Linux (but it does run Domino applications and email).
* It's not just a File and Print server (but it can do those things as part of an existing Windows network and can even run as a Directory server if you want to completely remove all Windows servers).
Lets look at a Small Business and ask them what they want. If they mention a product name then slap them around a bit, throw them to the floor and tell them to start again. We want to focus on the business needs rather than the possible solutions.
* Identity management to control secure login to the network.
* File and Print services.
* Backup and Restore capability
* Firewall security
* Spam control
* Virus control
* Accounting and payroll applications
* A database engine.
* Productivity applications (Word Processing and spreadsheet)
* Line of Business applications (home grown or shrinkwrapped)
* Document control
* Maybe a web server.
Did I miss anything? Possibly, but remember that we're looking at core requirements here. Each SMB will always have their own additional unique requirements. I covered the feature set of Lotus Foundations server in a previous post and apart from the accounting and Line of Business applications, there's nothing in my list that Foundations server can't provide (you can nit pick that Symphony isn't part of Foundations but since it's a free download it won't affect my customer's budget).
If you bundle together Microsoft SBS and Microsoft Office you can get certain parts of that solution. Like Foundations you miss out on the accounting and Line of Business applications but you also have:
* a crippled version of Document control (no Sharepoint server)
* no Backup and Restore
* no Spam/virus control
* no Firewall
Add in the requirement to buy 64 bit hardware and to upskill internally so you can run Windows Server 2008, plus the complex migration path and suddenly you are charging your customer twice as much for a Microsoft solution that's only half as good as the Lotus Foundations package. Why would you do that?
Remember, if the answer is Microsoft then you're asking the wrong question.