Windows Server 2008 Release Candidate Imminent

Expect to see the first Release Candidate (RC) of Windows Server 2008 sometime this week.

Microsoft's oft-delayed and highly anticipated sequel to Windows Server 2003 is expected to be released to manufacturing (RTM) early next year, meaning that an RC would need to be out the door soon. RCs are generally feature complete and usually nearly identical to the shipping product.

Microsoft confirmed the information, with its usual caveats.

"We expect to ship the initial release candidate for Windows Server 2008 this week," said a Microsoft spokesperson in an e-mail. "However, as we have said all along, we will not release any code until it meets the stringent quality levels expected by partners, customers and ourselves."

A nonspokesperson also confirmed the timeline. An InformationWeek story said that Michael Neil, general manager of virtualization for Microsoft, "disclosed the plans" last Thursday at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

Microsoft watcher and Redmond magazine columnist Mary Jo Foley has also seen some strong hints that the RC is coming.

"On the server side of the house, some testers said were expecting to get code last week, given that Microsoft delivered to Technology Adoption Program partners an RC0 build a couple weeks ago. Then it looked like Microsoft was aiming to get Windows Server testers code some time the week of September 17, which is this week. Now it is sounding like Windows Server 2008 RC0 -- the first test build that will include a Community Technology Preview of the "Viridian" hypervisor -- might be on for next week," Foley blogged last week.

In late August, Microsoft gave itself some breathing room when it delayed RTM from late this year to early next. Microsoft gave no specific reason for the delay, but one well-known analyst, Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group, theorized that it might have to do with making sure the code bases for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista, which are the same at their cores, don't get too out of synch.

In fact, the first beta of Service Pack 1 for Vista is also expected at virtually any time now.

Windows Server 2008, along with SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008, are scheduled to be "launched" together on Feb. 27, 2008. It's looking more and more, however, like the launch will be more symbolic than concrete, given that none of the three products may be available then.

About the Author

Keith Ward is editor of Virtualization Review magazine. You can contact Keith at [email protected].