Microsoft exec nails down Windows Server road map
Longhorn now slated for 2007
Computerworld - A Microsoft Corp. executive this week cleared up the heretofore cloudy road map for its Windows Server line -- nailing down 2005 for a product update code-named R2 and 2007 for the next major operating system release, known as Longhorn.
Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the Windows Server division, said the company wants to be consistent with the product's cycle. Plans call for a major release of Windows Server roughly every four years and an incremental update two to two and a half years after, he said. Muglia earlier this year told Computerworld only that Longhorn would emerge no sooner than 2006 (see story)-
Windows Server 2003, the last major server operating system release, shipped in April of that year. Microsoft has pledged the first service pack -- an update that typically includes bug and security fixes -- in the second half of this year. That service pack, known as SP1, also will form the basis for a new platform release of Windows Server 2003 designed to run on 64-bit Opteron chips from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Xeon EM64T processors from Intel Corp.
The follow-on R2 product is targeted for the second half of 2005, according to Muglia. R2 will bundle in various feature packs that Microsoft has put out since Windows Server 2003, such as Windows Rights Management Services and SharePoint Services. R2 will also include support for the next release of Microsoft's Visual Studio .Net development environment, code-named Whidbey, and new features to help companies deploy servers in branch offices and allow users to access intranet-based services from the Internet without having to go through a VPN, Muglia said.
Muglia noted that R2 is being built on the same code base as Windows Server 2003 SP1, a fact that will be important to customers who want to deploy R2 "without fear" of breaking any applications. He said Microsoft isn't seeing much application breakage with SP1, and in cases where an application doesn't work, it's typically because of a changed default setting or because Microsoft closed down a bug due to a potential security vulnerability.
Unlike service packs that are freely available to customers, R2 is considered a new release, and companies that bought individual licenses for earlier Windows Server products will have to buy a new license for R2, Muglia confirmed. But customers who either purchased Microsoft's Software Assurance maintenance and upgrade program or hold an Enterprise Agreement will be able to get R2 free of charge, according to Muglia.
Muglia acknowledged that one reason Microsoft is putting out the R2 update
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