Windows Server 2008 Finally Released to Manufacturing

The event marks the end of the almost five years that it has taken Microsoft to get the operating system out of the door.

Microsoft has hit the final milestone in the long and rocky road to Windows Server 2008, announcing Feb. 4 that it has released to manufacturing the final code for that product.

The software maker will also issue customer advice and guidance about upgrading, as well as consolidated information on the upgrade tools it will offer to help with this.

The release to manufacturing marks the end of almost five years that it has taken Microsoft to get Windows Server 2008 out the door, following the release of Windows Server 2003 in April 2003. Microsoft made the updated Windows Server 2003 Release 2 available in December 2005.

Microsoft had initially hoped to ship Windows Server "Longhorn" and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 at the same time-in the second half of 2007-but the release of the server software was delayed.

Microsoft will launch Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 at a wave of events titled "Heroes happen {here}" beginning Feb. 27 in Los Angeles.

In an interesting turn of events, Windows Server 2008 and Vista SP1 could still ship at the same time, as Vista SP1 is expected to be released before the end of March. But that is unlikely as the company wants the focus to be on the three new products.

Microsoft's virtualization hypervisor, known as Hyper-V, has also been pushed out as a result of the delays in the server software and is now expected to ship within 180 days of Windows Server 2008.

eWEEK Labs tests Windows Server 2008 virtualization.

"When Windows Server 2008 ships, those versions that have Hyper-V will include the beta bits for that, and those will be updated to the final version when that ships within 180 days," Brad Anderson, Microsoft's general manager for the Windows and Enterprise management division, said in November.