BARCELONA, Spain—Microsoft plans to ship Windows Server "Longhorn" and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 at the same time, expected to be in the second half of next year.
The Redmond, Wash., software maker plans to release another Longhorn CTP (Community Technology Preview) later this year, followed by another CTP in early 2007 and then Longhorn Beta 3 by the middle of the year.
"The current plan is to ship Longhorn and Vista SP1 simultaneously, as it is one source code base. So, if you follow that model, you have to ship them both at roughly the same time," Bob Muglia, Microsofts senior vice president for server and tools, told eWeek at the companys TechEd IT Forum here.
The server code will be feature-complete in early 2007, said Muglia, who put to rest speculation that Longhorn would be officially renamed Vista Server, as it is referred to on some Microsoft staff blogs.
"No. Longhorn is not going to be renamed Vista Server. We will announce the official name when we release Beta 3, which is on track for the first half of 2007," Muglia said.
But Jeff Price, Microsofts senior director for the Windows Server Group, was even more forthcoming, telling eWeek in an interview here that the product would likely follow the existing naming scheme it has for its server products, which means Longhorn will probably be named Windows Server 2007. "The name Vista is communicating the end-user experience and not the IT experience," Price said.
Once all the features are complete and included in the Longhorn code base early next year, "then we will concentrate on pure stabilization and customer testing, stress testing and long-running tests and all the stuff we do to make sure that, when Longhorn ships, it will be more stable than the current release of Windows Server 2003," Muglia said.
With regard to the current timeline for Longhorn, Muglia said that, just before Vista was released to manufacturing in early November, the code was forked. The Longhorn code tree will be the primary tree for the server team moving forward.
"Itll hold as the primary tree until some time close to when Longhorn ships, at which time the future primary source code tree will merge off and become the next release of Windows client and server. Since we forked from Vista, we have pulled up all of the last-minute Vista fixes," Muglia said.
But, in a separate build, the server team will incorporate the final set of changes to Longhorn before stabilizing the build for CTP release in the first quarter of next year.
"We will then do ongoing [Longhorn] CTPs as we get closer to Beta 3. The system has been pretty stable through all of this. I was a little nervous that the last set of changes, which werent that massive, would destabilize things, but it actually looks pretty good," Muglia said.
The second Longhorn beta has been quite stable and many customers are running it in production, Muglia said, adding that Microsoft will probably not encourage many new customers to go into production with the latest code until just before Longhorn Beta 3.
"We had more integration to do post-Vista-RTM than we had hoped we would have, so well see how this plays out," Muglia said.
Some customers who are currently testing Longhorn in production—such as Dan Farino, the chief systems architect for MySpace.com—say it is performing well compared with Windows Server 2003.
"We have only had to make a few minor configuration changes to Longhorn, and it is really stable and performing well. We plan to start running more than 20 of these servers on our standard Web platform in the near future," Farino told eWeek in an interview here.
Customers also will see the first beta of Microsofts hypervisor technology, code-named Viridian, in early 2007, Price said, noting that the company has not yet ruled out shipping Longhorn and Viridian at the same time.
"While our goal is to ship them as close as possible and we have not yet ruled out having this occur at the same time, Viridian will ship within 180 days of Longhorn Server, which has been built so that Viridian can just plug into it. That means we wont have to change anything about Longhorn Server once Viridian is built," Price said.
With regard to Microsofts expectations for Longhorn adoption once it ships, Muglia said that it would be the server of choice for people to deploy, slotting in right between their Windows 2003 and Windows 2000 servers.
"The great thing about Longhorn Server is that it is not disruptive. It has new capabilities if you want to take advantage of them for applications, but people will still be able to keep their 2003 servers," Muglia said.
The server-upgrade marketplace is not a substantive one, with most customers deploying new operating systems when they replace their hardware, Muglia said.