Microsoft has again delayed the release of Windows Server 2008 from December until an unspecified date during the first quarter of next year.
The delay, which is being blamed on the need for more testing, means the server possibly won't be ready for the "launch event" in Los Angeles on 27 February that Microsoft is promoting.
That event features Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008. Ironically, the server delay may mean Microsoft has nothing to launch that day. SQL Server 2008 is slated to ship between 1 April and 30 June, 2008, and Visual Studio 2008 is targeted for release at the end of 2007. Microsoft said it will not cancel the event.
"My conversation with the development team is that they are very aggressive about RTM prior to the launch event. We really want to do that," said Helene Love Snell, a group product manager in the Windows Server team. “But we are not shipping until it is ready.”
Observers signal that perhaps Microsoft is taking the pragmatic path on a piece of software that was first put into beta in 2005 and has suffered numerous delays and the dropping of important features. "The testing matrix is just so huge you can't cut pieces out of it," said Michael Cherry, an analyst with independent research firm Directions on Microsoft. "I think they are just concerned about doing the right thing."
Others said the delay probably won't amount to a big deal for corporations, but it could help with future client and server rollouts. "There is some alignment going on here and that is why Windows Vista SP1 is coming out in the same time frame as Windows Server 2008. They are surely aligning those technologies," said Al Gillen, an analyst with IDC. Microsoft also said yesterday that Vista SP1 would ship in early 2008.
But Gillen also wondered how the server delay will affect products built on Windows Server 2008, namely virtualisation technology; the Centro server bundle for mid-size businesses; and Cougar, the code name for the next version of Small Business Server.
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