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Q&A: Microsoft's Eric Rudder outlines Longhorn server plans

Caution led to confusion about the fate of the upcoming Windows server operating system

By Carol Sliwa
August 1, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Eric Rudder, senior vice president of servers and tools at Microsoft Corp., last week spoke with Computerworld about the direction for Longhorn, the code name for the next version of the Windows operating system.
Microsoft said last November there would be no Longhorn server. Then Brian Valentine, senior vice president of the Windows division, told me in March that there might be a Longhorn server. Now you're saying there will be a Longhorn server. What happened? We typically do a server release about every three years, and we're eagerly working on the next version of Windows Server as we speak. I think in the past people have been cautious about setting customer expectations, and that potentially [caused] some of the confusion. The client guys are out saying, "Hey, our date is x." If we impart the same name, customers may link in their minds, "Oh, the server has the same name, therefore it's the same date."
So I think people were a little bit scared about setting expectations, because we're pretty serious, once we commit to the schedule for the product, to try to come close to honor that. This is a case where we're clearly customer-driven in terms of feature set, and we're not date-driven on our server products. We're more quality-, performance-, security-, dependability- and ecosystem-driven. It would be fantastic if the server can come out close to the client, and it would be fantastic if it had all the features that customers wanted. We're going to do the best we can to balance between those two business objectives.

Eric Rudder of Microsoft Corp.
Eric Rudder of Microsoft Corp.
Will we see synchronized releases of the Windows client and server operating systems in the future? I think it would be nice if it were synchronized, because it probably makes it a little bit easier for customers to think about how they upgrade their networks on a consistent basis. But we're going to be driven in the end by customer demands and quality demands, and there's a set of business objectives that we need to balance between them. It's hard for me to predict a year out what the balancing is going to look like in any shape or form.
What new functionality is driving the Longhorn server release? With Windows 2003, we had the theme of "do more with less," and we want to continue to push that forward. We want to make some fundamental breakthroughs on management and the operations side. One of the big initiatives is what we call DSI, our Dynamic Systems Initiative. This is


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