Windows Server 2003 Set for RTM

Microsoft expected to release Windows Server 2003 family of products to manufacturing on Friday.

Microsoft Corp. is expected to announce on Friday that it has released the Windows Server 2003 family of products to manufacturing. This is the last engineering stage before the product family is widely released at an eventin San Francisco on April 24.

Bill Veghte, the corporate vice president of Microsofts Windows Server group, is expected to announce the RTM tomorrow morning in an international media teleconference. He is also expected to give details of the exact product set and to say when the various SKUs (Web, Standard, 32-bit and 64-bit Enterprise, and 32-bit and 64-bit Datacenter) will start shipping preloaded on various servers, sources said.

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment ahead of tomorrows teleconference.

Microsoft has also previously said that it will deliver "layered services," those components of Windows Server 2003 that were too late to make it into the final shipping product, at later dates. These components will run on top of Windows Server and will not require the operating system to be reinstalled.

They will be delivered later this year and in the first half of next year, and include the Real Time Communications and Collaboration Server; SharePoint Windows Services, the Group Policy Management Console, Windows Rights Management and Automated Deployment Services.

Veghte is also expected to address the issue of whether or not Microsoft intends to release a server version of Longhorn, its next-generation Windows release. Microsoft has been backpedalingsince senior vice president Brian Valentine recently told the press that Microsoft is planning on doing a server version of Longhorn, its next-generation Windows release.

But, after those comments, Windows Server group product manager Bob OBrien told Microsoft Watchthat "Brian was just thinking out loud…there are no plans for a Longhorn server. That is not on the boards and Longhorn will continue to be a Windows client release only."

But he did say the company was considering issuing a "Limited Edition" release of some of the server technologies that would complement Longhorn. This would be akin to the 64-bit version of Windows 2000, Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition server, that Microsoft currently has on the books.

Like Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition, a Longhorn server Limited Edition—if it becomes reality—would be made available to a very targeted set of customers.

Earlier this month Microsoft finally also released licensing and pricing options for the upcoming Windows Server 2003 family. As first reported by eWEEK, the pricing model consists of a server operating system license and incremental Client Access Licenses (CALs) "and is designed to allow for complete scalability of your cost in relation to your usage," Microsoft said.

Microsoft kept the prices for Windows Server 2003 essentially the same as for Windows Server 2000. Retail pricing for the different products starts at $399 for the Windows Server 2003 Web Edition, Microsofts Web server product that requires no CALs. The standard server product, known as the Standard Edition, is priced at $999 and includes five user or device CALs.

The enterprise server product, the companys Enterprise Edition, costs $3,999 and includes 25 user or device CALs. Microsoft did not disclose the pricing and licensing terms of the top-of-the-range Datacenter Edition, which is only available through qualified OEMs.

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