Microsoft has a new Windows Server timetable. It is committing to provide a minor "update" Windows Server release roughly every two years, and a major release every four years.
Microsoft officials are on a U.S. media tour this week, explaining the companys latest thinking about how and when to release new versions of its server platform.
Based on the new roadmap, for the remainder of the decade, customers can expect the following:
- Windows Server 2003 Update (code-named "R2") in 2005
- Windows Server Longhorn in 2007
- Windows Server Longhorn Update in 2008
- Windows Server Blackcomb in 2010+
While the forthcoming releases, according to this schedule, are spaced three years apart, Microsofts ultimate goal is to deliver new functionality every two years, once it gets on track with its timetable, said Bob Muglia, Microsofts senior vice president overseeing the Windows Server System.
"We want a great deal of predictability for our customers," Muglia told Microsoft Watch on Wednesday.
Microsofts Windows roadmaps for both its client and server have been in disarray as of late. Company officials have been fuzzy about when and whether to expect new product releases in the coming months and years. But in the past two weeks, the company has been attempting to get its roadmap house in order.
Before Microsoft delivers R2, it is planning to roll out Microsoft Virtual Server 2005; Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1; a single Windows Server 2003 64-bit Extended Systems release for AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon EM64; the Server Performance Advisor feature pack; and the Windows Update Services (formerly known as Software Update Services) feature pack, Muglia confirmed.
"Going forward, expect us to do fewer feature packs," he said. Instead of releasing new layered functionality in this form—which customers have found difficult to locate and download—Microsoft will bundle up new features in the interim Windows Server Update releases, he said.
The anticipated R2 release, which Microsoft expects to deliver next year, will build on top of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, Muglia said. Because Microsoft is not changing the Windows Server 2003 binaries—except in a very few, specialized cases, according to Muglia—"customers wont need to run typical regression tests" on this release. Consequently, Microsoft will be able to roll it out more quickly than a typical new operating-system release, Muglia said.
New features expected to be included in R2 will include network-quarantine security facilities; Windows Rights Management Services; SharePoint Services collaboration software; and TrustBridge identity-federation/management technology.
Muglia refuted the rumor that Microsoft might deliver a workstation complement to R2, supposedly code-named "D2." Instead, he said, expect the 64-bit X86 Windows XP client to fulfill the role of a Windows Server workstation product.
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