Foundation Edition is still the Grand Child of SharePoint Product Family. It is the Super Man of Small Level Organization’s Collaboration Arena !
SharePoint Foundation is the greatest free Platform i have ever experienced. Microsoft has already built it up to a very good level where bunch of out of the box features and functionalities are bundled. when you installed it and open up the Central Administration for First time, You wont see any single difference in UI Level but some of the advance Services and Service Applications aren’t There.
at 2007 when SharePoint was named as Office SharePoint Server 2007, Foundation was there as WSS 3.0 which is Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. Many Small and Medium Size Organizations started playing with WSS 3.0 where they wanted to explore what SharePoint is all about. WSS was a Really good kick-off in the SharePoint product history. it made a big noise in the both Technical and end user arenas. When SharePoint 2010 Introduced, SharePoint Foundation 2010 came to the scene as a improved little hero and now with 2013 i can see that it’s getting armed with more OOTB Features (e.g. Search Services are bundled in !).
So What is SharePoint Foundation all about ?
SharePoint Foundation is the entry level Platform of SharePoint Product Family. with the growth of product through several version releases, Foundation edition also has improved with same UI and core functionalities such as below.
– Web Applications
– Site Collections | sites (with number of OOTB Templates)
– Lists and Libraries (with number of OOTB Templates)
– Wikis and about 50 more core (Major) features
Where it suits and to whom ?
for Small and Mid Size organizations who are interested of starting with Web Based Secure Collaboration. and i believe that any developer who is interested to start with SharePoint, he/she should start with Foundation edition so that he/she can simply understand with edition level variations.
Backend Database Practices
Except the Services and Service Applications, SharePoint Foundation doesn’t have many barriers on features (meaning here for startups) but if you look for totally free solution with SQL Server Express (Free) backend there’s a obvious Barrier on Backend when your solution grows up. For an instance SQL Server Express supports only limited size of Hardware Resources (Processors | Cores | Memory) and Limitation of DB size and Instance Size would be a challenge specially when the solution grows up.
When it comes to Small-Mid Size production environments with SharePoint Foundation, it would be better to have SQL Server Standard or Enterprise (Based on the Requirements)
What You don’t get in Foundation ?
– Audience Targeting
– Document Sets
– OOTB Workflow Templates (Signature Approval etc..)
– and about 40 + More Features than Foundation
– Access Services
– Excel Services and Power pivot for SharePoint (combined with SQL Server Enterprise)
– Visio Services
– InfoPath Forms Services (one of the most useful massive capability)
– Calculated KPIs
How we can Leverage ?
as i was saying, SharePoint Foundation is the core Platform of the entire product range. it is extremely open for you to extend with your own solutions and customizations and that’s where we got to love it.
These tools and Resources are doing outstanding job to make you armed with custom solutions.
1. SharePoint Designer (Customizations)
2. Visual Studio (Developments)
3. Community (e.g. – Codeplex) – Codeplex community doing an exceptional work that contains bunch of free SharePoint Foundation suitable solutions.
4. Search Server Express 2010 for SharePoint 2010 (Enterprise Level Search Solutions can be implemented with this solid add-on) – See my Article here which explains step by step how you can leverage your Foundation setup with Search Server Express 2010 which is also free of cost.
5. Office Web Apps – and Yes ! this is one of the most evolving and interesting this across the collaboration arena. with office web apps you can simply open/edit Microsoft Office documents through the browser which came out with SharePoint 2010. it is also capable to integrate with Foundation (this isn’t free by the way).
Below are some free stuff from Codeplex makes your foundation environment more capable of going beyond the limits. i have tested some of these and i would highly recommend codeplex solutions when it comes to reliability and quality.
* Have a look at this filtered result of Codeplex solutions specifically for SharePoint Foundation – http://www.codeplex.com/site/search?query=SharePoint%20Foundation&ac=4
Below are some of them.
1. SharePoint Foundation 2013 Publishing Infrastructure – They have recently released an awesome add-on for Foundation 2013 which is an lightweight Publishing Infrastructure for SharePoint Foundation 2013. this is a really good news for techies out there.
2. SharePoint Foundation Synchronization – This Solution enables SharePoint Foundation administrators to synchronize Active Directory data with the User Information List.
3. ReportViewer for SharePoint Foundation – It’s Allows setting report parameters by SharePoint HTML Forms (IWebPartParameter), SharePoint Lists (IWebPartRow) and by other linked reports
4. User Profile Synchronization for SharePoint Foundation – This guy is an SharePoint 2010 Foundation Timer Job to Synchronize AD Properties (something cool as Foundation edition havent got a User Profile Service Application)
What About Hosting ?
SharePoint Foundation also supports hosting Requirements. it’s fully capable of providing Multi-tenancy requirements for Hoster’s and I have tested the same several times. Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Subscription Settings Service is the ultimate actor which provides hosting capabilities and it is there in foundation edition as well.
Check out the capabilities here in this comparison chart –https://manojviduranga.wordpress.com/?s=editions
Future Growth and Consider on Expansions
and in the other hand, when it comes to Farm | Server level, you are eligible of scaling out your Farm. SharePoint Foundation also can be implemented in three Tier method which goes as Web Tier, Application Tier and Database. you can have multiple number of Web Servers and Application Servers based on the load and Requirements.
See my Article here to understand feature comparison in latest SharePoint – https://manojviduranga.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/sharepoint-2013-editions-and-feature-comparison/
Refer here to integrate Search Server | Express for SharePoint Foundation 2010 – https://manojviduranga.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/integrate-search-server-2010-express-with-sharepoint-foundation-2010-get-the-maximum-out-of-foundation-functionalities/
You can also see the Presentation here i did at SharePoint SriLanka User Group April Session under the topic of Leverage SharePoint Foundation as it’s Max. – http://www.slideshare.net/manojviduranga/utilize-sharepoint-foundation-as-its-max
Integrate Office Web Apps with SharePoint Foundation step by step guidance – https://manojviduranga.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/convert-a-virtual-disk-via-hyper-v-2012/
Product Updates and Releases ?
Whenever Microsoft Release a Product Version, Cumulative Updates or Service packs for SharePoint Server, it releases for all three editions together (Foundation, Standard, Enterprise) so whichever the edition you use you are up to date with the technology.
Download SharePoint Foundation 2013 – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35488
Download SharePoint Foundation 2010 – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=24983
Download Office Web Apps Server for SharePoint – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35489
Download Search Server Express for SharePoint 2010 – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=18914
SharePoint Product Updates – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/sharepoint/jj891062
Cheers With Your SharePoint Journey Folks !!