Next Windows Server Ship Date Slips

Amid the hubbub surrounding the impending beta of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 this week, Microsoft  also quietly disclosed it is delaying the release of Vista’s complement – Windows Server 2008 – until the first quarter of next year.

“This seems like the best place to let you know that Windows Server 2008, which we have been saying would release to manufacturing (RTM) by the end of the calendar year, is now slated to RTM in the first quarter of calendar year 2008,” read a post Wednesday morning on the Windows Server Division Weblog.

The reason? Microsoft will serve no server before its time.

“While we’re very happy with the feedback we’re getting and the overall quality of the latest product builds, we would rather spend a little more time to meet the high quality bar that our customers and partners deserve and expect,” the post continued.

In the meantime, the third beta of Windows Server 2008 is currently in the hands of 300,000 testers, the blog post said.

Not to worry, however, ventured one observer who tracks both Windows Server and Vista.

“A delay at that time of year is not significant [because] I don’t think many organizations were going to start any evaluations of it in that time frame,” Michael Cherry, lead analyst for Windows at researcher Directions on Microsoft, told

Additionally, planned rollouts of Windows Server 2008 should not be impeded by the schedule slip. “The number needed to be rolled out is substantially smaller for a server” than for a client OS, Cherry said.

The delay is not expected to have any impact on the gala that Microsoft plans to hold on February 27, 2008 to launch Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008, since the company is holding the new servers’ coming out party independent of their actual availability dates.

Windows Server 2008, which was previously codenamed Longhorn Server, will provide many new capabilities that it has in common with Vista, including the Aero user interface. (Chairman Bill Gates announced the official name at Microsoft’s Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, referred to as WinHEC, in Los Angeles in mid-May.)

It will also provide important new functions such as “server core” – a minimal installation option that enables an administrator to deploy only what’s needed of Windows Server 2008, such as a Web server, sans the graphical user interface, instead providing a command line for management use.

Another key new feature will provide what the company terms Network Access Protection or NAP – which will automatically sequester new PCs on the network until they meet defined levels of security. Vista supports that feature and Microsoft announced yesterday that the pending final service pack for Windows XP, dubbed SP3, will include NAP support for the aging XP code base.

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