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  • (01. January 2010., 10:27:49)

Author Topic: Microsoft slates Windows Server 2008 for February 2008 launch  (Read 3080 times)

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Today at the Worldwide Partner Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft's chief operating officer, Kevin Turner, announced that Windows Server 2008 (previously known as Longhorn), Microsoft SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008 will be officially launched on February 27, 2008. This may come as a surprise to those following the Windows 2008 Server news closely, since most sources at Microsoft have been insisting that the next version of its server operating system will released at the very end of 2007. Apparently in Redmond there is a difference between releasing the OS and the extravagant product launches, which are more of a pep rally for the product then a technical presentation.
Since this news comes in the context of a speech at the Worldwide Partner Conference, the focus is on money and how much Microsoft Partners can expect to make off the release of these three products. With lackluster Vista sales, along with Apple and Linux continuing to push hard for acceptance in the corporate workplace, this year most resellers have had to rely on Office 2007 to make their sales numbers. Next year could be a different matter. Windows Server 2008 integrates tightly with Vista, which will help speed adoption of both OSes in the corporate world.  (I know personally of several Fortune 500 companies that are waiting on Server 2008 before starting their Vista rollouts, including my own.)

Partners can also expect those who are waiting for Vista's Service Pack 1, which is slated to be released about the same time as Server 2008, to get off the fence, further boosting sales (as much as $128 billion, according to Turner). One possible downside to the announcement is that since companies now have a hard date for the release of these products, they may push their adoption dates back so they can do them en masse—something that neither Microsoft nor their partners want to see.

I am really excited about Windows Server 2008. Not only does it build on Server 2003's emphasis on security and ease of management, but it hits two really important points: Terminal Services and virtualization. There is no doubt that virtualization is one of the hottest topics in the data center, and Microsoft has addressed this by making Windows Server 2008 more effective as a virtual machine with their core roles, but the company also plans on releasing the update to Virtual Server soon after the release of Windows Server 2008—albeit with out all the bells and whistles they originally planned. Smaller virtual machines running on a more efficient hypervisor makes for a happy data center.

On the Terminal Server side, a lot of functionality that previously required additional software is now being bundled into the core OS for free. This is a godsend for those IT departments running on a lean budget who want to support additional features but cannot justify the added expense of a full-blown Citrix environment.

No matter how you slice it, Windows Server 2008 will be a big deal. Obviously it's not going to sell as many copies as a desktop OS like Vista, and certainly it will have fewer people that see it face to face, but IT departments know that the core of their infrastructure needs to be as stable and as flexible as possible. So far, everything I've seen of Windows Server 2008 leads me to believe that Microsoft has done a good job listening to customer feedback and is on target to make this a must-have upgrade for all but the smallest companies.
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