Straightening Out the Longhorn Time Frame

Microsoft officials, in spelling out the road map for Windows Server, clarified the company's position on how close the server version of "Longhorn" will ship after the client.

Microsoft Corp. officials, in spelling out the road map for Windows Server, last week clarified the companys position on how close the server version of "Longhorn" will ship after the client.

Bob Muglia, Microsofts senior vice president for the Windows Server Division, told eWEEK editors last week that the Longhorn server will ship in 2007, at least "six months to a year" after the Longhorn client.

Jim Allchin, Microsofts group vice president of platforms, had said earlier this month at WinHEC that the Redmond, Wash., company is synchronizing client and server development to enable them to ship close together. "We will take whatever time is needed to finalize the server, but it will not be years," Allchin had told eWEEK.

Despite the discrepancy, Muglias six-months-to-a-year time frame is still a much shorter gap between client and server operating system releases than is customary for the company. Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, for example, shipped two years apart and required separate development trees and beta-testing cycles. "None of us want to do [that] again," Allchin had said.

Last week, Muglia said that although there is a time gap, both Longhorn products are following the same development milestones. A gap is required for extra "bake time" to test the more complex server product, said Muglia. "At least six months, in reality, when you look at how long [testing] will take," he said.

Regarding the rest of the road map, Muglia said Microsoft this year will release Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, which will include reliability, security and performance enhancements. Also this year, Microsoft will release 64-bit extensions for Windows Server 2003.

By the second half of next year, Microsoft will ship a major update to Windows Server 2003, dubbed "R2," for which a beta will be delivered earlier in the year.

New features in R2 include more "thematic" advancements, Muglia said, such as the ability for Windows applications to access data remotely and securely without having to use a VPN.

The Longhorn server will feature much of the next-generation technology Microsoft has been touting for this time frame, such as the Indigo engine, IPv6 support, the WinFS file storage platform, PCI Express and dynamic partitioning for symmetric multiprocessing servers.

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