'Longhorn' Trail Drive Continues

Microsoft execs aren't exactly shouting, "Head 'em up, move 'em out," as Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Yates character did in the '60s TV series, "Rawhide," but their long drive to bring Windows Server "Longhorn" to market continues.

The latest on Longhorn's multi-year cattle drive is that the server will begin Beta 3 in the first half of 2007, company executives told IT professionals and developers gathered in Barcelona, Spain for Microsoft's EMEA (Europe, Middle-East, and Africa sales region) IT Forum/TechEd 2006 conference this week. That puts Longhorn on schedule for release in the second half of the year.

At the same time, Microsoft plans to begin beta testing its upcoming "hypervisor" virtualization technology -- now called Windows Server virtualization -- for Longhorn during the first half of 2007 as well.

While it will be an integrated component of Longhorn, Microsoft does not plan to ship it simultaneously with Longhorn. Executives said it will ship within 180 days. The hypervisor will require servers that run on either Intel's VT hardware virtualization technology or AMD's similar "Pacifica" technology.

Longer-term, virtualization will be incorporated into both client and server operating systems, though that may take longer than many observers had expected.

"I believe that in the next major release of Windows, post-2010 -- not necessarily the interim release-- we will assume virtualization in the system," Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft's Server and Tools business, told media members at a press briefing in Barcelona Tuesday.

Longhorn will ship in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, but the next release of Windows Server after that -- roughly two years after Longhorn ships -- will be available only as a 64-bit system, Muglia said.

Microsoft also announced the availability of Windows PowerShell, a command-line, object-oriented scripting environment for Windows Server.

PowerShell is available for download here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services,, and .NET magazines. Contact him at [email protected].