Article

Future path of Windows Server outlined

Margie Semilof

Microsoft's Windows Server team has issued a road map for server products in 2005, indicating no changes to the most recent projected delivery dates for the next version of Windows Server 2003 and beyond.

First out in 2005 will be Windows Server Service Pack 1, which is due in the first half of the year. Microsoft issued a release

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candidate for the server software last week. Also last week, the company released the beta version of Windows Server 2003 Release 2, or R2, which is intended to fill the gap between Windows Server 2003 and the next major OS release, code-named Longhorn.

R2 is scheduled to be available in October 2005, according to a note sent to beta testers last week, although Microsoft executives backed off that timeframe, saying they preferred to be held only to the second half of 2005. Longhorn Server is still pegged for 2007, according to Microsoft.

The contents of R2 and Longhorn have shifted several times. "You never really know the details about what's in something until you have the beta in your hands," said Peter Pawlak, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland, Wash., consulting firm.

Microsoft said R2 will include Active Directory Federation Services, formerly known as TrustBridge, and synchronization enhancements to Active Directory Application Mode, an independent

It's just guesses [when WinFS will be a product].


Samm DiStasio, Microsoft product manager

,
mode of Active Directory that provides directory services for applications. Also included are some improvements to branch server deployment and management, such as the ability to do block-level delta replication of data.

"Before, if I made one change to a PowerPoint [presentation], it would save the entire PowerPoint," said Samm DiStasio, a product manager in the Windows Server group at Microsoft. "Now it just saves the bits that you change in the document, which is important in a branch office, where the link and bandwidth of the link are a determining factor."

Also included in R2 are tools for storage resource management, such as one for quota management, which can determine the amount of resources each person can use, as well as some file filtering technologies. There is also a file server migration toolkit, which can target existing file servers and grab associated rights and then place them on a centralized file server. The next version of SharePoint Services is also expected to be included.

The first Longhorn beta is still on track for the second half of 2005, as is Windows Storage Server R2, Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition and Windows Small Business Server R2.

Still unaccounted for is WinFS, the next-generation data store that was originally slated for Longhorn, but later pulled from the project.

There will be a WinFS beta out around the same time that the Longhorn client ships, but DiStasio said it is too early to tell when WinFS will be a product. "It's just guesses," he said. "Right now the project is ongoing."

Due out in the first half of 2005 are the Windows Server R2 second beta, a Windows Server Compute Cluster Edition second beta, Windows Update Services, service packs for Windows Small Business Server and Windows Server 2003, and the Windows Server 2003 64-bit edition.


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