Windows Server: Whats Next?

Microsoft is feting its 'best-selling version of Windows server ever.' So, what's Redmond going to do for an encore?

On April 24, Windows Server 2003 turned 1 year old. Microsoft officials say the product has sold like hotcakes. And last weeks third-quarter financials, driven by strong Windows Server licensing sales, underscored that message.

Microsoft wont release specifics as to how many Windows Server 2003 licenses it has sold since the product launched, other than to say that Windows Server 2003 now constitutes 75 percent of its Windows server sales mix.

But Al Gillen, system software research director at IDC, said Server 2003 comprised 45 percent of the Windows licenses sold worldwide in the past year. (Windows Server 2000 and a few NT 4.0 licenses constituted the bulk of the rest of the Windows server shipments during the past year.)

"Windows Server [2003] continues to defy the laws of gravity," Gillen said. "The operating system saw good uptake, and why not? Its a second-generation product that is better, faster and more reliable."

So, whats Redmond got up its sleeve to keep the Windows Server momentum going?

Microsoft isnt yet ready to talk about that, company officials said. But other sources are—including beta testers, analysts and Windows customers.

The next major deliverable item from the Windows Server team will be the Microsoft Virtual Server (MVS), which is due out in the second half of this year. Microsoft will tout MVS, which is based on technology that Microsoft acquired when it purchased Connectix last year, in part as a tool to aid users interested in migrating their NT 4.0 applications to Windows Server 2003.

MVS, officially named "Microsoft Virtual Server 2005," went to private beta testers in February of this year.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about the first Virtual Server beta.

Also due out by the end of this year is Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1). Currently in beta test, SP1 includes fixes plus a number of new features.

For one, Service Pack 1 will include a number of the Service Pack 2 enhancements that Microsoft plans to deliver as part of Windows XP Service Pack 2, including Remote Procedure Call (RPC), Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) and firewall enhancements. It also will include new network-quarantine and inspected-environment security capabilities, Microsoft officials have said.

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