Microsoft Delays Windows Server 2008
Published: September 5, 2007
by Alex Woodie
Microsoft won't be releasing the next version of Windows Server to manufacturing as soon as it had previously hoped, the software giant revealed last week. While details concerning the cause of the delay were not forthcoming, Microsoft did state that the delay is not expected to affect the a big launch event slated for the end of February, when it plans to launch Windows Server 2008 and new versions of SQL Server and Visual Studio.
Microsoft's previous guidance on the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows Server 2008 was that it would be done by the end of 2007. Last week on it's Windows Server Division Weblog, company officials announced that the product's RTM has been delayed until the first quarter of 2008.
That RTM schedule puts the product in potential conflict with a planned triple-launch slated for February 27 in Los Angeles, where the company is planning a big event that will see the official introductions of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008. All three of those products are currently in beta tests; Windows Server 2008 is currently at the beta 3 level, a "feature complete" public release that Microsoft says has been downloaded more than 300,000 times since it became available in April.
Few details were provided concerning the latest delay to Windows Server 2008. In the blog post, Microsoft senior product manager Helene Love Snell said it was a quality issue. "Microsoft's first priority is to deliver a great product to our customers and partners, and while we're very happy with the feedback we're getting and the overall quality of the latest product builds, we would rather spend a little more time to meet the high quality bar that our customers and partners deserve and expect," she writes.
Love Snell also provided this playful analogy for keeping the product formerly known as Longhorn Server in the oven a little longer. "As one of our leading program managers, Alex Hinrichs, told me, 'It's like a brisket. It just needs a little more time to bake.' And you should try his brisket!"
Of course, this isn't the first time the product has been delayed. Indeed, the whole Longhorn development program, which has been underway since 2002, has been rife with slow progress and at least two years of setbacks. Microsoft finally got the client version of Longhorn, called Windows Vista, out the door in late 2006, freeing developers to work on Windows Server 2008.
The potential for more delays to Windows Server 2008 surfaced in April, when Microsoft announced that work on the new hypervisor for Windows Server, codenamed "Viridian," was going slower than expected. Then, in May, Microsoft announced it would dramatically scale back the features in Viridian, including dropping support for live migration, dropping support for the capability to "hot-add" storage, networking, memory, and processor resources; and dropping support for 64-core systems. Instead, Viridian will support only 16 cores, or logical processors, putting the product on par with the rest of the virtualization industry.
Microsoft wouldn't comment on the reason for the delay. However, considering the recent difficulties the company has run into on the virtualization front and the strong coupling between Windows Server 2008 and the new hypervisor, it's a possibility that difficulties with Viridian are behind the latest delays. The hypervisor is still on pace to ship 180 days following the launch of Windows Server 2008.
Another reason for the delay could be Windows Vista Service Pack 1, which is now scheduled for release during the first quarter of 2008. While Microsoft has been coy on its Vista SP1 plans, it was generally believed that Microsoft wanted to get SP1 out before the end of the calendar year, which would have put it in synch with the previous schedule for Windows Server 2008. Now that Vista SP1 is on track for the beginning of next year, perhaps Microsoft decided to similarly delay the new server operating system, which shares a considerable amount of source code with Vista.
In addition to the new hypervisor, another exciting new capability being introduced with Windows Server 2008 is the new Server Core option, which will reduce the complexity and attack surface of its operating system, thereby making it more secure and easier to manage. Windows Server 2008 will also feature the new IIS 7.0 Web server, Network Access Protection (NAP), a new command-line interface and accompanying scripting language called PowerShell, stronger password protection, BitLocker encryption, new terminal services gateway enhancements that will eliminate the need for VPN, new Active Directory Rights Management Services to help protect data and ensure compliance, and new clustering capabilities.
Microsoft Preps Windows Vista SP1
Hype Machine Prepped for Windows Server 2008 Launch
Microsoft Slashes 'Viridian' Features to Meet Ship Date
'Viridian' Beta Delayed. Is Longhorn Next?
It's Official: Windows Server 2008
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