At its TechEd North America conference, Microsoft is announcing new or updated technology and information related to four key areas: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate, Office 2010 and SQL Server 2008.
During his May 11 keynote speech at the event being held May 11 to 15 in Los Angeles, Bill Veghte, senior vice president of the Windows Business at Microsoft, said, "With early RC testing and extensive partner feedback we've received, Windows 7 is tracking well for holiday availability."
Moreover, "Microsoft is committed to ensuring that IT professionals and developers continue to have the platform and technologies to drive maximum value and business results," Veghte said. "Getting the most out of IT investments is even more important in today's economy."
In addition to indicating that Windows 7 will be available to customers in time for the holiday shopping season, Microsoft noted that Windows Server 2008 R2 RC also is now available, with the final product being released to market in the same time frame as Windows 7, said Robert Wahbe, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Server and Tools Marketing Group.
Wahbe said in today's economy Microsoft customers tell the company they have two primary concerns: "to drive down costs and to drive up competitive advantage."
For his part, Veghte cited the combined benefits of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 as an ideal example of delivering business efficiency and cost savings through technology. Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 include security, reliability and productivity enhancements, which, when used together, help deliver significant cost savings and productivity gains with features such as DirectAccess and BranchCache, he said.
Ward Ralston, a product manager on the Windows Server team, said Windows Server 2008 R2 RC includes several new capabilities, such as FCI (File Classification Infrastructure), a built-in solution for file classification and management. In addition, Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V now gives customers the ability to scale up to 64 logical processors, delivers improved Web experiences with IIS (Internet Information Services) 7.5, and offers increased hardware utilization and server availability with built-in Live Migration for virtualization technologies. Windows Server 2008 R2 RC is available for download.
"We are improving the efficiency of our branch offices and saving bandwidth by using BranchCache in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7," Lukas Kucera, IT services manager of Lukoil CEEB, said in a statement . "Some of our smaller facilities, such as the office in Slovakia and the storage terminal in Belgium, have just five to 10 users, so it's not efficient to deploy a file server on-site, but it consumes bandwidth to have them continually accessing files from the main servers. BranchCache is the perfect solution."
Meanwhile, Microsoft is giving TechEd attendees the first opportunity to participate in the invitation-only Microsoft Office 2010 Technical Preview program, which will be available in July 2009. The Microsoft Office 2010 wave of products boosts productivity by giving users a familiar experience across the PC, phone and browser, the company said. For IT professionals, Office 2010 will offer more choice and flexibility in how they buy and manage their IT assets, helping them reduce costs, according to Microsoft. For developers, it will provide a platform for building innovative, connected Office-related applications with greater ease, Wahbe said. More information is available here.
In addition, Microsoft announced that a Community Technology Preview of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2-formerly code-named Kilimanjaro-will be available in the second half of 2009. SQL Server 2008 R2 will empower users to make better decisions through self-service business intelligence, and help IT drive greater efficiency and reduce costs through new capabilities such as multiserver management and Master Data Services, Ralston said. In 2010, Microsoft will also introduce complex event processing for real-time insight into streaming information, the company said.