Microsoft Corp. on Monday came closer to the final release of Windows Server 2003 R2, expected before the years end, by making Release Candidate 1 available for download.
A Microsoft spokesman told eWEEK.com on Monday that the current plan is not to have another release candidate, but to next-release the code to manufacturing.
"The product is on track for delivery by the end of the year," he said.
R2 is an update release built on Windows Server 2003 SP1 and provides improved platform capabilities, branch office server solutions, identity and access management and storage management.
The final version of the product is slated for delivery by the end of the year.
There have been some 25,000 combined public downloads of beta 2 and RC0, while the Windows Server 2003 R2 Café newsgroup remains the Redmond, Wash.-based software giants number one beta newsgroup, in terms of posts, this year, the Microsoft spokesman said.
"The newsgroup also ranks in the top 3.5 percent of all Microsoft newsgroups and forums, including those that are public, private or beta," the spokesman added.
Microsoft last week also announced some licensing changes, including that the Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition would allow customers to run up to four virtual instances on one physical server at no additional cost.
Microsoft officials on Monday also reiterated how they are working with industry organizations and partners to foster interoperability and standards for virtualization technologies. The COM APIs of Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 are published publicly on MSDN and many companies have used these APIs to integrate management tools.
The company has similar plans for future Windows virtualization technology.
Microsoft has its own Virtual Server product in the market and recently decided to christen Virtual Server 2005 Service Pack 1 as Virtual Server 2005 R2.
The renamed product is still due to ship in the fourth quarter of this year. But the follow-on release is not due out until the latter half of 2006.
Microsoft is also working with the industry in the DMTF on standards for virtualization management, on industry hardware standards for device virtualization through the PCI-SIG and with the 1394 Trade Association (part of IEEE) to raise awareness of virtualization and help technologies align with future device (I/O) virtualization.
The company plans to discuss and demo some of this work at the VMWorld conference later this month.
Microsoft Gold Certified partner, 80-20 Software, also announced that its new 80-20 Compliance Server, designed to manage the retention lifecycle of electronic documents and e-mails, is available at no charge to users of Microsoft SharePoint Team Sites.