Microsoft revealed Aug. 29 that it will not release Windows Server 2008, the successor to Windows Server 2003, on time.
In a posting to the companys TechNet site, a Microsoft spokesman confessed that "Windows Server 2008, which we have been saying would Release to Manufacturing (RTM) by the end of the calendar year, is now slated to RTM in the first quarter of calendar year 2008."
The blogger quoted Program Manager Alex Hinrichs as saying, "It just needs a little more time to bake."
The delay cannot come as much of a surprise to customers and partners, who have watched the Redmond, Wash., giant stumble out of the gate with new product introductions, most recently Vista.
However, the delay also affects Microsofts Viridian hypervisor, which Microsoft previously said would ship 180 days after Windows Server 2008. This delay further pushes the introduction of this crucial piece of technology until the end of 2008 or even 2009, noted John Abbott, an analyst with the 451Group, based in London.
So while the delay may not affect customers, it will certainly have an impact on some partners and at least one big competitor.
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According to Abbott, customers will probably wait until they see Viridian before migrating from Windows 2003, which will delay customer migrations from Windows Server 2003. "Customers want to see that stuff in place, so they can run 2008 side by side with the older server and test it and not find the migration process as disruptive," he said.
Virtualization technology within Windows Server 2008 will give Microsoft a big advantage—when it arrives. "If this is embedded in the core infrastructure, it would be harder for a competitor like VMware to get in there," said Abbott.
But the delay gives VMware, based in Palo Alto, Calif., "another six months to consolidate its already huge market lead" in the virtualization space, he noted.
Abbott also speculated that Microsoft may be having trouble scaling up the hypervisor for the enterprise space. "It may be harder than they expected," he said. That, in turn, could lead Microsoft to strengthen its ties with Citrix, which recently acquired open-source virtualization technology vendor XenSource.
"They could offer that either as a sanctioned proxy or they might go even further and acquire Citrix for that technology," he said.
The blogger sought to reassure customers and partners that Windows Server 2008 will be released in time for the companys ballyhooed Feb. 27, 2008, launch event, which will feature Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008.
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