RealTime IT News

Two New CTPs For Windows Servers Bow

Microsoft announced this week it has begun shipping new community technology previews (CTP) of two key upcoming server products – Windows Server 2008 and Office PerformancePoint Server 2007.

Previously codenamed Longhorn, Windows Server 2008 Beta 3 shipped two months ago and, with this CTP, is now feature complete, a Microsoft spokesperson told internetnews.com in an e-mail.

The only previously missing piece -- support for Internet Information Server 7 (IIS7) in a Web server role for "server core" installations where a graphical user interface is not required -- has been added in this CTP, the spokesperson added.

Other than that, most of the changes in the current CTP are bug fixes as well as quality and performance improvements, according to a Microsoft blog post.

The latest CTP of Windows Server 2008 is available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers and Microsoft Connect customers. Microsoft claims there has been more than 200,000 downloads of Beta 3 so far. Windows Server 2008 is planned for release by the end of the year, although some industry observers have speculated that actual commercial availability of the product may not occur until early 2008.

However, despite the lack of glitz in this release, the latest CTP is an important step, according to one analyst.

"Now that it's feature complete, this is [the point] where the third-party developers finally have something they can put through their paces, and those companies that want to deploy it early can begin testing in depth," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at research consultancy Enderle Group, told internetnews.com.

Also this week, UK Internet services firm NetCraft reported that Microsoft has recently switched its main Web site – Microsoft.com – to run on Windows Server 2008 and IIS7.

It is not unusual for Microsoft to "eat its own dog food," as the company likes to say. But NetCraft reported that it also found "around 2,600" other sites on the Web, most of them not Microsoft-related, also running the Beta 3 in production via Microsoft's Go Live license.

"Increasingly, that's becoming the case, particularly for Web hosting companies where the trend is to deploy during the pre-release period and that will probably continue," Enderle said. That is not likely to be true of corporate settings, however, where IT tends to wait for the first service pack before deploying a new operating system, he added.

Also this week, Microsoft released the third CTP of its Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, an important piece of the company's business intelligence strategy going forward.

"Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 brings together next-generation scorecarding, analytics and planning capabilities in a complete performance management solution," according to a Microsoft statement.

Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft's business division, told attendees at the company's first ever business intelligence conference in Seattle in early May that the product is on track to ship by the end of the summer.